Smart Hiring with Values in Mind

smart hiring with values in mind part one

I had an inspired conversation this morning with one of my coaching clients, about how to interview applicants for a job, and I thought, oooh, this would make a great blog post!

It's not that I'm a hiring expert, or that I hire for a living. I've probably interviewed 500 people and I've hired around 100. I've looked at well over 1000 applications, probably more like 2000.

In the early days, I went on gut instinct with people, and my gut is pretty good so that worked well. But then I thought, you know, my gut instinct is not perfect, and wow, people sure put on their best for an interview (as they should) and then true colors show later. So I started team interviewing. I would have another interviewer present for the interview.

That wasn't quite enough to get the best results, so then I added personality tests. And extensive skills testing. Then I went to committee, with forms and ratings and ... well, you get the point.

Hire Slow and Fire Fast

I finally threw all that out the window, because, no matter how you color it, you just can't tell how a person is going to BE day in and day out at work! And, I always see the potential in people, so I used to keep them around for a really long time, even if they weren't quite making it work. I've finally succumbed to the advice: Hire Slow and Fire Fast. You just can't KNOW after an interview or even a string of interviews, whether someone is going to stick. And basic human nature doesn't change. An apple is an apple, folks! Sometimes you gotta clean house.

I'm very satisfied with my current method, which varies by position. Each position at requires a different personality type and skill set, and I really cater the position post, application process and interview to the different types.

Posting the Job

For most, though, there is a general theme. I post the position on I craft the post to appeal to the personality type, for instance, if the position is for an analyst type, it's going to be pretty dry and detailed. If it's for a promoter type, it's going to be exciting with a few exclamation points!

As far as what I require, if the position is for an admin position, sales position or any other brainy position, I always require a resume and a cover letter stating why they are perfect for the position. Amazingly, over half of my applicants fail this step. They either don't submit a cover letter at all, or their cover letter is a stock letter that says nothing about the position.

Phase Two of Hiring

Phase two is where it actually gets juicy, and this is where my wonderful conversation came in today. When your actually past the riff-raff of applicants that can't follow simple instructions, and people who have resumes completely unrelated to the position, you're left with a handful of hopefuls. Considering the immense cost of training a new person, and investing time in grooming them, you don't want to hire someone that will not work out. How do you sort through the fair to good ones?

That brings me to my wonderful conversation I had this morning about values. What I have experienced is that the people that stick, the ones that are worth the investment of time, are those that resonate with the same values as the company. How do you figure THAT out? Well, you just can't ask, "what are your values?" Because people don't actually know.

In part two of my hiring blog, I'll discuss determining your own high values, and how to assess those of your interviewees.