Hiring new people is one of the most important and most difficult things you have to do as a business owner. Hire too quickly and you may end up with a leech, someone who underperforms while collecting a paycheck. If they are in sales and collect a salary plus commission, you can expect they are only collecting the salary, unless they accidentally trip and fall on a sale! Even worse than this is the virus, someone who contaminates your organization with negativity. They can appear normal and a team player on the surface, but once your back is turned, they spread their true distance for whatever they feel you have done to wrong them.
Leeches and viruses can be the death of your company and learn how to detect them early on in the hiring process is the best way to keep them out. The problem is, like a first date, most people are not really being themselves during the interview process. And their resumes, like their Tinder accounts, are embellishing the truth of their reality. So how do we get past the BS and figure out who the real person is under their disguise of lies? It's easier than you think, and I'm going to lay out for you a simple process to hire people that will save you time and headaches.
Can You Take Directions?
One of the key things you want out of any employee is to know that they can take and follow directions. It seems so simple, but you would be surprised how many people have a complete communication breakdown and deliver you something totally different than you asked for. So we have to create a test for prospective recruits to take that will find out just how well they can take and follow directions.
Create an ad for the position asking that the applicant sends a resume with cover letter explaining why they want to interview for the position available, and what value they think they can bring to the company. Why have them just send a resume when you have an opportunity to find out so much more? They will now have to explain to you why they want the interview and justify themselves for the position. This will be in their own words so you will have a much better idea about who they are then you would from a bullet point list of qualifications. You are going to learn if they have good grammar if they can argue a point and if they can follow directions. As a bonus, the timid won't even apply, the idea of having to justify themselves right off the bat, scares them off.
Go through the resumes, keep only qualified people. Go through the cover letters and keep only the ones you feel comfortable with. This is their written voice, does it sound like a voice you want communicating to your clients and representing your company? Did they deliver what you asked them to? I've had many people ignore the request for the resume and cover letter, and just ask for an interview. If you can't follow directions why would I give you an interview?
Make a questionnaire that will be emailed to the applicants that had the best resumes and cover letters, this can be sent through a free online form service like Google Forms. Once the form has been filled out, you will open it in a spreadsheet which comes in quite handy because want to filter out everyone that doesn't fit in some very basic areas. You are going to have a few qualities that your employee must have and you will want to filter out everyone who doesn't possess it. This can be as simple as having a car or that they live near you. So you can have the question, "Do you have a car?", and if the answer is no, they are disqualified. Imagine you finally find the right person, after a month of searching, just to learn they don't have a car, and can't go on sales calls with demonstration equipment! Load as many of these types of questions, without making it sound like they will be disqualified for not answering correctly.
You won't believe the number of unqualified people just these first three steps will filter out. So far, you shouldn't have had much of your time wasted with Bozos, as Steve Jobs would say. Now it's time to learn how these applicants sound over the phone. I suggest calling them unexpectedly, so they are unprepared, and you will get a more honest idea of who they are. If it goes to voicemail, let them know who they are, and that you are conducting short phone interviews for today only, and to try and call you back right away. If they don't call back until the next day, it's a red flag, and they are disqualified. Now you will hear their phone voice. Does this sound like a voice you want talking to clients and representing your company? Ask them open ended questions that they will have to spend time explaining, like, "What did you like about doing ABC?" or "Tell me about the most difficult sale you ever made.". Anything that gets them talking, so you can evaluate their communication abilities. Thank them and let them know that you will be following up in the next few days.
Interviewing can and should be long and exhaustive. There is really no way around it, you have to breakdown the person past their often fake exterior. The only way to do that is by using a long questioning process, having the applicant meet and be interviewed by your key team members, and having them come back for multiple interviews. I'm going to save the full interviewing process for another post and skip to the end. During the first interview, you will have the applicants fill out a personality test, by hand, with a signature. You can then have handwriting analysis done using a service like fiverr.com for $5-$10 each. These personality tests are very effective at determining the psychological profile of a person and are great for getting rid of all the leeches and viruses that can destroy the company you have worked so hard to build!