It’s tempting to hire quickly to fill a position, especially if you’re feeling desperate. But the end result of a bad hire can be significant and costly.
How do you avoid hiring mistakes?
1. Go beyond the resume and interview
The hiring decision should not be based solely on presentation. To hire well, you must look beyond the personality.
Many people do a great interview. People take courses in how to interview for a job that includes simple things like posture, when to nod, when to smile and even how to sit in a professional manner. And even more people hire others to create a rock-star resume’. But none of that tells you what you really need to know.
You need to know what they know. And on top of that, you must be convinced that the candidate is capable of learning what they don’t know. A resume won’t tell you that. An interview probably won’t either.
You have to go beyond a resume and interview to find the right person. To do that will require a systematic approach to uncovering what the candidate is capable of.
2. Create a system for vetting a candidate
– Consider a math test
Just because your candidate has accounting experience doesn’t necessarily mean they’re good at math. Crazy, right?
Fact is, even those with accounting experience may have weak math skills or lack the ability to be as detail-oriented as you would need them to be. And they certainly aren’t going to come out and tell you that!
To find the candidate that meets your requirements, consider devising a short test. Include old school manual calculating like, “Add these numbers manually: 7,843.21 + 489.32 + 62.54” and word problems like, “If 10 yards of yarn costs $12.16, how much does one foot of yarn cost?”
To help uncover a candidate’s attention to detail, include a comparison question like, “Which of these numbers are identical?” A short two-column list of numbers to compare will help you see if they were able to spot the differences.
Build your test questions around issues you’ve come across in the past. This may include percentage equations, number comparisons or putting lists in alphabetical and numerical order.
– Situation Test
A Situation Test gives your candidate several short scenarios with multiple-choice answers from which to select. How they answer the questions can help you understand their thinking process.
It’s to your advantage to use real case scenarios that you’ve faced within your company. As an example, consider the following test question:
You call a customer about a past due invoice. He tells you he’s filed for bankruptcy. You:
A) Tell him you’ll call him back later and then tell your manager
B) Create a payment plan
C) Obtain the file number and date of filing
D) Stop the call and notify your manager
E) Both C & D
3. Writing test
Have the candidate write a short letter. Explain the scenario to them (the client is past due on an invoice or perhaps there was an inconsistency in their order) and then let the candidate craft a letter of explanation to the customer.
While you may not even intend for this particular position to include letter writing, this will give you an idea of the candidate’s language proficiency. Whether they communicate orally or in writing, you want those who represent your company to have a command of the language.
4. Analyze the test results prior to the verbal interview
The purpose of any of these tests isn’t to gain perfect scores. The point is to assess if the candidate’s claims about her abilities appear to be accurate. But even more than that, you want to ascertain if they are teachable for the task at hand.
A new hire is an investment. It costs time – and therefore money – to bring someone up to speed for any job. And even more if you make a mistake and have to replace them. For this reason, it’s essential to find out if they think logically, if they’re able to solve problems (mathematical or situational) and if they’re able to grow from where they are at the time you talk with them.
Naturally, one has to factor in the fact that people often get nervous during job interviews. This can sway the outcome of a test or lead to an awkward meeting, which doesn’t mean the candidate isn’t right for the job. Add some gut instinct to the process and you’re more likely to end up hiring wisely.