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How to Hire the Right Employee

People can make or break a business, so it’s crucial that you hire the right employee. However, making sure you build your team with people who will work well together can be tricky.

Where to look for the right employee

Gone are the days when a business could simply post a half-hearted ad on a job board and have the best candidates step forward.

These days, it’s far more likely that you will have to find the best candidate for your needs. 58 per cent of even the happiest employees are still open to new job opportunities. These “passive candidates” are often reached through recruiters and clearly defined, engaging job ads with simple application processes.

What to look for

What to look for in a prospective employee depends on your business and the role, but it’s always going to be important to assess a candidate’s knowledge, skill, experience, and personality. You should be considering their characteristics, soft or transferrable skills, and attitude – sometimes it’s easier to train someone with the right attitude than hire someone with years of experience in a role.

Interviewing to hire the right employee

It’s important to remember that job interviews go both ways. While you’re interviewing to see if someone will fit your expectations, a candidate is also interviewing you to see if you’ll fit theirs.

Starting an interview with a few icebreakers and a casual conversation can put both of you at ease. Simple questions like: “Did you have any trouble finding us?” or (if you’re regional) “How was the trip out?” are ideal conversation starters.

Your questioning technique will depend on your company and the position, but it’s always good to have some behavioural questions in the mix. Past behaviour can be a general indicator of future behaviour. These can be as specific or general as you like, depending on what you think will get the most informative result. Examples of these types of questions are:

  • “Tell me about a time you were in [insert situational example]. How did you solve/deal with it?”
  • “Describe a project you have implemented from start to finish. What were the issues you came up against? What strategies did you use to navigate these and what was the result?”

These questions are excellent if they’re framed with a specific problem that is relevant to your business and your employee’s success. Problem-based questions can make the candidate think strategically and enable you to see how well they can make decisions. These can cover subjects like:

  • Industry knowledge
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Strategic thinking
  • Business acumen
  • Personal attitudes

If you’re filling a c-suite or senior management role you should consider having a wide-ranging discussion rather than a question-based interview. This will help both of you determine the fit and ability levels required.

Top Tips for Interviewers

  • Start with small talk. Both interviewer and candidate can be on edge at the early stages of an interview so have an easy conversation until everyone seems relaxed.
  • Try to follow an 80-20 rule – managers only speak for 20% of the time and spend the other 80% listening.
  • Be prepared. Make sure you’ve read and understood the candidate’s resume and background.
  • Match questions to the skills and experience required.
  • Ask behavioural and problem-based questions.
  • Make the recruitment process and steps clear to candidates.

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