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Hiring the Right Person


It happens all the time. A person who is viewed as an important part of the team leaves the company, and in their rush to fill the vacancy, management settles for someone who is not a good fit. Then that wrong person causes problems, and the company ends up worse off than if they had left the position vacant.

The reality is, it’s a bad idea to rush the hiring process. To ensure that you hire the right person for the job, here are some of the steps that should not be skipped:

• Update the job description – Talk to the department heads with whom this person will interact. Identify the job duties, the skill sets required to perform those job duties, and the soft skills necessary to succeed in the position.

In addition, be sure your written job description includes the physical abilities that are genuinely necessary to perform the job duties. I recently heard of a company that hired a security guard who managed to hide the fact that he was legally blind. By the time the company found out, it was too late. Since the job description didn’t mention the ability to see, they could not fire him without running afoul of employment laws.

• Have a fair wage scale – Your pay structure needs to be generous enough to attract quality people.

• Ask good questions during the interview – Your questions should enable you to evaluate if the person has both the job skills and the soft skills that you’re looking for.

• Check references – Verify that the statements on the candidate’s application are all true.

• Listen to your gut – If someone looks great on paper but is really rubbing you the wrong way, or if there seems to be a big disconnect between who they are on paper and who they are in person, recognize this as a “red flag.”

• Take advantage of the probationary period – Make sure your company has a clear written policy regarding the 90-day “probationary period.” During this time evaluate the new hire every 30 days. This way you can give them an opportunity to improve, and will build a case for quickly letting them go if they are clearly not working out.

If your company, like most, is running with a lean staff, you just can’t afford to settle for mediocrity. Good hires are productive, bad hires are counterproductive, and it can be difficult to fire someone once they’ve come on board.

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