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Hiring is one of the most difficult processes in business. If you don’t get it right, you pay a heavy price. To get it right requires a well-defined process beyond just understanding the job description. It’s also important to understand the most important soft skill set you are looking for. For example, some of the most important skills may be the ability to solve problems, communicate well, organize tasks, and work with others.
This may all seem obvious, but how do you validate these skills in an interview? Short of any special education required for the job, such as software or a degree, which can easily be verified in an interview, these soft skills may not be so apparent.
There are limitless questions you can ask a candidate, so it’s really important to understand what you are trying to discover. In the case of soft skills, asking questions that require the candidate to provide detailed, specific examples of how they used these skills is useful. Develop a set of questions that will help you determine the applicant’s soft skills that are most important to you, such as:
• Can you share an example of a difficult problem you had to solve at work?
• When you have multiple tasks that are important, how do you prioritize them?
• When you are faced with a difficult coworker, how do you handle that?
• When do you feel it is the appropriate time to ask for help?
We know hiring is a real investment in your business, and if you don’t get it right, the cost can be enormous. The list includes wasted time, lost opportunity, additional management time, reduced productivity, and it could even put some customers at risk, along with the overall company morale. The problem is once you do make a hire, a lot of time is spent getting the new hire acclimated and evaluated. It can take months to really get a read on a new employee, and if you get four, five, or six months down the road and realize you’ve hired the wrong person, then you have to start this arduous task over again.
Of course, the second time around adds another hiring and training period that will cost many more months of time and lost opportunity. The best way to avoid this is to get it right the first time, and even in the best of circumstances, you never really know if it’s right until the new hire starts and you get months down the road. At best, you can be clear on exactly who you are looking for to develop a robust hiring process and help you get it right.
Like a documented manufacturing process, hiring needs a documented process, as well. There are many resources available to develop such a process. Whatever your process is, it’s better to invest an extra month or two to get it right because, in the long run, your return on investment will be much greater. The cost of failure is too costly.
To read this entire article, which appeared in the December 2020 issue of PCB007 Magazine, click here.