How to Hire "Smart"
(From the August 2000 issue of Demolition, published by the NADC)
By Ronald B. Dokell
It's harder than ever to find and keep capable
people. Jobs are plentiful and while the national unemployment rate
stays low, it is no surprise that small firms feel at a distinct disadvantage.
Most larger firms can offer more in terms of benefits than you probably
What generally happens is we hire people based on their talent and
experience and fire them based on culture. They just somehow don't
fit in. It is fairly easy to check people's talent and experience.
It's very hard to check their culture. But people who hire "smart"
make an effort to do so. Don't try to do all the hiring yourself.
Get some of your managers (particularly those for whom the recruit
will be working) to join you during the interview process. It is always
helpful to get a better second opinion and especially good to have
the immediate or second level supervisor of the person being hired
in on the hiring decision.
One of the ways to hire is through temporary employment services,
with the temptoperm plan which gives you (usually)
a 90day period to test out the employee and see if they have
the talent and experience they purported to have, and also see how
they fit the work culture.
Here are some tips for long term hires.
1.Develop a formal hiring practice. Figure out what you will do after
you have put the ad in the paper. This should include such things
as a telephone interview, an application form,
a personal interview and probably a second interview. I know you can't
do this when you hire a laborer, but once you get above hourly workers,
you should be using this process.
2.Write a job description for the open position, including physical
requirements. That way you can tell the potential employees what's
expected of them and they can see if they fit the position. It also
gives you the opportunity to write down what you really want for this
3. Always interview more than one candidate. I know we don't have
a lot of time, but it costs a lot of money to hire the wrong person.
4.Hire candidates who are not just like you. Everybody shouldn't be
just like the boss. Otherwise, how do you get some differences of
opinions. (You DO WANT differences of opinions, DON'T you?)
5.Promise a candidate only what you can deliver. Otherwise, it will
come back to haunt you. Make sure others also interview the candidate.
6.Follow through on reference checks. If you don't do that you are
missing the one chance you might have to find out something about
the potential employee, other than what they tell you.
7.Never ask candidates about their race, religion, marital status,
physical or mental disabilities, or whether or not they have ever
been arrested. All of these are nono's and could get you in
trouble with the EEOC and you don't need that.
8.Don't rely only on classified ads. There are other ways to network,
particularly for nontechnical jobs.
9.Don't throw away the applications of the ones you didn't hire. It
may turn out you made a mistake and at least I
you'll have a base from which to start your next search.