Each role in your firm counts.
It is necessary for the strength of an organization and the well being of your team for individuals to succeed in their role. Most managers have encountered the challenge of managing a difficult employee at one point or another. Credibility, hiring mistakes and other items often influence your mental ability to have the courage to deal with difficult situations once you have them. To get in front of this situation consider your hiring practice- I personally believe that hiring well will be the most important thing you can do, but few of us have the time to create the process.
One way to mitigate problems with employees is to start at the beginning. Am I hiring correctly? Do I have the right people in place? Is there something I can do to change the results I am getting?
Begin with the end in mind
Does your job description accurately reflect the role and responsibilities that you are looking for with your potential hires? Is it consistent with the metrics by which they are being measured? Does the person understand fully what is expected of them?
I once worked for an organization that scheduled final rounds of interviews for 30 minutes each with 5 different people. We all asked basically the same questions. “So why are you leaving your company?” “What did you find challenging about your last role?” “Why are you interested in coming here?” When we all wound up with the same answers and no new information, we realized that our process 1) Gave the person the opportunity to practice repeatedly the “good answers” and 2) Did not allow us to learn anything new about the candidate. Proper strategic coordination of multiple person interviews are integral to accomplishing the goal of GAINING NEW INSIGHT into that person. It requires a few things:
- A list of what you need to uncover about the candidate, or what has not been discussed in more detail before a hiring decision can be made.
- Divide up the roles for each of the interviewers (or parts of the interview if you are doing this solo) and stick to the discipline for each format. Keep it as scripted as possible to keep inexperienced interviewers from asking “no-no” questions about age, marital status etc. Have HR review the list if possible.
- Schedule a formal debrief immediately after the interview sessions to capture fresh impressions and gut reactions. Little things that people pick up tend to get remembered differently as time passes, and important queues or details could be lost.
- Create a uniform grading schedule for each person evaluating the new talent. It does not matter if you use a “recommend”, “recommend with reservations”, “not recommend” system or a 1-10 grading scale, just make sure you are all evaluating the same things, and can prioritize the candidates.
- Be fearless when it comes to ratings. While you may be under the gun to get a hire, make sure you are objective with the evaluation, and pay attention if you are consistently getting mediocre feedback. Most candidates are on their very best behavior or extraordinarily polished when interviewing, so I like to incorporate layers of interaction. I like to see them in informal and formal settings, and learn something personal about them. While nobody is perfect, you just need to ensure that you have a strong sense for how this person handles adversity, and what motivates them.
- Allow yourself the proper time for interviews. I strongly recommend spending at least an hour in person (After several phone interviews by a manager or a recruiter). Have other interviewers spend 45 minutes to one hour with the candidate. A half hour is too short, and you don’t start getting into the good stuff until several minutes into the interview.
Manage the Candidate experience:
Lastly, manage the expectations of the candidate for the hiring timeline, and when you will next reach out to them. You do not want a desirable candidate thinking you don’t like them because they haven’t heard from you in a week, and thus lose them to a competitor. Conversely you don’t want a candidate that you wish to cut loose calling your team or recruiter every 5 minutes to check in.
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