Selecting Quality People
Select Great People and Develop Employees That Excel
Developing employees has a great deal to do with the company's profitability. One of the main functions of management is to select, develop and retain employees. When hiring, the company wants the right person who demonstrates that they want the company where they will be working to be successful. If you have a proper selection system in place, then you are likely to find the best candidate who is the most qualified that will work well in the position you want filled.
Hiring is tricky and many legal aspects are involved, so being up to date on what is applicable to your state and situation is advisable. Most larger companies have departments and trained personnel to hire their employees. They understand the importance and cost involved in selecting the right employee. Often there is a specific system followed for hiring. Since not all companies have an HR department we offer some considerations and guidelines for those times when a position must be filled and the right person needs to be chosen.
The Selection Process
When an opening exists in a company, the task of hiring is often given to the Personnel Department or the head of the department where the new hire will work. The cost of a new hire is extremely high when you factor in the training and development time needed before you see positive results. Selection and retention of the right employee is critical to a profitable bottom line of any business. If you analyze the process used to select, develop and retain your employees you might discover some flaws in your practice.
Define the Perfect Employee
Take a look at the hiring process you or your staff uses at your business. The first segment takes the open position and completely defines all aspects. What are the exact job duties and job expectations? Are they written down and made a part of the hiring media kit that the applicant receives? What special skills are needed to excel at this position? Now describe the perfect employee in specific terms, listing the top fifty qualities and traits you feel they would need to be rated as 'perfect.' Now place them in order of importance. Here are some ideas of what may appear on your list.
- Places a high importance on being on time to begin their work day.
- Understands the importance of quality customer service.
- Practices good health routines to insure high quality of life and strives to be free from routine sickness.
- Builds relationships easily and is a team builder.
- Demonstrates the desire to improve by furthering their education.
- High moral standards.
- Comprehends and demonstrates the importance of time management.
- Follows directions with a positive attitude.
- Shows a willingness to learn and follow company policy and procedures.
- Works well with co-workers and wants to be part of a TEAM.
The next point involves the need of a system to select the best person for the job. Use several testing methods (some applicants may be skilled at interviewing and answering questions). These are verbal and written skills assessments, an oral interview and group observation to select the right person for the position. Depending on your company, you may have other methods or tests you use. By using multiple testing methods you improve the quality and longevity of each person hired. When every applicant is given the same set of tests, emotional bias is removed and replaced by quantitative results in the selection process.
Written questions should be created from your 'top traits' list. Make sure you leave more room to answer than should be needed. Your applicant can demonstrate how precise and literate they are in the written portion. This is also a great way to evaluate the readability of their work. This segment should have detailed written instruction with a fixed time limit for completion (this allows you to see how they will work under time restraints as well as their ability to follow directions). Questions should be open-ended where the applicant must answer with something other than "yes" or "no." Here are some examples:
- How do you feel when a co-worker shows up for work 10 minutes late, and what advice would you offer to them about this matter?
- Describe the best customer service you have received and how did it effect you as a customer?
- With the additional work burden placed on the co-worker when someone calls in sick, what specific life style changes would you suggest improving regarding the time needed for sickness? What have you found works for you, and why?
- Now that you are an adult, is there any reason for additional extended learning or college? How do you see this helping you in the future?
- List three of your greatest accomplishments and two failures in each situation: work, academic and social.
Specific Skills Test
Every job has specific skills that are needed to complete tasks at work. A skill test can be an insightful tool, so depending on what tasks are needed for the job, tests can be designed to check out the applicant. Skill testing can and should be performed on any equipment that is used to complete the job duties. Computer, service or test equipment, or other hardware or job-specific tools can be used to allow the applicant to show their skill level on the equipment. Of course this would exclude things such as a company-specific software program. The test instructions should be given verbally and include a specific time limit. Give the same test for this job to each applicant and strive to evaluate each person in the same manner.
A list of three to five questions should be prepared, and the responses recorded by the interviewer. This type of interview should be like a social meeting, and not an inquisition. This is the time to let the applicant know about the job, the specific benefits and pay. The questions should concentrate on specific tasks concerning the job, time management, intentions and future employment goals.
This test should be a social meeting and can be the very informative. The top three candidates should be invited and told that this is the final test in the hiring process. This could be an informal company tour to meet some of the employees, or a gathering of some of the department workers to let the applicants interact with them. Watch, listen and observe how each candidate relates with the group. Now is the time to use your emotions. How do you feel about each candidate: do you like them, and why?
Celebrate the Hire
This is management's TEST. The position went to the person who had the best results from the interviews and tests. Management and the company need to be very positive and upbeat, keeping in mind that your company was also being evaluated and it,too has been selected. It is time to mark the occasion by introducing the company, providing a guided tour of each department and introducing the new employee. The tour should be given by the head of the department where the person will work. End the tour back at their new work space and bring all of their co-workers together for a formal introduction and welcome.