Tips on Recruiting Top Employees

If you have ever hired an employee who made a remarkable first impression but turned out to be a poor team player, you are not alone.

Geoff Smart, president of G.H. Smart & Company, a Chicago-based consulting firm that uses its expertise in human behavior to help clients hire quality employees, provides the following recruitment tips.

  • Narrow your selection of recruits during the resume examination process. Look for accomplishments that stand out on each resume.

  • Have your key staff members participate in the initial screening and interviewing process.

  • Conduct an initial interview over the phone with five or six key candidates. Pick the top two or three candidates and invite them in for an interview in person.

  • Create a scorecard to evaluate each candidate. This will help you clarify the qualities you seek from your applicants.

  • Create a list of competencies that are important for the position for which you are recruiting.

When conducting interviews, cover the following five areas of past job experiences.

  1. Expectations. Discuss the candidate's expectations in each and every job that has been held in the past. What were the candidate's priorities in past positions? Look for candidates that were able to take a bad situation and made it positive.

  2. Accomplishments. Find out about the candidate's accomplishments in each position held, ask the candidate to quantify achievements in terms of sales targets, revenue growth, profitability and cost savings. Discuss how the candidate affected the bottom line.

  3. Low points. Always ask a candidate to share some of the most discouraging moments at previous jobs, mistakes, and failures in each role. Look for blame and disappointment when discussing this area.

  4. Relationships with people. Ask your candidate to share more about relationships with previous managers to find out how comfortable the candidate is with having you speak with past managers. Ask the candidate how he thinks he would be described by previous employers/managers.

  5. Reasons for leaving previous jobs. Discuss in depth why the candidate left past positions. Look for key responses such as a better position with more responsibilities or the goals for a particular job were fully achieved. Consider steering clear of candidates who say that they were fired, had conflicts with management, or were unable to achieve goals that were part of their position.

There are many factors that play into the hiring process, and only your firm knows the criteria for each new hire. The above ideas are some basic suggestions to help you recruit the right candidate. Recruiting is not a science, it can be hit or miss, but incorporating an airtight recruiting process can help you and your firm hire quality people.

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