By Jeffrey Frankhouser, MRFC, CEP
Challenge: Who dreads job interviews the most? It’s not prospective candidates — it’s the owners. The hiring process can take several days of your time: reviewing resumes, sitting through interviews, sifting through so many unqualified candidates to find the diamonds in the rough. Then, you only hope you can offer an attractive package to get the best people on board and retain them.
Solution: Be exclusive. Far too many help wanted ads are incredibly vague in terms of what qualifications candidates must have, what the job duties are, what days and hours will be worked, and what wages and benefits will be paid. You can save yourself a ton of time by pre-qualifying candidates through exclusive help wanted ads that are ultra-specific in what it takes to be hired at your firm, as well as what the day-to-day work entails. Approach your employee hunt the same way you would approach a customer-centric marketing campaign: through excellent targeting.
Once you have a pool of prospects, arrange for a “walking interview” in which you take candidates on a tour of their working environments. Ask questions relevant to the job and to candidates’ experiences, expectations, dedication, and long-term goals. Don’t act like an overlord determining which minion gets to live another day; rather, behave as though you’re seeking a partner to help you operate and grow your business.
Take the time to seek real references: not the neighbor lady your candidates grew up with, but people who can honestly attest to their work ethic and potential. Once you’ve picked a candidate and before you’ve made a job offer, ask them specifically what it will take to keep them employed with you for the long haul. Tell them to be honest with their expectations. Provided they do a good job for you, you’ll know what kind of rewards they’re seeking, and you can make adjustments accordingly: Do they want more vacation? The opportunity for advancement? More pay? Freedom from micromanagement?
This isn’t to say you have to bend backwards for your employees; however, it stands to reason that if you make expectations clear for both parties you can lay the foundation for a long-term, mutually rewarding employee-relationship.
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