How to Hire the Right Employee: Advice for Hiring

Once you've narrowed down the list of potential new hires, use these tips to get the best one!

Okay, you’ve shucked off the con artists, but you’re still stuck with three highly qualified people. You’d like to hire all three, but there’s only one position. Neal & Associates [], an all-purpose high-tech services firm, recommends that once you’ve pared your list of candidates down to the final two or three, you should give a tour of your facility to get that “gut feeling” of which one is right for the job.

Sure it helps the candidate get a feel for your operation, but as Neal and Associates says, it gives you “loads of important information” about them that you don’t get from the formal interview. During a tour, the candidate becomes involved in real-time interaction with the work environment and other employees.

Remember that you’re not really “giving a tour,” but observing a person on a tour. Introduce the candidate to a variety of people in your organization. Pick people that are considerably higher in the organization than the candidate and pick some that are considerably lower, the company recommends. “Be sure to find the janitor if you can.” Did you detect any difference in attitude of the candidate towards employees she met? Was she interested or bored? How did your employees react to her?

Pay attention to any comments the candidates make about the employees she meets, Neal says. “Does a theme of negativism or enthusiasm emerge from these comments?” Whereas one person may say “Boy, that Wilbur sure has a tough job to do,” another will ask “Why does the company make Wilbur work so hard?” Note the difference.

Introduce the candidate to a variety of technologies your company uses in its daily business, especially all the ones she would be dealing with. Listen to her comments. Do they verify or deny any claims she’s made in interview or on her application about familiarity with your business or products? Does she say “This equipment looks pretty dirty to me” or “Wouldn’t this machine run faster if the grease were cleaned away from the drive chain?” Which one of those two people would you rather work with?

Also, note if she’s comfortable asking questions for clarification. Every business will have technologies and tools that candidates won’t understand — does she care about clarifying what she’s observing? Good problem-solvers do, and they don’t mind asking simple questions, either. They also spend more time on a tour listening than talking, help other employees with doors and pick up paper cups you’d just step over. “Percy, in fifteen minutes fill your arms with boxes, and when I bring Sheila through, and she gets to the water fountain, start heading for the door. Let’s see if she opens it for you or not.” No, it’s not cheating to stage some of these situations.

A strong candidate, Neal says, will usually be “somewhat overwhelmed” with everything she sees, because she’s been paying attention and wants to understand it all. Beware of a candidate who expresses a complete understanding of what she sees, and doesn’t have any particularly detailed questions.

Can you detect the level of common sense possessed by the candidate as you tour the tools and technology of your company, Neal and Associates asks? Pay close attention to her behavior and observations and you should be able to assess this important issue. Pay close attention to what candidates don’t say. They advise “in every work environment, there are things to see or experience that you would expect most people to make some comment about. If your candidate is not making such comments, perhaps they are shy or perhaps they are just not paying attention.”

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