My daughter, Katy, and I love to make cookies, especially when it is snowing outside and we have a process that we go through to make them. Melt the butter, sneak a few chocolate chips. Add the sugar and eggs, sneak a few chocolate chips. Add vanilla, baking soda, flour, etc. and of course, sneak a few chips. Then, you stir it all together to get the dough, which, you must taste! Sing a little to the song on the radio, do a little dance, put the dough on the pan, and put it in the oven. Dance a little more, try another pinch of dough until the cookies come out of the oven and eat one while it is really hot. It melts all over your hands and face! Giggle some more while you pour a much-needed glass of milk and voila! In addition to feeling a tad sick, you have made cookies and memories all in one day!
One time, however, we put baking powder in the dough instead of baking soda and it was a disaster! Another time, we forgot the eggs; and yet another time, we pulled the cookies out of the oven too late and they were burnt. If you miss a necessary step in baking, you will ruin the final cookie outcome.
The experience is the same when you are trying to hire the right person. There is a recipe for finding the right fit called the 7 Steps to Finding Great Employees: 1) Create your Ideal Candidate in your mind 2) Write the job description 3) Write the job ad 4) Review resumes and schedule candidates 5) First Interview 6) Second Interview and 7) Third Interview. When you miss one of these steps, it is like you burnt your beloved chocolate chip cookies… gut wrenching!
Cultivating your staff begins with hiring the best and you can’t do that if you leave out a part of the recipe. So pay attention, focus and be patient when hiring your next employee. Also, don’t forget to wipe the chocolate off your chin!
Last week, I was conducting some phone interviews with a client. On particular call, the interview was going really well until the candidate surprised me with a request: “Can I put you on hold and take this other call?”
“Uh, sure,” I mumbled. While I waited, listening to really bad background music, I contemplated this question: “Does this candidate really want THIS job?”
The resounding answer came to me. No, he really does not. If he really wanted the job that my client was offering, he would have ignored any and all calls, no matter who is calling him. At this point, nothing else matters; his skills, his experience, his ability to do the job – none of those count, because if he does not WANT the job, he is not going to DO the job.
The last thing that you want to do is hire someone who is not willing talk to you long enough to find out if this is the job for them or hire someone who is not absolutely thrilled to come and work for you.
So, put this job offer on hold, just like the candidate did to me, and wait for the right candidate to come along. They will come to you if you are patient. You will be SO glad that you waited!!!
I am fostering puppies. Well, really my daughter is fostering puppies, and I am along for the ride. The back story is that All Aboard Animal Rescue brings puppies who are in “high kill” shelters in locations like New Mexico up to the Denver metro area. They vaccinate the dogs, get them cleaned up and host adoption events at Pet Smart to help find forever homes for these awesome animals. Our role is to foster the puppy for a few days until the forever home is found.
Last Saturday, we were volunteering at an adoption event. I noticed that every person who walked by had a story to tell about a current family dog or about a dog that they had as a child and how much joy this animal brought to their lives. The stories that they told were beautiful and inspiring. The best part is watching an unhappy, tired, grumpy person become transformed by the love and joy remembered when they describe their beloved companion.
So I have to ask the question, what would it be like if you felt this way about your employee?
In my training classes and in searches we begin for clients who are hiring, we always start by dreaming about the best employee that they have ever had. We then focus on how we can emulate finding an employee that brings satisfaction. Watching my clients transform from frustrated employers with open positions to fill into a smiling, relaxed client who just hired their next incredible employee is just like watching these adorable puppies go to their forever homes – utterly priceless, and I LOVE IT!
This is what life is all about.
So, if you are thinking about a puppy, go to www.aaanimalrescue.org, and pick one out. Maybe it is one that we just fostered. If you are looking to hire an incredible employee, call me. I can help.
My daughter, Katy and I were having a girls’ night in recently, complete with the Texas Longhorn football game, pajamas and of course, pizza. I asked her if she wanted to ride in the car with me to go pick up our food, and she enthusiastically agreed. Appearing to be ready to leave, she had on her pajama shorts, fuzzy purple slippers and her fleece peace sign jacket. I said “Its 49 degrees outside. You might want to change your pants.” So, she did. When she came out of her room with her chocolate brown moose p.j. bottoms, she looked at me, looked down at her pants, and giggling said “This does not match! Now I have to change my shirt!” After that, she had to change her jacket, until finally; we left to go get dinner. We laughed hysterically about the change of clothes from the bottoms up!
Many of my clients look at hiring in exactly the same way as my daughter got dressed. They react to the circumstances as opposed to having a plan. When the pants leave, we will make the new pants work with the old shirt, even though the materials are all wrong and the outfit doesn’t suit the occasion. With just a bit a planning, changing your pants doesn’t have to ruin your whole outfit. So, how do you plan to avoid wardrobe mismatches?
Here are a few tips:
First: Take the time to look at your entire outfit. Before hiring people, who do you need and why do you need them? Look at the vision for your company. Where are you going? What type of skills and people will get you there? Think big. Then define your ideal candidate on paper.
Second: Write the job description. Re-write the past version if you have one. Do not just reuse the old one. What worked before may not work now. Look at the position from a new perspective and re-create it. You have a golden opportunity to transform this role.
Third: Pull it all together when writing your ad. This is where you put the finishing touches on the position. Invite people to apply by sharing your vision, the ideal person description and technical skills required. Make it appealing to attract the person you are seeking.
To capture the attention of candidates, your presentation of your company is key. Be prepared. Make sure that the ideal candidate list matches the job description, which in turn matches the ad. It’s the entire outfit that makes the difference, not only to the candidate, but also ensures that you hire the right fit. Don’t just change your pants! Create a whole new look!
When a client calls me to help them screen and interview candidates, they are usually in a hurry. They need me to get started today, and frankly, they really needed me to start 3 weeks ago. The “hurry up” syndrome is a common issue at A-list Interviews.
However, hurrying through the interview process never works. Making a bad hiring decision just to put a “butt in the seat” is always more costly than having a little patience and truly screen and interview until you find your ideal new employee. Robert Plotkin, who wrote “Preventing Internal Theft” says “It is better to operate short-handed for a period of time and rely on your existing staff to cover… than hiring someone unqualified or inappropriate for the establishment.” I could not agree more.
As painful as it may seem to wait for the right person to come along in your interview process, it is always way more painful to bring a person onboard who is the wrong fit for your company. Consider the other factors that are included in hiring a misfit for your organization: reduce efficiency and down time for training, morale within the organization, the customer experience of a person who is not in alignment with the company just to name just a few. And in the end when you bring in a new employee just to fill a position, the likelihood that you will end up back in the interview process within the six months is incredibly high.
Stick to our A-list motto of “find the right employee the first time” and you will save yourself more time, money and headaches than you can imagine. The right employee is always worth the wait.
Most people who viewed the Olympics experienced some surprises regarding performances from our athletes. If you actually listened to the athletes talk about their goals, you may have had much fewer surprises.
Danell Leyva: “I want to win a medal.” So, he did. Bronze
John Orazco: “I just want to go to the Olympics.” So he did. He was a Top 10 finisher.
Gabby Douglas: “I want to make history.” So she did. She is the first African American Woman to win a gold medal in Gymnastics. She won 2.
In interviewing candidates, you can predict the success of your new hire by listening to their language around their goals in an interview. Writing down exactly what your candidate has to say can prevent performance surprises later down the road and lead your team to gold rated success!
While rocking my infant daughter years ago, I began instinctively doing what adults have done for centuries. I began singing lullabies to her.
When the wind blows the cradle will rock,
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall
And down will come baby…”
And then I stopped.
I suddenly really listened to the words that I was about to sing! I thought to myself, “What kind of fool puts an infant in a cradle at the top of a tree and watches them fall?!” Horrified, I changed the words…
“…Right into Mama’s arms.’”
Ah…much better. My daughter was raised singing Rock-A-Bye Baby with a much better alternate ending. To this day, I am not sure that she even knows the original words to that song, which suits me just fine.
In the interview process, I teach people that the best skill to have is listening for word choice. I train them to stop, really listen to the words used by the candidate, and digest their meanings as they relate to the position for which we are hiring.
When you listen to the word choices of your candidate, they will tell you what you need to hear in order to make a great hiring decision. Word choices will expose blamers, know-it-alls, pass the buckers, and more.
When the interview is through, if you feel the candidate did not give you enough information, review your notes. The words you really need to listen for are in there. As an interviewer, your primary job is to pay attention to the word choices used by your potential employees. And be careful to not just hear what you want to hear. It truly means the difference between a decent employee and an A-list player. If any “boughs break” in your business, which would you rather have waiting at the bottom of the tree?
Last weekend, my 11 year old daughter Katy flew on an airplane BY HERSELF for the very first time. I was a nervous wreck! I had a hard time focusing on work…. I kept checking my phone to see if I had messages from her saying that she had landed safely. Katy, of course, was fine. In fact, she had a great time during her first solo flight and learned a valuable lesson in independence. I realized the more she can do for herself, the better equipped she will be in the future when dealing with unexpected situations.
Now you may ask what any of this has to do with interviewing. As I impatiently waited for the phone to ring, I had a realization that I need to provide my clients with the same level of independence. While I certainly adore helping each of my clients interview for their next great employee, I also realize that I need to get them better prepared to do interviewing all by themselves. Again, the more prepared they are in their businesses, the easier it is to handle unexpected personnel issues.
In the past, my typical process was to create and submit job ads, help develop job descriptions, vet interview candidates, schedule interview times, and then perform the actual interviews in front of my client. We would then do a “dash board” review in between interviews to uncover what we learned from each candidate, based on speech patterns, phrasing, and responses to my A-list candidate questions. Rarely, did I actually hand the interview process over to my client. They have certainly learned from the experience as 91% of the time, they retained the ideal employee they were seeking. But I realize that my mission with A-list Interviews is to transform the world through the interview process to create happy, healthy work environments for all. This cannot be achieved until I give my clients the gift of independence by empowering them to run effective interviews long after I am gone.
From now on, I will be including a hand over process where I will be teaching my clients how to interview by themselves through the program I have developed called “7 Steps to Amazing Employees”. I have seen this program work successfully in all walks of business so I am excited to help my clients develop their own comfort levels around the actual interview process. Now when they fly solo, I will still be a nervous wreck because I really want my clients to succeed, but I will know that I set them up for success and the world will be transformed through the interview process by hundreds of interviewers, not just me. And there is no better feeling than that!
Yesterday, I was screening applicants for a position that requires a high level of attention to detail. Not long into the search, I received a beautifully formatted resume. The candidate had all of the skills that we wanted in a new employee! I opened the cover letter to learn more about this bright prospect. The opening sentence said “I am responding to your add…”
The question then becomes do I overlook one small spelling error that spell check would not have caught or do I pass up this well qualified individual for a simple mistake. When screening for a position that will require analysis and detailed reporting, one small mistake could cost a company thousands. The error to proof read made by this candidate stands out so magnificently that I had to pass them up.
So much of pre-screening can be subjective. When making the final call, compare the resume to all required skills, not just the technical set listed on the resume. I would definitely not “add” this individual to the team.
If you have read a women’s magazine, there always seems to be an article about lying in a relationship. “Little white lies” can often seem harmless enough, but isn’t this really a measurement for integrity and personal responsibility? I’ve often heard from my employers that they are appalled when a candidate exaggerates on their resume. Candidates are advised to be truthful and honest in their representation of themselves.
What happens when a company is lying to the candidate? According to the Reader’s Digest article “Get Hired, Not Fired: 50 Secrets That Your HR Person Won’t Tell You”, company personnel are lying to candidates too. For example, here are two excerpts from the Reader’s Digest article:
“Background checks are expensive. Sometimes we bluff, get you the fill out the form and don’t run it,” states Cynthia Shapiro, former human resource executive and author.
“Sometimes, we’ll tell you we ended up hiring someone internally- even if we didn’t- just to get you off our backs.” HR rep at a Fortune 500 Financial services Firm
At the end of the day, if lying is a standard practice in your company, you will not be able to hire good people and expect them to stay. Run a strategic, well defined interview process. Be upfront and completely committed to a healthy environment for your employees based on truth telling. The rewards will far outweigh any benefit you may have received by lying to your people.