Hiring the Right Staff
Job Descriptions - Salary Survey
"Everything you need to respond and hire as demand
for IT Professionals increases" - CIO Fortune 500"
While hiring the right people may appear more obvious in small, entrepreneurial companies, it is also true in larger companies. The right people might have the foresight to help an enterprise change and keep up with their industry. With the right people, you can move ahead and you will have a team that supports your success.
Planning to Hire
As a manager in today's tough economic conditions, what can you do to ensure you hire the right people?Before you start the recruting process, be sure you know these things:
- Understand the job requirements and expectations from the employee
- What is the official job description of the position you are hiring? Does that really describe what you expect? If not, make sure you are clear about what you expect. For each skill, duty or requirement listed in the official job description, estimate how much (by hours per week or % of time) the person will spend using each one. Rank the most important skills and duties. Identify any skills and duties that are "nice to have" or "not critical" to day-to-day performance of the job. If you cannot find someone with all the skills in the job description, this exercise will give you a good basis for gauging whether someone has the most important skills you need.
- Have a detail job description created that list all of the job requirements and see that it is reviewed by human resources before it is published.
- Will the person work closely with others on your team? If so, give the others a change to meet potential employees before you hire them. This shows respect for your team and gives the job candidate a chance to meet their potential co-workers before they make a decision to take the job.
- Are there certain weaknesses on your existing team that you expect a new person to fill? Be clear about what those are and that the person knows they are being recruited for those reasons.
- Do you enjoy different personality types in your staff or do you want everyone to be the same way? Different people provide an opportunity for potential conflict. However, they also provide the greater opportunity for the entire team to be stronger and for people to help each other learn and grow.
- Be aware that some jobs require personality traits to be successful. For example, don't hire someone who is not an enthusiastic self-starter into a client relationship position or hire an outgoing, creative person for a job where they will be stuck in a cubicle coding applications.
- Understand the working style - Write down a few things about your working style and the type of people you work best with. Including:
- Are you a hands-on manager that likes to supervise people closely or do you like people who work independently?
- Do you like regular written status reports from the people who report to you or do you like to get a general feel for what they are doing from occasional conversations?
- Do want copies of all the e-mail or memos sent by your employees to others in the company or would you rather only see messages under certain conditions? What are those conditions?
- Is your working style the similar to your boss? Is your working style similar to your peer managers?
- If your style is different from theirs, are your employees expected to work with those other managers and are you able to help them understand the different styles?
If you have made hiring mistakes in the past (all good managers have), pay attention to what you did wrong and avoid repeating the mistake. For example, if you know that certain types of people or certain personality traits make you cringe or have caused you problems in the past, be sure you are clearly aware of what to look for so you do not interview and hire those types of people.
- Understand your company's culture
- Conduct employee surveys and when employees leave conduct exit interviews. Know what are the top 3 reasons people leave and stay with your company?
- Do you expect people to be at work at a specific time or are you more concerned that they get their work done within a reasonable time period?
- Do you expect people to work at home, in the evening or on weekends and/or holidays?
- Do you expect people to dress in suits or is casual ok? How casual is "casual" at your company?
- Are people expected to compete with each other, work independently or to work together?
- Are employees expected to participate in company social functions? Are they encouraged to develop friendship with co-workers or is social activity not favored?
- Do you have specific production or sales quotas that must be met? How closely are these monitored and what is the reward or punishment for making or not making the quota?
Does your company drag out the interviewing process or do they make fast hiring decisions? Is your Human Resources department involved in screening job candidates or is this handled
by line managers?
Interviewing Job Candidates
The Interview Process
We suggest you use a team approach to interviewing. You may want to use telephone interviews for the first contact using the Human Resources department, a professional search firm, a recruiter, yourself or a member of your staff. The phone interview covers the basic skills and experience before you schedule the in-person interview.
Ideally, you will have 3 or 4 people interview each candidate. If possible, have one of the interviewers be a co-worker or someone in a similar job. Each person is looking for different things. For example for a technical position, one person might be assessing technical skills, another is assessing the candidate's ability to communicate and their teamwork skills, another is looking at how well they will fit into the company culture.
In some companies, a job candidate meets with several people in one session. Again, each person is looking for specific attributes to make a decision.
Following the interview, a decision should be made as quickly as possible on that person. Either they are being considered for the position or they are not. Let them know as soon as possible where they stand. If they are not to be considered further, it is better to let them immediately than drag on an unworkable situation.
In fast-paced, well-organized companies, a person leaves their interview with a job offer. In that situation, the last person to interview the person knows the results of the prior interviews and is prepared to make an offer that day.
Do not be afraid to hire the first person if they fit your criteria. In today's tight job market, employers who delay may lose their best candidates by delaying.
Ask a variety of questions about skills and education, relevant experience and about a person will get along with people in your company. Some specific type of questions to ask follow.
Ask about prior experience. Ask information about the positions the candidate held that are relevant to the job you are filling. You may use their resume/application for specifics or ask general open-ended questions.
- The candidate's prior duties and responsibilities in each job.
- What was most rewarding about each position.
- What personal responsibility they felt for quality and meeting the goals of the company.
- What improvements in productivity and efficiency they made.
- How valuable their contribution was to the overall profitability of the company.
- How well they worked with other employees.
- How much initiative and/or leadership they showed.
- How they dealt with problems and challenges.
- What new ideas, products or innovations they contributed. What they learned from each that helped them in their career.
- What motivated them to take the position, achieve promotions and/or leave the position.
- How that prior experience contributes to their ability to do a good job for your company.
- How they get along with different types of people. Ask questions relevant to the job and to your company culture.
- How well they will deal with the specific people they will interact with on a regular basis (clients, customers, co-workers, peers, other departments, etc.)
Job performance questions
- Review job description details, working conditions and physical demands of the job.
- Give the applicant a copy of the job description, and review the job in general with them. If they are still interested and feel they can do the job, review each component of the job with them, asking about their ability to do each component.
- Whether the applicant understands each job requirement and can do each part of the job function.
- What experience and background the applicant has to perform the job as described.
- Whether there is any accommodation (under the Americans With Disabilities Act) needed for the applicant to perform the job described.
- How well the applicant can match their own skills and background to your company's requirements.
Education, cetrifications, and training
- How the applicant uses their education, certification, and training in their job.
- What initiative they have taken to improve their own training and skills (particularly extra work taken on their own to obtain or maintain skills).
- What plans they have for continuing to maintain or improve their education and certifications.
- How well they can foresee future needs to maintain or upgrade their own skills, both on the job and outside.
- What motivates the applicant to take on extra training (or why they don't take the initiative).
Applicant's understanding of the enterpise and job they are applying for
Explain the product or service your company offers, its history, market strategy and how the job described fits into the overall scheme of things. Ask questions to describe how they can add value to your company.
- How much prior knowledge they have of your company, your industry and your corporate culture.
- How well they can apply their own experience to your needs.
- How well they will fit into your corporate culture.
- What contribution they will make to the overall success of the company.
- How well the applicant is able to communicate their skills and abilities into what is appropriate for your company.
- What initiative the candidate took in preparing for the interview and for a possible position with your company.
- What culture works best for them. Ask about the company culture or team environment in their previous positions and compare that to your culture.
Decision-making and creativity
One effective and interactive interviewing technique is to describe an actual situation or project that you are familiar with. Describe the situation, the goals and the people involved. Set up a dialog where as you describe the scenario and major decision points, the candidate is asked, "what you do at this point?" Let them know if they chose the answer you were seeking. Describe another decision point and ask them what they would do next. Do this with several decision points and gauge how well their responses fit with your expectations.
Understand the candidate's thinking process, their ability to think on the spot, to communicate and to think creatively. Allow them to ask questions and pay attention to what information they are using to make their decisions.
Management and leadership
You should have the person meet with some of their peer managers, some of your peers, some of the people above you and the people who will report to them before the final decision is made. This gives the candidate a better understanding of the personalities involved and gives your people a chance to be part of the hiring process. It also helps the new manager gain support before they show up for work. Strong managers and executives will ask for such meetings if you don't offer them.
- How well they understand the management function in your company
- Their leadership style and how they have produced results in other assignments
- How they interact with their direct reports, their peer managers and the company's executive team
- What additional benefits they can bring to your company (increasing productivity, increasing revenue, decreasing costs, etc.)
- How well their style will fit with your company's management style and your company culture
- How quickly they can become effective
- How well they may deal with any lingering issues left from the previous manager or executive (if appropriate).
Health and safety practices (typically for manager and supervisor positions only)
Ask about how much prior training and/or knowledge the applicant has had in SB 198 requirements (California only), ADA, workers' compensation, health care procedures and other federal or state laws.
- How an employee views their responsibilities toward the overall corporate effort to maintain a safe and healthy workplace.
- How much safety training they have had. This is particularly important for jobs that have high accident or injury rates.
- How much the applicant knows about workers' comp laws, regulations and requirements.
- Watch for minimal or inaccurate knowledge of these requirements for applicants who should be expected to remain current on these topics.
Non-work activities and interests
Ask about hobbies, civic and community efforts that might be relevant to the job. Warning: DO NOT go into areas that are unrelated to the job. Be aware of the laws regarding appropriate interview questions.
- How much energy and vitality an applicant has.
- How much leadership and organizational experience they have that contributes to their job qualifications that may be gained outside their structured work environment.
- How well they manage their time. People who have time for hobbies and community activities must manage their time well.
- How much personal satisfaction they gain from outside activities. Positively rewarding outside activities contribute to reducing stress from job pressures and contribute to a more well-rounded person.
- How well they work with various types of people in different organizations. This indicates tolerance, adaptability and maturity.
- How available the applicant is for overtime, travel and/or relocation.
- How well they are able to balance family needs with job demands. (Be careful about which questions may be asked in this category. If the applicant mentions family members, then questions may be asked).
Making the Hiring Decision
After you have done your planning, screened the applicants and interviewed job candidates, your decision to hire a person ultimately rests on your intuitive sense of whether this is the right person for the job.
Nothing can prepare you for that decision except your own experience supplemented with hard facts and discussions with the other interviewers. If you interview a lot of people, you will learn the signs that tell you a person is right. If you interview or hire infrequently, you will have to depend on less-intuitive methods and other people to help you.
Some situations may allow you to hire someone for a short-term project or through a temporary agency. This allows you and the job candidate to work together before making a longer term commitment.
If you work for a company that believes in high quality employees, you should be really enthusiastic about the person you want to hire, not just lukewarm.
Hiring someone just because you are tired of interviewing, because you don't like the process or because you are in a hurry are the worst reasons for hiring someone. Probably they won't work out and you'll have to fire them or they will quit and you will have to do it all over anyway. A bad employee is far more damaging that an empty position. You may have to rework your position requirements or change the places you advertise if you are not getting job applicants that meet your criteria.
This indispensable resource provides up-to-date salary data gathered through an extensive survey of businesses throughout the United States and Canada, plus polished job descriptions for the 73 IT positions surveyed. This proprietary information will reduce the time it takes to recruit top talent and ensure that you get the right person for each job.