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Identify and Hire Top Performers






I believe the key to retaining employees starts in the interview process – if it’s hiring a rock star or making a poor hire, it all begins with the interview.

You have but a few hours to decide if the person has the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the functions of the job. Does this person have the right temperament, attitude and will they fit in with the company’s culture and mission?

This means you need to make sure your interviewers are asking the right questions and using appropriate listening techniques so they know who they are hiring.

Most bad hires fall under the heading of "bad fit." They’re the result of obvious flaws like having poorly thought out job descriptions – or no job description at all.

Having interviewed and hired people for hundreds of positions over the years, I can say one thing for sure, you must prepare for the hiring process.

You have to start with a clear picture of why the position exist. What are the technical requirements – the must have’s such as computer skills, research abilities, coding or QA. What are the soft skills needed? Respectful, approachable, team oriented or able to work independently.

Once you have clearly defined the position and how it fits within the organization the recruiting and interview process may begin. The purpose of the interview is to determine if the applicant can do the job.

First, you want to determine if they have the knowledge, skills and abilities required to perform the job. Do they have the education or experience necessary? Do they have the necessary motivation and problem solving abilities?

Second, you want to know who they are. You don’t want people who seem entitled, are so thin-skinned that every little thing rubs them the wrong way, or are completely unaware of their weaknesses that they lack the ability to learn from mistakes or receive constructive criticism.

This area is a bit more difficult to gauge, as there aren’t necessarily right or wrong answers. There are only questions and answers that may help you get a sense of the person’s characteristics you are considering before you make the hire.
Third, what has the candidate accomplished in the past which may indicate what they will accomplish in the future. Are they capable of doing the job, love doing the work, and if possible, have done it before and done it well.

And finally, will they fit in at your organization? It’s a pretty safe bet that if you misjudged the importance of this area, the consequences will ultimately cost you immensely. Skills can be taught, goals can change, but a person who creates problems by not fitting in with the existing team is the wrong choice.

The best way to get to know the person you’re interviewing and gain a proper understanding of what they’re about is to listen to what they have to say. Interviewers should be trained in developing questions and the skill of listening for indicators of the candidate’s self-perception.

In the old style of interviewing questions come out of the blue. They are not formulated in advance or in connection with the job requirements. At best, they are conjured up by the interviewer in an attempt to get an overall impression of the applicant. Generally, these questions are time wasters for both the company and the applicant. Talk that yields little valuable information. Both the content and method of the interview must be developed to accurately and fairly reveal which candidate is best qualified.

When drafting your questions, think of the answer you are looking to get from the candidate. Develop a series of open-ended questions that will enable you to evaluate the match between a candidate's qualifications and the requirements of the job. One of the biggest mistakes I see is the interviewer does all the talking and sells the candidate on the position before learning anything about the person. Interviewers need to learn to let the candidate do most of the talking. Ideally, candidates should be doing 75-80% of the talking.

Attracting, hiring and retaining top talent is not just one person’s job - to attract and retain great employees, everyone needs to be involved in the process and trained in best practices and proper interviewing techniques.



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About the Author

Barbara Trumbly, TruHR Business Consultants
308 ALORA CT
San Ramon, CA 94583
925-787-1697

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