The interview was going well. She had the right look for the job, spoke well, and Bill thought that she would get along with the other team members. He missed a key point about Excel and hired her anyway. Her resume showed even more experience in his industry than he really thought she needed. Six months later with hours of training, coaching that went on for days, and a ream of documentation, he let her go.
Hire for Attitude Instead of Skill
Paul owned a PR company and had been in the business for twenty years. He could teach almost anyone how to call a radio station. What he had also learned is that when hiring PR reps from other agencies, he had to spend hours un-training all their old habits. When hiring a sales person, hire a go-getter with a love of people and high self esteem, not necessarily someone who has sold for years. You can teach skills; you cannot teach someone to overcome rejection and surly customers nearly as easily. It is attitude that will outlast problems and attitude that will readily learn new skills.
Assign a Task in the Interview
Put the candidate on the spot. Avoid the traditional questions; ask them to do the job, right then, right there. If your vacancy is an IT support person, role-play a difficult end-user, calling with a seemingly impossible problem that must be fixed yesterday. See what they say. If you are hiring for a sales position, have them sell you your own product. See how many questions they ask about it before jumping into the six-step sales process.
Pay Attention to the Past… Differently
Your candidate has had ten years working with our competitor. She has won every award for this type of position possible. So, how much do you think she will question your direction when you say to do something differently than that for which she has been rewarded? Do you think that she will be loyal to the very company she has competed against for years? Perhaps a candidate who has worked in a completely different industry, but can demonstrate to you the right attitude toward hard work, learning, and customers, would actually take less training.
Try Story Time
Asking closed questions in an interview limits creativity and gives candidates a 50/50 chance of getting the right answer. Do you only want a 50/50 chance that they’ll stay and be productive? Try asking him or her to tell you a story. ''Tell me about a time when you and co-worker completed a project and received recognition.'' Then listen to the story for hints on how he or she prefers praise, gets along with others, shares credit with co-workers, or speaks ill of his or her former boss. Also, ''listen'' to body language, and for creative story telling. Much is revealed when a person tells you a story; almost always, the story will be true as most can’t rapidly create a highly detailed story.
Ask for Passion
This must be done delicately. After asking standard questions and testing for necessary skills, find out the passion of the person who is about to be entrusted with the job. Whether you provide them with a profile or merely ask the question, the results are immediately revealing. For example, Melissa was hiring a sales person. She thought she had found someone. All the questions had been answered with ease. The candidate’s background suggested she had the attitude and making of a great sales person. Yet, when Melissa casually said, ''What is it that absolutely lights your fire? What is it that you absolutely love to do?'' The candidate looked her directly in the eye and said, ''I absolutely love to type. I love to see if I can beat my own typing speed record, and enter more information than anyone else can.'' This candidate doesn’t currently work in sales for Melissa, but she is one of the best administrative data clerks that she has ever seen, and both Melissa and the candidate are extremely happy. Many don’t know who they really are, but most do know what they like to do — make sure that this relates to the position for which you are hiring.
About the Author
Monica Wofford, President of Monica Wofford International, Inc. is a certified CORE coach and trainer. She and the 12 coaches she leads help hundreds to determine who they are, how to work with others, and what their own true gifts are. Wofford brings more than 17 years of leadership experience to the companies she serves and provides training in Leadership. Service, and Confidence that impacts her client’s bottom line and provides long lasting results. She is the author of ''The Type A Myth'', ''Contagious Leadership'', ''Contagious Confidence,'' and ''Contagious Customer Service'' and can be reached at www.monicawofford.com or 1-(866) 382-0121