North Central Business Journal News
HIRING THE RIGHT EMPLOYEES
(October 1999 issue)
by Sandra Kay Neal, Ph.D.
The most important human resource tactic is selecting
the right employees initially. Spending time on the selection process
will save time, headaches, and money later.
The following steps will increase the likelihood
of hiring the right staff at the outset.
1) Describe the job in detail.
Write down on paper all the tasks that you expect the person to do,
not just a general job title. For instance, if you hire a secretary,
describe in detail each task the person will need to do such as answering
the telephone in a customer-centered manner, producing accurate documents
on time, keeing usable files, presenting a positive interpretation of the
boss to customers, etc.
2) Prioritize the job tasks.
Assign a letter to each of the tasks. Create a grid with the
letters on each axis. Decide whether task A or task B is more importnt;
place that letter on the grid at the junction of those two letters.
Then compare task B to task C, etc. Add up the number of times each
letter appears in the body of the grid; the higher the number, the more
important the task.
3) Specify important work attitudes, values,
Write down all the job attitudes, values, and habits that you expect this
person to demonstrate, such as punctuality, low absenteeism, ability to
respond to emergencies without stress, etc. Also specific attitudes,
values and work habits that could be hindering.
4) Prioritize these work attitudes, values,
Use the same prioritizing process as was used in determining the relative
importance of job tasks.
5) Develop a set of questions or tasks that
will help you find which applicants are good at these tasks and habits.
Look at each job task and habit and ask yourself, "how would I know
the person can do this?" Your answers will provide the information
you will seek when screening the applicants.
It is particularly useful to establish these questions or tasks as a type
of test, with good, adequate, and inadequate responses specified prior
to secreening the applicants. That allows you to assign a "grade"
to each applicant on each aspect, so that you can easily compare applicants
at the end of the screening process.
6) Advertise the job.
Use whatever means are open to you in getting the word out that you are
hiring. Spending a lot of money advertising the job does not result
in more applicants, so a small ad is as good as a large ad.
It is useful to have an application deadline. This reduces the possibility
of prolonging the selection process.
7) Do as much screening as possible outside
Have applicants provide reference names and phone numbers who have been
given permission by the applicants to discuss their work with you.
Ask the references prepared questions connected to the expected skills
and attitudes, and translate their responses into a grading system for
ease of comparing.
Check out background training.
Use a skill test if appropriate.
using a structured format.
Interview each applicant using a standard set of questions, with previously
determined good, adequate, and inadequate answers. This reduces the
possibility of responding to irrelevant aspects of the applicant, such
as their personality, and helps the interviewer discern appropriate differences
Sandra Kay Neal holds a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational
Psychology and has 19 years experience helping organizations solve human
resource issues. Her company, Synergistic Organizational Solutions,
specializes in aiding small businesses. Dr. Neal can be reached at email@example.com.