It’s been some months since I have left the education industry to embark on my own work journey. Very soon, I will be starting on a new business with my wife and it’s about time to start hiring staff. Hiring strangers can be a real challenge as all you have is their CV, an interview time of merely 30-60 minutes and perhaps some feedback from their referees or ex-bosses (which may or may not be accurate).
I have had my fair share of hits and misses in 10 years of hiring people. Many of these worked out, but there were also a number that didn’t. Even on hindsight, some of these behavioural traits would not have been discovered at the interview process. The references given may not be accurate too as their ex-supervisors or bosses simply want to be kind and not jeopardise their future. I for one, would not jeopardise a staff’s chances of working at another company, no matter how badly he or she has done.
The recruitment process is extremely important. If done well, it maximises the chances of getting the right employees and reduces as much as possible, unnecessary frustration and hiccups. In my opinion, here are some of the things to look out for. Well this is also a blog post to remind myself on what to do in some upcoming interviews hahaha. Do bear in mind that I’m simply sharing my own experiences, and it may (or may not) be insightful whether you be the interviewer or interviewee. Here goes:
- Ensure that a job description for the position is ready and well thought through before the interview. This can help you craft the required questions, and elicit the answers that you need or don’t need from the interviewee. The job description will also help you give a clear direction to the interviewee on the tasks and performance indicators to expect.
- Try your best to put the interviewee at ease so that he or she can give her best show. They are also assessing you at the same time, wondering what kind of a boss you will be. From my experience, being humorous helps a lot in this aspect.
- Don’t be shy to put some unease into the interviewee, so that you can see how he or she reacts under stress and feedback. Someone who is defensive will give you a picture on their level of openness to ideas and guidance.
- Encourage the interviewee to ask questions. If they do not ask, that means they are not really that interested in this position. If they only ask questions which are highly focused on pay and benefits, then they are simply here to make a living, which in itself is not wrong. The best questions are those that ask about how they can fit into the company’s culture, work expectations, how they can succeed at the job etc, and then also balancing it up with pay related queries.
- Referees given by the interviewee are important but they shouldn’t be the deal maker or breaker. Their names are listed on their CVs, so they would highly likely be providing positive feedback. Just be wary of those referees which are at the non-supervisory level, for example by co-workers or subordinates. References should only be given by direct supervisors.
One of my ‘misses’ involved a guy who would fart in the classroom and scold vulgarities…
Right, so there you go. One of my ‘misses’ involved a guy who would fart in the classroom and scold vulgarities….something which we would never have discovered at the interviews! Another one was a chap who loved sleeping on the job and we caught him sleeping at a quiet storeroom in the sports hall. Then there was another one who started off brightly but eventually got disgruntled at some issues, and then decided to backstab the school via social media.
All of them gave great interviews and had glowing references. Thank God though, there were many more positive ones which worked out very well!
Good luck then! And good luck to me and my wife in setting up our new company.