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Smart Hiring: What Makes the Right Employee?

Good hires do not happen by accident or luck. In this economy, employers are finding a large pool of available workers. But finding the right employee for a position is still a challenge. Few managers, when asked, can describe "right." Others can't agree on what qualifies one to be qualified, at least in measurable terms.

Before hiring some, ask yourself these four critical questions.

  • What are the three to five essential have-to's for this position?

  • Are we looking for a person with great technical experience whom we then can train in our customer service process? Or are we looking for a person, with great customer service skills, whom we can train in our technology? Be crystal clear on what it takes to be successful in the position by looking at your top performers. What makes them top performers?

  • How do we know if this person has what we need?

  • People bring competencies to work just like a carpenter brings a toolbox. But not every carpenter is a craftsperson, even if he is carrying the very top-of-the-line tools. Using behavioral interviewing, assessments, or simulations can demonstrate the competency.

  • How much competence is good enough? Do we need a 10?

  • Managers make a big mistake in assuming that everyone needs to be "10" in everything. The fact is that many superstars have just average competence, while many a failed employee had a lot of 10s but one fatal flaw. Don't lose out on a good hire because he doesn't walk on water.

  • Do they have the right skill set, but the wrong personal style?

  • A candidate's personal style might indicate that an individual prefers to work alone, is highly competitive, prefers strict guidelines and compliance, is easily agitated by criticism, and is a skeptic. He may have the desire to lead but becoming competent will be a daunting task.

    Another is outgoing, enjoys working with people, exhibits a moderate level of assertiveness, is innovative, and tolerates stress well. This person's style certainly would make it easier to build rapport with and acceptance from direct reports and the management team.

    Marcia Zidle, the 'people smarts' coach, works with business leaders to quickly solve their people management headaches so they can concentrate on their #1 job ? to grow and increase profits. She offers free help through Leadership Briefing, a weekly e-newsletter with practical tips on leadership style, employee motivation, recruitment and retention and relationship management.


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