10 Things To Look For When Hiring New Staff

10 things to look for when hiring new staff...

A good hire is a precious asset to any business and a bad hire can be very costly. Despite what many first time business owners believe, hiring new employees is not as simple as it seems and it can be easy to miss the signals of a bad candidate. You may believe yourself to be a good judge of character however, in your eagerness to fill a position it is easy to be tricked by an unworthy applicant, particularly one with a lot of cunning. 


Here are 10 signs to look out for when hiring new staff:


1. Make your job advertisement and position description crystal clear. 
Leave no room for misunderstandings so if you do get an applicant that you don't feel matches these requirements, you can strike them off the shortlist immediately and save yourself the hassle. Set yourself a list of 'must-haves' and stick to it, don't let an applicant try to convince you otherwise.


2. Be thorough in checking references. 
Be aware that the applicant will provide you with their best references in order to paint themselves in the best light so you might not hear anything bad. Often there is more meaning behind what is not said or how something is said than meets the eye so be alert to warning signs.


3. Ask behavioural based questions when interviewing. 
Provide candidates examples of situations and ask how they would respond. This will provide you with an idea of how they would deal with different situations. Make sure you give them time to think. Take the opportunity to discover more about the candidate by asking what their greatest weakness is - we all have flaws so no one should admit to none. If they do, that is a big red flag!


4. Be aware of how candidates phrase their statements. 
Be wary of candidates that use absolute terms such as 'always', 'must' and 'should' as it may reflect self-importance. A much more relative term is 'sometimes' as it reflects a more flexible approach. However, it is also important to be able to distinguish between self-importance and confidence.


5. Look for candidates that have goals relating to skill and career development. 
Avoid candidates that are more concerned with goals relating to status, power and accomplishments as they will most likely be less receptive to learning. These types of candidates are also more likely to move on more quickly on their quest for status and power rather than hang around for the growth of your business.


6. When it comes to hiring employees don't trust your first instincts. 
A very charismatic candidate may seem initially appealing for the role but can be inappropriate and unethical. Do not make a decision based on the first five or 10 minutes of an interview or let it cloud your judgement. Be sure to complete the interview and your reference checks as you would any other applicant.


7. Take your time.                                                                                                    There is no reason to rush through an interview because the responses to the first few questions don't satisfy you. Nerves play a big role in a job interview so you must let the interview progress naturally to allow the candidate's personality come through. However, if at the end of the interview, you still don't feel you connect with the candidate, it may be for good reason.


8. Look outside the box. 
Take some time and do some research to find people who have previously worked with the candidate to get the inside story. If these people no longer have a relationship with the candidate, they have nothing to lose in giving it to you straight so you could uncover some information the supplied references won't reveal.


9. Take note of any resume gaps and ask why they are there. 
A resume gap may spell trouble with a previous employer which the candidate didn't want to include. However, while a resume gap will pose questions there can be many possible explanations (babies, travel, illness, etc) so be prepared to find out why.


10. A candidate who badmouths previous employers or workmates is one to watch. 
While it may not affect your business while the candidate is employed by you, if they move on they may damage your reputation in future interviews.

While these signs are important to know, there is always the possibility a bad hire can slip through the net. In this case, the most important thing is to learn from your mistakes and be rigorous with repeat interviews and references.


So how do you bring it together?

As we said at the start, a good hire is a precious asset to any business and a bad hire can be very costly. Research has shown that by the time you take into account the direct costs of recruiting, particularly if you use a recruiting company, the cost can be as high as $50,000 to a business by the time you take into account position reviews, advertising, agency fees, interviewing, profiling, ability testing, reference checking, contracts, administration, resourcing, training and salary of the new employee during the non-contributing period... and then there are the indirect costs of lost productivity, lost opportunity and suppressed engagement of team if it becomes a long term vacancy, which can be as much again!



The average time it takes a new employee to “pay back” the business’s initial recruitment / training investment is anywhere between 12 and 18  months so you want to be making sure you attract the right people the first time... and then keeping them!


To assist business owners with their recruiting process, SkillMasters has developed a robust recruitment process including:

1.      A Person Description guideline

2.      A Position Description guideline

3.     A Job Description Template

4.      Sample Advertisement

5.      Initial candidate screening process

6.      Call back scripts

7.      Interview process checklist and guidelines

8.      75 Behavioural Questions to ask your applicants

9.      Interview evaluation document

10.      Applicants Questionnaire

11.   What to look for in a CV

12.   Verbal Reference Check guideline

13.   Unlucky Applicant phone script

14.   Draft Job Offer letter.

15.   A 1:1 session to bring it all together

16.   And more!


To find out more about this recruiting tool call Rob on 0274 452 757 or email rob@skillmasters.co.nz

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