I’m confident that you all have found yourselves in a position where you were looking to fill a spot on your team. This could be a wonderful occasion, for example, your boss is finally letting you add an additional position that you have requested, or perhaps a staff member is not a good fit for the role. Regardless of the reason, I am here to share some tried and true methods to help you kiss fewer frogs and find your prince/princess charming!
My first bit of advice is similar to what I would offer as dating advice: Avoid desperation, but also avoid unrealistic expectations; Do not be so picky that no candidate will meet expectations, yet do not take a candidate who does not meet the basic criteria. Come up with a list of desired qualifications and use these qualifications as your guide when interviewing. While having a list of desired qualifications can be helpful, it is useful to keep an open mind and be willing to consider candidates outside your original scope. I have found that some of the best hiring decisions I have ever made were not the candidates I thought I would hire originally. While experience in the industry can be a blessing, sometimes applicable external experience that translates well yields better results.
Now that you have a list of qualities/skills you would like for your candidate to possess and interviews set up, let’s discuss interviewing. Ask your candidates questions to encourage them to describe times they have put their skills to use. Asking, “Are you comfortable handling angry residents?” will always get you a yes. Asking “Tell me about a time when you handled an angry customer. How did you respond and resolve the situation?” will allow a candidate to offer a narrative of their skills over a simple yes / no question. I have heard answers spanning from amazing responses that had me to believe I had found the most amazing candidate for customer service, to responses that made me want to shriek and run for the hills! This style of interviewing is called behavioral interviewing, and focuses on prior experiences. It has been one of the single most valuable tools for me in interviewing. Let’s be honest, most of us can determine what someone wants to hear. Asking a candidate to elaborate on prior experiences, explaining how they used a skill, or how they handled a difficult situation is more likely to reveal the strengths and weaknesses of a candidate. In an interview the other day, I asked a candidate to describe their experience with electrical repairs, and they assured me they could do whatever I needed. I then asked if they received a work order stating the kitchen light was not working, what steps they would take to resolve? They immediately looked like a deer in headlights, and their inexperience showed. They didn’t tell me they would check the breaker, then the light bulb, or determine if the switch had power… they just said “oh yeah, I would fix that.” I felt they may be a bit inexperienced, but by asking the correct questions the correct way, I was able to determine they were not a fit for work orders and may be a better turn technician until they gained more experience.
The last tip I can recommend is that you must put your “Sales Hat” on and roll out the red carpet while doing your best to sell your community, company, and yourself. Today’s hiring market is extremely challenging, and no longer does the interviewer / company hold all the cards. It was the candidates job to impress you and make you believe they were the right fit. As a hiring manager / recruiter, being older than I care to admit, these were the good ol’ days. I had candidates going above and beyond, and they wanted nothing more than to impress me. Fast forward to present, and the situation is very different. It is now my job to woo and impress the candidate, and ensure that I: 1) Give a realistic job preview while making it sound like an all-expense paid vacation to Bora Bora; 2) Detail, at length, growth opportunities once the candidate is hired on; 3) Offer an aggressive compensation package and ensure that there is a good work/life balance. Please know that I always want those I work with to feel that work is fun and enjoyable, and I may be rather dramatic describing the environment. However, the reality is candidates today want more than a paycheck and a job. They want to belong to a team, they want to believe that you are invested in their future, and they want to know you will help them get to the next step. Candidates view how you treat them during the interview process as an indicator of whether or not they will be valued and appreciated after they come onboard with your team. Considering how much we all invest in our careers and companies, it is easy to understand that people want these things – as we do too. Ensure you focus on these points when meeting candidates, and don’t forget that you may need to impress them a bit too.
I hope as you venture out into the hiring world and hire your next superstar, that you can put some of these tips to use. I know your organization has so much to offer to the right person and hope you find your perfect match!