By: Deanna Hartley
Forward-looking employers are already preparing for the economic recovery. For myriad organizations, that includes rummaging through resumes to bring on board the most qualified talent.
“In this marketplace, where there are more people looking for work than there have been in the past, one challenge is there are so many applicants for jobs and so many resumes coming through that it can be somewhat overwhelming, ” said Robert Hosking, executive director at OfficeTeam.
By not hiring the right person for the job, managers run the risk of poor or subpar performance, which may not only impact the bottom line, but also is likely to have a negative effect on other employees.
“It’s a challenge for internal staff if the wrong person is hired and subsequently doesn’t work out – it means that workload piles up, and in many cases there can be morale issues or issues internally with team members getting along,” he said.
That’s why managers must take the necessary steps to ensure the best long-term hires, Hosking explained.
First, managers need to build a component into the interview process where candidates must elaborate on past experiences and past performance.
“Make them think on their feet [by asking], ‘How did you handle an irate customer?’ ‘How did you do [XYZ]?'” Hosking said. “Not so much the hypothetical or the ‘How would you?’ It’s ‘Give me an example of a time when …’ that gives a real-life example. It makes a person think about a specific example – what did they do, how did they get there and what was the outcome or overall resolution?”
Second, managers ought to tap into a candidate’s references to secure an accurate portrait of the individual’s professional capabilities, Hosking said.
“People can make their resumes look a number of different ways to reflect experience and accomplishments, but a reference is a true presentation of how a person performed in their past job[s],” he said. “[Managers can] really dig deep with questions [such as], ‘If you had the opportunity to hire this person again, would you?’ That is a telling question – even if the person hesitates in responding or has a hard time [answering], that’s an indicator there might have been a concern there.”
Additionally, asking the reference to describe the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses or areas of opportunity is also a helpful technique to determine a good fit.
The third factor that can play into a hiring decision deviates from qualifications and focuses on a person’s general outlook toward work and life.
“[Make sure] the person is enthusiastic, has a good mindset, is optimistic but realistic,” Hosking said. “Probably more so now than ever before, it’s easy to get beaten down, particularly when looking for work, so [it’s important to look for] somebody who can stay positive but still be honest and acknowledge what their challenges are.”
In return, managers who are looking to hire workers need to be realistic about the company culture and honest about what would be expected of employees if they were to be hired.