Recently, a long-time client (a CEO of a non-profit organization) was having problems hiring a new assistant.
Actually, he wasn’t having problems hiring someone; the problem was they weren’t working out. Over a year, he had 5 assistants – everyone either quit or was fired. And the CEO is a very good person; not a monster that you might think.
I started thinking about what advice I could give him to improve his chances – not just at hiring, but at hiring successfully. It became the basis for a tool we use at Tanzanite Leadership Development – “The Ideal Employee BuilderTM”.
Here’s what I wrote him.
- As you contemplate you next hire, write down a few words and phrases that accurately describe yourself at work. Your personality at work. (You might get some trusted employees to do that for you as well).
- Use that information to develop words and phrases that would accurately identify someone who works closely with you. For example, if you’re frenetic, always moving, multi-tasking, that leads into exactly what you’re looking for in an assistant – someone to constantly tie together all the loose ends, and someone who enjoys doing working with a personality like yours (and not someone who’d be exasperated by that). It won’t take much time but it will give you great information on how to work best with the final candidates.
- Have team members who know you well interview the candidates, regardless if the candidate will interact with your team member or not. That person knows better than anyone what it’s like to work for you and will bring a different, independent perspective for you on the hire.
- Use LinkedIn for one of your posting choices. Trust me. Then, as soon as it’s posted, “share” it with your network. Your network is comprised of people who know you and might know of someone who’d be perfect for you. It’s worth the price.
- Does your company pay referral fees for employee referrals? If you do, double it. Statistics show that candidates hired through employee referrals are more successful and stay longer than any other source. What about your former employees, or your network? What would a referral fee do to incent them to help? Somebody might know someone crazy enough to work for their boss, right?
- Take your time. If you hire the first person you see, it won’t be a successful hire. Seriously, you should phone/skype screen at least 15 candidates (10 minutes max each), and interview at least 8 candidates in person. You’ll thank me for it when you make the hire. Panic hires never succeed.