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A business may start out with only one or two employees. But after some growth, it will be necessary to hire a bigger team. No matter what position I am hiring for, I use the same process. Although my hiring experience is limited in quantity, it has proven to be fairly successful.

When planning for a new hire, the first step I take is making a list of characteristics that this potential employee will posses. This has been a key component in our interviewing process and has led many successful hires.

Personally, my goal when hiring is to get as many applicants as possible. The bigger the pile, the better. To achieve this, some sort of advertising will be required, but not so much that it breaks the bank. You can use social media or more conventional methods. I have had quite a bit of success with Craigslist. The cost is minimal. I believe I paid $20 the last time we made a hire. We also have used Facebook.

Then I wait a couple of weeks from when advertising began before I start sorting through applicants. When I use Craigslist, the applicant typically responds by email, often with a job-generic resume’. I thank them for their interest and direct them an employment application specifically for the C. J. Dannemiller Co. If they do not fill it out and return it to me, I do not hire them, no matter how good they look on paper. If a job candidate will not do the very first thing I ask of them, what else won’t they do in the future?

After you have a thick pile of applicants, it is necessary to have some MINIMUM requirements for a qualified job candidate. Is education important? What about experience? How long should they have been at previous jobs? HINT: I suggest you avoid applicants who list a new job every 6 months.

I divide my applicants into 3 piles: YES, NO, MAYBE. “Yes” means I will invite them in for an interview. “No” applicants are removed from further consideration. “Maybe” candidates require further review. I recommend interviewing a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 10 for one position.

If you are struggling to narrow down your candidate list, you could conduct short phone interviews with 2 or 3 questions. This is great when hiring for a customer service position because talking on the phone is part of their job requirements. You’ll want to hear them in action. Are they pleasant? Do the use proper English? You could also ask a math question that pertains to their job. Our warehouse positions need people who can multiply.

Now, back to that list of characteristics for the perfect candidate. I use this list as a way to draft my interview questions. If one of the role’s desired characteristics is “good problem solver”, I give them a problem and ask them to solve it. Or if one of the characteristics is “honesty”, I ask them if they have ever made a mistake and how they resolved it. If a candidate claims to have never made a mistake, then I don’t hire them. Everyone makes mistakes, and the applicant probably isn’t being truthful.

When setting up the interviews, I plan on each of them taking about 20 minutes, so I schedule each meeting in 30-minute increments so I don’t feel rushed. Candidates seem to run together after I’ve interview several of them which is why it’s helpful to have two people interview and take lots of notes on everything about them. The way they look, dress, talk, and smell. These people could become part of my work family. I want to know as much about them as possible. When an interview is over, the second interviewer and I take a moment to rank the applicant, from 1-10 on how closely they match the characteristics that are important to position. We do this immediately following the interview while it is fresh in our minds. If you try this technique – do not skip this part! You will forget which person said what.

After the interviews are over, it’s time to determine who is still in the running. I use the 1 to 10 scale as a guideline for this, not an absolute. Once the candidates have been narrowed down to the top 2 or 3, I call their references, and finish with the question: “If given the opportunity to hire this person again, would you?”

From here, we offer the job to the top candidate, and create an agreement based on a trial period so either party can walk away after 60 days for any reason.

I wish you the best of luck in your own recruitment efforts. The process can be exhausting, but should never be rushed. If you’d like to exchange ideas on how to grow a good team, let’s connect.

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