June 25, 2018

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How to Improve Your Hiring Results

People are the key resource for most businesses. Show me the type of employee you have and I will know your level of business success. If your business is growing and you have more demand than you have capacity you will probably have to hire. Hiring quickly and hiring well are two hiring goals.

The following are some observations that will improve hiring effectiveness for a growing business:

  1. Determine what the business needs. Work backward from those needs to examine options and capabilities. It may be necessary to go through a series of stages to get the business in a position to accomplish overall strategy. Do everything legally. Do not go to step 2 until you finish step 1.

  2. Determine what media would be best to let prospects know of your position. Do not forget the Internet.

  3. Let your people and networks know your are hiring. If the 'pickings are slim' or you hire often you may have to offer a referral bonus.

  4. Write copy for the appropriate media. My best successes have come from newspapers.

  5. Make the ad stand out. Put the high range of salary including bonus in your ad. For example, "Up to $27/hr." Don't lie. If your prospect does attain those high levels of performance they expect to be compensated at that rate.

  6. Use a different phone number if possible. If I am recruiting for a client I will give my office number. I like this because it does not have applicants calling the business during the busiest time of day. This could project a negative image to qualified applicants. I also like this since it gives me the opportunity to do phone interviews.

  7. Phone interviews are extremely helpful in successful recruitment. Phone interviews also help weed out prospects that are not prospects. Phone interviews can save much wasted time in face-to-face interviews. Interviewing someone with no potential accomplishes nothing.

  8. Schedule interviews in a private area. No interruptions. Determine beforehand if you need to hire on the spot or interview a number of candidates.

  9. Immediately ask a specific question, like 'explain to me your skill level.'

  10. Let your prospect do all the talking. Ask question after question. Keep asking questions. If the candidate appears strong keep asking questions. Once you get to a certain point in an interview you can ask anything you want to ask. (Legal questions only.)

  11. Allow them to talk and talk and talk some more. Ask open-ended questions. Listen to what they are saying. If they send up warning signs, wind down the interview and have them fill out an application. Tell them you are conducting more interviews and will get back to them in the near future. Be sure to let them know as soon as the position is filled.

  12. If they show potential, ask them if they have a salary range. If the range is realistic and matches your need, have them fill out an application. Ask them for permission to check references and credit. Have them give written permission as proof of their acceptance on the application form.

  13. Remember that skilled, productive people often do not like looking for a job. They would like to find a home and somehow end up on your doorstep. If they do not work for you they will walk down the street and work for your competitor.

  14. Keep your applications on file for at least a year. Keep the strong applications available if you need to hire again.

  15. Avoid the trap of hiring wrong and trying to correct the problem. If the new employee is the problem it is management's responsibility to correct that problem.

  16. Take your emotions out of the process. If an applicant tries to get you to hire them out of sympathy beware. Know what you will do before it happens. I have heard some real sob stories about sick spouses and many hungry children. I have gotten very good at tearfully escorting them to the door.

  17. A good way to wind down the interview is ask the applicant if they have any questions.

  18. Learn from your successes as well as failures.

  19. If you hire often, calculate your success/failure ratio. Try to improve that ratio.

Hiring is not a science. Avoid checklists and canned interview forms. You know what your business needs -- your job is to see if the person across from you can fill those needs. If the people we hire are humans then our success rates improve when we hire from a human perspective. Ask questions and listen. They may be nervous so try to get them to open up. Remember that you already know what you are going to say. You may be bouncing off the wall with enthusiasm over how much your business is growing. Shift your enthusiasm to your ears. You must find out what they have to say.

-Jack Deal

Jack D. Deal is the owner of Deal Consulting and The Deal Company. He can be reached at or