Recruiting, Interviewing and Hiring:
The Ultimate Game of “Survivor”
By Bob Schultz
most important things any owner or senior management person can be
doing on any given day are to increase revenue and decrease cost
without sacrificing quality. Recruiting, hiring, training and
coaching a world-class team is a giant step in the right direction
to increasing profitable revenue.
to accomplish this, critical focus and effort must be placed on the
recruiting process. It’s amazing that many managers will spend more
time researching the purchase of a computer or other piece of
equipment than they will in hiring the people who will represent
them on a day-to-day basis.
often, managers will hire “experienced” people, sometimes taking
them from other companies. To understand how costly this can be,
it’s necessary to understand the meaning of the word “experience.”
“Experience” can be defined as “events lived through,” or “knowledge
or skills gained over time.” But, are those skills and knowledge
the right ones? Take, for example, someone who has played golf for
ten or more years without the benefit of serious coaching to become
a world-class golf pro. Most likely, that person’s skills leave
something to be desired, but he or she can still be “experienced.”
TV show Survivor, the right recruiting process will eliminate
people all along the way until only the outstanding winners remain.
1: Identify the need: Before you begin recruiting, you
must establish the positions you’re looking to fill and identify the
community in which new staff will work. Then, establish a targeted
compensation model and ideal target behavioral style for each
2: Find the candidates: It is not necessarily important
that candidates have experience, but some successful background in a
related field is helpful. Ads should run in the classified section
of a local newspaper, and, if budget permits, a display ad should
run in another section of the paper. Ads can also be posted on
Internet sites catering to those seeking employment.
3: Start screening with the resume: If prospective
employees can’t sell themselves, how can they represent your
business? Inspect their resume for typos, grammatical or spelling
errors, and sloppiness. If the resume can’t pass this critical first
step, then “vote them off the island.”
4: Send a pre-interview package: Send the remaining applicants a
pre-interview package. It should contain a personalized cover letter
and an application for employment. (To expedite the process,
consider posting this pre-interview package on your Web site to be
downloaded by applicants with a password.)
find the responses to these questions satisfactory, then include the
applicant in the next challenge: the interview. Rather than a single
interview, the procedure should be a series of steps; each one’s a
part of the screening process.
5: Conduct a telephone interview: Set up phone interviews
via e-mail. This acts as another important test. If applicants don’t
check their email, they probably won’t check it when customers send
them an e-mail. Conduct the first telephone interview using a
script. Some important questions at this stage include: “What are
your earning goals for this year?” and “Are you a
energy in the candidate’s voice during the phone interview is a
strong indication of whether or not we want to interview them
further. If they can speak eloquently and seem to be intelligent,
set an appointment for a face-to-face interview.
6: First face-to-face interview: Look for the candidate who
arrives on time and is dressed professionally, if there is
consistency with previously given answers, and how the candidate
feels about being video/secret-shopper shopped.
7: Check references and behavioral style: Before you proceed
further, obtain permission from the remaining candidate or
candidates to assess their behavioral styles. Some excellent
personality assessments include the Management for Success (MFS)
Style Analysis Response Form-Sales Version and Personal Interests,
Attitudes and Values (PIAV) Response Form from Target Training
International, which candidates can complete online. Review both of
these reports to determine if the candidates are close to your
stage you should also conduct a complete reference check. If the
references check out satisfactorily, and the behavioral reports are
in sync with your targeted profile, then call the candidate for a
second face-to-face interview.
8: Second face-to-face interview: This time, add an
additional representative from your company so you can get another
perspective. It’s also important at this point to look for a ‘PHD’
attitude, which stands for ‘poor, hungry and driven. Managers are
looking for that extra commitment from a person to assure that they
will be happy to stay late, and willing to embrace full-time, active
weekend work when necessary. If the applicant passes the second
interview satisfactorily, then invite him or her to the
all-important group interview.
9: The group interview: Most managers would be satisfied to hire
people who have been through the first eight steps of the recruiting
process. However, some people are very good at behaving well in
one-on-one interviews, and a resume is really just a balance sheet
that lists all assets and no liabilities. The group interview
provides a chance to probe for the liabilities and see how potential
candidates interact with others.
the group interview, sit back and watch the candidates in action.
Compare notes with the other observers from your company and choose
your superstars. Role-playing should be an integral part of the
recruiting night. The can help determine if the candidates are going
to be coachable.
10: Final Interview and Offer the Position: Schedule an
appointment to meet for a final face-to-face interview with the
candidates selected from the group interview. Use this interview to
go over anything that may have concerned you during the group
interview. If you are satisfied, present the job offer and start
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