How to Eliminate Most Hiring Mistakes

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InterviewingMost business owners make the mistake of having no formal hiring process and tend to hire the first qualified applicant they interview.  This causes them to spend too much time interviewing and asking too many of the wrong questions.  This often results in them firing the new employee within months and complaining that they just can't get good employees.

Since an employee is particularly vital to the expansion and survival of a small business, proper hiring is an important skill that every business owner must master.

The key is for every business owner to design a process that eliminates more applicants before the interview stage.  The use of an automated application process using web-based applications and tests replaces much of the information normally covered in the traditional interview.

The following is a six-step process that will help business owners reduce their hiring mistakes:

  1. Have every applicant fill out a detailed, multi-page application.  The application should cover many of the normal interview questions like job experience, work knowledge and skills, and reasons for leaving jobs.  It should also include many open-ended questions that are designed to review problem-solving skills and the applicant's thoughts about areas like supervisors, teamwork, customer service issues, and work ethic.  Be sure to request the name and contact information of prior supervisors and written permission to contact them.
  2. Assign the best applicants a time frame where they must call in for a five-minute phone screening.  This should be used to weed out those that fail to follow directions or who just don't impress the business owner as a good fit.  Be sure to have a series of open-ended questions designed to make the applicant do most of the talking.  Take good notes and trust your gut.  Your initial reaction is often correct.
  3. Have the remaining applicants fill out an online survey that measures their personal values.  Do a simple Google search for "online employment assessments".
  4. Do your due diligence.  Call all references and past employers and ask the hard questions.  If they hesitate, offer to send them the signed permission from the applicant releasing them from liability.  Also, consider paying for an online background check.  The cost is minor compared to the liability and exposure of hiring an applicant with a criminal record or one who lies about their work experience and education.
  5. Finally, you will do face-to-face interviews.  By this time you should only be dealing with well-qualified and committed applicants.  They had to do a substantial amount of work just to get to this interview.  You will have better information in order to ask good questions.
  6. Make sure the applicant signs a form agreeing to a 90-day probation period where they agree that you can terminate them for any reason.  (Be sure to check with an employment attorney in your state.)

Hiring experts who recommend this procedure have experienced substantial decreases in new-hire firing, resignations, and absenteeism.

Take the time to implement this system before your next interview in order to experience these results for yourself.