When you operate a growing business, you quickly learn how important it is to hire really great people. In fact, next to cash flow, that is probably the most important job you have as an owner.
Where do you find awesome employees?
If you are like me, you want to hire the first person that presents themselves reasonably well and get back to work. The real “interview” is on-the-job.
That sounds like a clever management technique and you are probably hoping I will endorse that.
Sorry, if you don’t have time to interview before hiring, then you probably aren’t going to pause to review the new hire to either help them succeed or to let you cut your losses.
Your company stagnates under the weight people you are genuinely fond of, but who aren’t helping your business.
The only person to blame is you.
Only 5% of your applicants are right for the job. If you want to choose between two great picks, then you need forty applicants.
Only 10% are worth interviewing, and chances are you don’t even need to do that yourself.
Getting applicants isn’t really that difficult. Craigslist, Facebook, and LinkedIn all have job boards and are the most popular recruiting tools available. There are lots of job sites as well; Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and Glassdoor are all highly ranked by recruiters.
What you need is a low impact way of screening these candidates. My suggestion is to use online applicant screening tools available on job-listing sites or create your own.
Imagine you placed and ad on a local job board.
Detail-oriented individuals to work at a fantastic company in the entertainment technology industry. Must be computer-savvy, be able to work odd hours, lift 50 pounds, and take direction well.
We have these benefits (list):
- The pay scale is from $XX to $YY per hour.
- Our average work week is 42 hours.
If this sounds good to you, please fill out a short online application. If you meet the basic criteria, we will set up a phone interview within 48 hours.
[Provide a link to a page on your website that restates the above information and invites them to fill out the actual application.]
The application link leads to a form (I use a survey tool called Typeform). Ask short essay questions such as “Please describe a project, job task, or training you completed using a computer.”
You are looking for writing and communication skills. Did they understand why the question was important and treat it seriously? If they didn’t, then don’t interview them.
Ask all the basic criteria questions such as, can you lift 50 pounds ten times in a day? If their answer is no, that is a disqualification isn’t it?
When they get to the end of the survey you can notify them that they do not meet the criteria for this particular role. Thank them and move on.
If they do meet all of the criteria, give them a task. For instance: email your resume (or supplied application form) to [link provided] and include details on when you are available for a phone interview.
Then you review that resume and decide whether to set up a phone call or thank them and move on.
If the phone call goes well, you set up the interview.
Create a variation of the above steps to match the position you are trying to fill. You can ask for samples of their work if they are a draftsperson, artist, or writer. Or request that they review a financial statement if you are hiring a controller.
Now, let’s do the math. If you advertise on a job board and get 100 people to click the link, one half will complete the survey.
Of those that complete the survey, only half will meet criteria.
Of those only half will follow instructions to complete the next step.
So, for 100 applications you have maybe 10 resumes on your desk. If you schedule 10 phone calls, 3 will miss the call, 3 will be late. Send them a thanks but no thanks letter.
Of the four you actually interview, 2 will not impress you. You schedule two in-person interviews.
If someone is late to an in-person interview (unless they called ahead to let you know), don’t conduct the interview. Why would you hire someone that has ‘late’ in their vocabulary?
The screening process does it all for you.
So, you hire the best candidate, but the process doesn’t stop there. Schedule 30, 60, and 90-day reviews. This only takes five minutes.
First, ask yourself, “Knowing what I know now, would I hire them again?”
If the answer is ‘no’, end it now. If the answer is ‘yes’, then give them one or two tips to be even more successful.
Remember that hiring doesn’t need to be a burden. Have someone else do the pre-screening for you once you are satisfied they understand the criteria. Don’t look at the resumes of candidates that don’t meet the criteria. It’s far too easy to fall in love with someone’s experience on paper.
Hold out for a home run. You deserve it.
PS – I have some other thoughts on interviewing in this blog.