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!
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!
I was meeting with a new client to discuss the possibility of hiring their “right hand” person. As I do with every client, I asked her to dream big. “If you could have any person that you wanted for this job, who would they be and what would they know?” Do you know what she said? “I want them to be punctual.”
When you make a bad hire, you say to yourself, “Well, I can work with this employee if only they do xyz.” Then, xyz doesn’t happen. Then, you say to yourself, “If only they will do abc, then I can work with that.” Of course, abc isn’t going to happen either. The next thing you know, you are just wishing for someone to be punctual.
So, what if you changed the word punctual to “Committed”? If someone is committed to the job and committed to the company, then they will be punctual.
I dare you to dream big around your next hiring decision. Think roses and rainbows, to infinity and beyond. Conduct effective interviews and you will find your dream employee!
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.
I placed a call to a candidate to invite her in for an interview. The message said “Please enjoy the music while your party is reached!” Then, I heard the song “Take this job and shove it.” Need I say more? Listen to the clues that people give you before, during and after the interview. You will be amazed at what you will learn.
Last fall, I recounted a story about “The Winker,” an inappropriate event that occurred during one of my interviewing sessions. A female candidate had winked at my client during the interview process, making him feel very uncomfortable. Although the candidate was very qualified, we did not hire her because of the discomfort experienced by all who were involved. Well, folks, you won’t believe this, but I had another instance of a winker at the interview table! Not only did she wink at my client, but the top button of her blouse popped open!
I cannot stress enough than an interview is not the time or the place for sexual overtures and “Janet Jackson” style uniform malfunctions. As an interviewer and coach, I certainly see inappropriateness from both men and women. Remember, if you are the employer and uncomfortable in any way about a candidate, listen to your discomfort, regardless of how qualified the candidate may appear. This type of behavior in an interview could be a sign of things to come, including a sexual harassment suit.
Several people have recommended that I write a blog, and I resisted it for a long time. I worried that I would sound flippant by discussing what I see every day in the interviewing world. What I have discovered is that sharing the stories of humanity that naturally occur during the interview process is actually helping. Interviewing is one of the rare instances where power is completely one-sided. The interviewer completely holds the fate of the candidate in their hands. Have the utmost respect for candidates because usually they have no idea what the interviewer is looking for. Treat your candidates with the best care you can give them- without them, where would you be?
Last summer, I was knee deep in the interviewing process for one of my clients. We had been through several candidates looking for the perfect A-list player for their team. The last interview of the day looked incredibly promising! The woman who sat across form us was qualified, both technically and culturally. As the candidate began asking her questions, she leaned over and winked at my client!
In my line of work as an interviewer, I see way more sexual inappropriateness from women than I do from men. If you as the employer are uncomfortable in the interview, then you will really be uncomfortable when they are on your payroll, no matter how “qualified” they are.
Christopher Robin: “There now. Did I get your tail back on properly, Eeyore? “
Eeyore: “No matter. I’ll most likely lose it again anyway.”
Last month, I interviewed a candidate who was world weary, tired and unhappy. This person had been out of work for a long time in an industry that is rapidly changing. The overall impact was the “Eeyore Effect.”
Christopher Robin and his gang are forever reaching out to help their friend re-attach his tail, but Eeyore shows no appreciation for their efforts. Not only does he not thank Christopher Robin for helping him, he criticizes Christopher’s work. He also puts forth no effort to permanently find a solution to his tail falling off. Has he thought about super glue? Stitches? Duck Tape?
In other words, Eeyore is an energy drainer. He is hard to be around. He has very little enthusiasm for his life, his work, his tail or even his friends. Can you imagine as if you had an employee like this?
Watch for the “Eeyore Effect” while you are interviewing, even if when faced with the world weary, tired and unhappy.
(Thanks to Michelle Barnes for “The Eeyore Effect”)
I love it when an opportunity presents itself to listen in on a “normal” interview. Arriving early for an appointment at a Starbuck’s in the Denver area, I was enjoying an amazing cup of black tea as the store manager began interviewing for a potential staff member. As effective interviewing is my passion, I was fascinated by the exchange I observed.
First, the candidate entered the Starbucks as I did at 12:45. She sat nervously waiting for 15 minutes to begin the interview for her next potential position. While the manager did begin the interview at exactly 1:00 (kudos to her) a huge opportunity to set up the candidate for immediate success was missed. An A-list candidate will ALWAYS be 15 minutes early for an interview, especially for a position they are really interested in. If the interviewer actually leaves them waiting for 15 minutes, the candidate only becomes more nervous, thus increasing the chances to blow the interview.
Second, the manager talked for the entire interview, occasionally glancing at the resume of the candidate. The candidate very dutifully nodded her head (she will need a massage after this!) and laughed at all the manager’s jokes. In a truly effective interview, the hiring manager should be engaging in active listening, rather than explaining the position and requirements. If the manager is talking rather than asking questions, the candidate does not have the chance to share skills, abilities, and personality with the manager. By not listening, the manager really has very little knowledge about the applicant or how they can truly contribute to the team.
Third, the manager got up and left the table twice to handle other issues and the candidate was left sitting by herself. Now I realize life can be full of interruptions. However, during an interview, the only focus should be around the task at hand: assessing the skill set and cultural fit of the potential new employee. Continuous interruptions reduce the hiring manager’s ability to determine fit and the candidate’s confidence about the job environment.
Fourth, the manager interviewed this woman in front of an audience of roughly 10 people waiting for their coffee drinks. The interview lasted 42 minutes. So for 42 minutes this candidate was not only vulnerable and exposed to a hiring manager, but to an entire audience of people. Don’t hold interviews in public, high traffic areas. Respect is a cornerstone for any great relationship and public interviews are very disrespectful.
Last, but certainly not least, the manager discussed the highpoints of the candidate with another worker behind the counter, again in front of an audience. Do I really need to point out how disrespectful this is?
After my observances, I realized that this is a perfect example of a “normal” interview, meaning that most people conduct interviews just like this and wonder why they can’t hire good people. I honestly do not believe this hiring manager was even aware of her interviewing style and its ineffectiveness towards hiring a great employee. My big question is this: Was this manager really ever taught how to conduct an interview? Did she feel supported through the process, so that she could be successful in her hiring decisions? Did she really have the tools and environment needed to be successful in her decision making process?
Employers who truly desire amazing staff need to support their hiring managers by teaching them how to interview. Give them the proper tools to find the next generation of A-list employees needed to grow the business. This is the gift that keeps on giving.