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Avoiding Hiring to a Match NOT Made in Heaven 3/14/2008
Have you ever hired someone you thought would be a great staff person? And then when the person had been in the job anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, you discovered that person wasn't doing the job you wanted him to do?
This happened to one of my coaching clients. Rest assured that many variations of this story have happened to every reader, and they've happened to me. Here are my client's five major mistakes, and how to avoid them. It's so important, because a bad hire costs you not hundreds, but many thousands of dollars!
My client runs a mid-sized Real Estate company, and right before starting to coach with me, she had decided it was time to hire an office manager/administrator. As we started working together for a couple months, she revealed she was having trouble with her new hire. Here are the five mistakes she made in that hiring process, which almost assured her a wrong match:
Not finding out what that person did exactly in his last job
Never assume that your new staff person knows the job you are asking him to do. Be sure to ask detailed questions that will allow you to fully understand a potential hire's skillset and qualifications.
Not hiring to a detailed job description
Both parties, the new office manager and the owner, assumed they knew the job description. But unfortunately, the owner found out that the new hire obviously didn't know the right job description because he was doing only a part of the job; the part he had done in his prior employment.
Good advice to help this pitfall is to create a detailed job description before you start interviewing. DO NOT ask the new hire to create the job description! If you do, you will be stuck in an adversarial position fighting about the job to be done. It's your job to hire. You create that job description! (See The Complete Recruiter and theRecruiting Mastery System for detailed interviewing processes).
Not getting mutual expectations in writing before hiring
The new hire in this case study went blithely about doing what he liked, when he liked it. The time to get mutual expectations agreed upon is prior to hiring. And get them in writing. It's funny how people forget what the boss expects!
Not explaining standards vs. goals
Employees will tell you they have goals and what they want to accomplish. You are impressed! After all, you want someone who has goals to accomplish. You are so impressed you forget to draw that line in the sand (well, it's not really a line in the sand-it's a line in concrete). That line in the concrete represents your standards; what you will and won't put up with. Those are your minimum expectations. This is the Fear Factor.
The principle: We all work past minimum expectations. In the absence of your stating any, you're letting your employee name his own, which are probably lower than yours unless you've hired a very exceptional worker!
No schedule for daily accountability for the first two weeks
"I don't want to be micro-managed." Having someone accuse us of micro-managing gets us in the heart. And, that is exactly what the low-achieving staff person will say. You are paying too much attention to detail. Well, guess what? If you don't pay attention to the details in the first two weeks, that staff person is going to do the job any darn way he pleases! And you won't like it. So, don't think of it as "micro-managing." You are training that staff person to do the job the way you want it done. Your goal is to see enough training progress that you can stop the daily reports and go to weekly reports.
Armed with these 5 principles, you can make much better hiring decisions and grow your company with confidence. Remember, as Jim Collins in Good to Great says, 'getting the right people on the bus' is the most important decision you'll make to be more productive and profitable.
Carla Cross, CRB, MA, is president of Carla Cross Seminars, Inc. and Carla Cross Coaching, specializing in real estate sales and management-the people issues. Cross, an international speaker and coach, is the author of 6 internationally published books, 20 productivity programs, and is a winner of the NAR National Educator of the Year award. Contact her at www.carlacross.com or 425-392-6914.