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The Seven Steps To Hiring Long-Term Successes
By Mark Hayakawa, Search 4 Integrity

Hiring is a complicated process that requires planning, execution, and evaluation to land the right candidate who will be a long-term contributor to your organization. Keys to success are being honest with candidates, asking tough questions, and knowing the profile of the person whom you want to hire. Here are steps that every employer should consider throughout the process of finding that perfect candidate.

As the potential employer, it is your responsibility to determine why the candidate wants to change jobs. Perhaps the candidate’s current company is financially unstable or does not offer challenge, growth and opportunity. The candidate might be in conflict with peers or be exhibiting poor job performance. Don’t just get the basics: Ask for specific examples to determine why these conditions exist. For instance, if the candidate is experiencing conflict with his or her peers, does that mean he or she has poor conflict resolution skills, is not politically astute, or is a poor performer? If you suspect behavioral issues, you might want to change gears and turn it into a behavioral interview. If the candidate indicates that his or her current employer does not offer enough challenges or growth opportunities, you need to determine whether no true promotional opportunities exist or if the candidate is not promotable. Many top performers do outgrow their jobs and companies cannot always accommodate them. On the other hand, some candidates are not management material, thus opportunities are not afforded to them. There is always the possibility that the company is mismanaging the individual’s talent, in which case you may have a diamond in the rough.

After determining what is motivating the candidate to conduct a job search, you should evaluate that individual’s potential longevity at your company. It will help to find out what he or she is looking for now as well as three to five years from now. Is his or her search focused? Does it correlate with what your company offers? Is he or she looking for a start-up, growth-oriented or well-established firm? Does he or she prefer a job in the private or public sector? What job responsibilities, industry preferences, geographic location, and company environment does the candidate prefer? When an employer is meeting these needs the probability of retaining any employee is greatly increased. Does the employee also have a life plan (career and personal goals) and are those aligned with your company’s objectives and environment? Generally, grounded candidates possess a well-developed personal road map and consistently focus on attaining their goals.

When you discover what motivates a candidate, you have answered one of the most telling indicators for long-term compatibility. Some of the motivations candidates have are money, power, team, affiliation, and opportunity. Employees who consistently contribute are team players. They constantly seek out opportunities where they can add value and make your company stronger and more profitable. Candidates who seek money and power are not necessarily preferred employees and further discussions are advised to determine the source of these needs.

Have you ever felt like you were pulling teeth during an interview to get any details about the candidate? A reluctance to share information indicates either a lack of social skills (generally not a good hire) or lack of honesty and integrity (not a good hire either). Companies need to hire honest employees who are coachable and good listeners. If the interview becomes a question-and-answer session, you do not have a winner. On the other hand, if there is great conversational flow chock full of achievements and accomplishments, that is a good indicator and half of the equation.

During the interview, weave into the conversation topics that lead to uncovering a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. This will give you insight into their technical and non-technical skills, which is the other half of the equation. When a skill is mentioned, ask the candidate for examples of that skill and what he or she accomplished. Those examples will give you an idea of how broad and comprehensive that skill really is or isn’t. If the candidate is unable to succinctly recite clear, concise and specific examples, it may be an indication of an inflated resume or lack of communication skills. In either case, keep probing for more answers until you are satisfied.

Continuing with those tough questions, you must now evaluate your candidate’s communication skills. Listen carefully to his or her answers. How does he/she process information? How does he/she articulate responses to questions? Does the candidate think well on his or her feet when put on the spot? Is the candidate’s resume clear, concise, and neatly written, without spelling/grammar errors? In this highly competitive environment, getting the job done right the first time is imperative. Communication skills thus become an integral part of any team accomplishing its goals.

An area that is not consistently addressed is the verification of a candidate’s references and certifications. Always have the hiring manager call references, including the candidate’s supervisors, peers and staff prior to hiring. Ask the reference about the candidate’s experience, accomplishments and qualifications for the job, listening for consistency. In addition, obtain confirmation of degrees (BS, BA, MBA, MS), licenses (CPA, JD), and certifications (ASA, FSA, ACAS, FCAS, CFA, Microsoft, CCM etc.). Don’t leave yourself open to surprises from inaccurate resumes and unsatisfactory references. It is imperative to verify a candidate’s qualifications to ensure the integrity of hiring.

Mark Hayakawa is a Certified Public Accountant and President of Search 4 Integrity, based in La Habra, Calif. His executive search firm specializes in working with Accounting, Finance and Information Technology professionals and clients in a broad range of industries throughout Southern California. He performs specialized searches on an interim, contingent and retained arrangement. He can be contacted at 562-690-0553 or markhayakawa@aol.com.

 

 


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