If you’re looking to expand your business or free up your time (or both), the best thing you can do is hire support. When hiring, you need team members you can count on to run your business when you aren’t there - an essential component of being a successful entrepreneur and avoiding burnout.
But going through the hiring process can be overwhelming, and hiring the wrong person - someone who doesn’t fit with your team, put their heart and soul into your business, or suddenly decides to leave after 6 months - can be a huge drain on your time, resources, and energy.
If you aren’t sure what the first step is in hiring or if it seems that the traditional interviewing process isn’t getting you the people you need and want on your team, give these ideas a try - you’ll be pleased with the results!
Thin the Herd With Pre-Interview Tasks
You may have heard of job applicants being dismissed right out of the gate for mistakes on their resume such as a typo or a missing piece of requested information. That’s because following directions and paying close attention to detail are essential skills for any job, and if an applicant is making mistakes and doesn’t follow instructions during the application process, it’s likely they’ll make the same kinds of mistakes on the job.
But weeding out applicants doesn’t have to stop at their resume - keep the tests going throughout the hiring and interviewing process.
In addition to watching their resume for mistakes, include instructions in the job post for the applicant to follow, like putting a specific phrase in the subject line when they submit their application or a request to follow-up with the hiring department after one week.
If the applicant fails to follow to include that specific phrase in the subject or your never get that follow-up phone call, you can cut their resume from your list of potential candidates.
Once you’ve selected the applicants that seem most qualified for the job based on their resume and cover letter, give each applicant a series of tasks to measure their ability to follow more complex directions and blend in with your company culture long before you call them for an interview.
Reach out to candidates who made it past your initial resume review with additional instructions they should follow so you can get a sense of who they are even before you get them on the phone for an interview. For example, you can ask them to send you a video of themselves sharing more about who they are or why they think they’d be the best match for the role.
If requesting a video seems like overkill for the job you’re trying to fill, ask applicants who make it past your resume review process to complete a short task that mirrors the regular duties of the role or illustrates their communication skills. For example, asking them to fill or sort data in an Excel file or draft a response to a client inquiry.
By requiring your applicants to complete extra steps from the get-go, you’ll weed out applicants who aren’t interested enough in the position to go through the extra hoops. Candidates who do the tasks but fail to showcase a personality that’s compatible with your team or create poor work product should be cut from your pool of applicants.
If your candidates can complete these steps with flying colors, then it’s time to schedule an initial phone interview.
Check References With Curiosity
Once you’ve narrowed down your applicants to a promising few, make sure to ask for references and actually check their references. We’re constantly surprised by how often this step is overlooked.
It’s easy for someone to fake a reference on a resume - whether the person enlists the help of a co-worker they didn’t actually report to or asks a friend who is completely unrelated to the job to give a glowing review.
To make sure you’ve been given appropriate references, verify that the name and role of the person you’re calling check out. For example, don’t just ask if they managed the applicant. Ask for details of the applicant’s duties while working for this employer and what role the reference had in supervising them.
By getting curious about the applicant’s prior positions, you’ll be able to snuff out references that aren’t genuine and get a real feel for the applicant’s previous job responsibilities.
Once you know the reference source is good, go a step further and ask the reference less obvious questions about the applicant, such as, “What is something you wish you knew about John Doe before you hired him?” or, “How do you think John Doe would respond in an emergency?” or my personal favorite question “What should I be asking you about John Doe that I’m not asking you?”
Get curious with the reference and don’t be afraid to ask out-of-the-box questions about your applicant. After all, that’s what a reference is meant for and if the applicant was a good team member, their reference won’t have a difficult time telling you so.
Listen between the lines. If the reference is giving unqualified and easy answers, consider that they may be hedging by not telling you that they wouldn’t hire your applicant again.
Observe the Applicant’s Behavior and Energy Around Others
Traditional one-on-one interviews in an office can often feel a bit like a posed photo - neat, orderly, and a little awkward, but not a true reflection of the real personalities or actions of the people being photographed. (I mean, how often do you really find yourself standing in a row arm and arm with other adults?)
While you can still gain valuable insights about an applicant by interviewing them in a traditional one-on-one setting, try mixing up your process and moving your interviews to a more natural environment like a coffee shop or lunch spot. By doing so, you’ll help your applicant feel more comfortable being themselves because they’ll immediately feel like the “edge” has been taken off of the interview.
Now, don’t get me wrong - the applicant should still be professional during the interview, wherever it is. But by having the interview in a more public setting, you invite the candidate to show more of their true personality and also get to observe how they interact with other people around you.
Take note of how the applicant treats servers, and other customers while in line, and what energy they give off. Does the applicant walk into the shop with a smile on their face or do they seem apathetic? Are they focused on your conversation or distracted by the buzz around you?
Lastly, don’t be afraid to let the conversation move away from the role you’re trying to fill to more personal topics. Ask the applicant about their experiences or things they do for fun. Pay attention to whether the applicant is able to easily and naturally hold a conversation and whether they return their interest in you by asking you about yourself and your own time at your company.
This is important because it shows how the applicant will most likely act around you and your existing team outside of the interview process. Ideally, hiring someone is a long-term commitment, so you want to make sure that the person you hire is not only great at what they do, but someone you and your team can enjoy working with day-in and day-out.
Get Support from Your Personal Lawyer
Hiring the right people to support you and your business is key to growing your company and enjoying the benefits and freedom of being a business owner. But knowing how to hire and what to look for in your applicants can be difficult.
Next week, I’m going to share with you more methods for interviewing and finding the right people to join your team so you can be confident you’re making the best hiring decisions and hiring people that not only get the job done right, but who will love working for you and being an active part of your company’s growth and success.
If you can’t wait for next week and want hiring support right now, schedule a free 20-minute call at the link below to learn how I can support you through every stage of your company’s growth. https://calendly.com/casey-135/20min
This article is a service of Casey D. Conklin. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That's why we offer a Wealth Planning Session, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office or visiting my online calendar to schedule a 20 minute consultation with me.