Heading into a job interview.

IMG_0528Next week, I am interviewing someone for a job in one of my locations.  I’ve done plenty of these over the years, but it’s always good to revisit the “why” and “how” beforehand.  Here’s an update on my short list of parameters for “hiring well”.

1. Use your gut. If your gut is telling you that the person is not a good fit, just go with that. There are plenty of folks looking for a job. There’s always a stack of applications somewhere. It doesn’t matter how many people give this person a “thumbs up”, use your instincts and personal experience. They count for something.  You have been tasked with interviewing people for a reason.

2. Look toward the future. – Hire for two spots higher than the current open position. Conduct a pre-employment exam to weed out individuals that mentally won’t make the cut. In order to develop succession plans, you have to have a bench of folks with the potential to grow with the organization.

3. Don’t give people chances. Chances cost money. Hire the best person for the job.  If a person deserves a chance, they will create a scenario where they interview well enough to be considered for the job. Looking back on it, when I thought I was “given a chance”, I actually earned it.

4. Character over technical competence. – Just because a person has a high level of skill, doesn’t mean they will fit your organization.  It may be good to utilize a strength assessment during the pre-employment process.  The candidate can then be measured against the current team’s strengths to determine synergies or potential issues.  Which leads to my next point.

5. Protect your house. – Hiring a cultural fit is arguably the most important aspect of the hiring process. Culture is the glue that holds people together. It sets the unwritten rules that shape the daily ebb and flow within the workplace. It’s such a deep part of the organization, you can feel when it’s “off”.  Which is what makes number 6 so important.

6. Don’t shoehorn someone in. – Don’t be compelled to hire someone who is the “best of the worst”.  Why would you do that?  If you care about the health of your organization, go get the right person.

These are some tough lessons I’ve learned over the years in regards to hiring.  The amount of time and energy wasted on a bad hire far outweigh a thorough interview process.  Trust me.  It’s worth the time and energy to get it right.