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Recruiting Your Team

The NFL is going to be having their draft next month. They will spend thousands of dollars trying to determine who to pick in the draft. Yet, if you were to look at the success of the draft over the years, it would be shocking. Remember, Tom Brady, the greatest quarterback in history, wasn’t chosen until the 6th round. Sometimes the best players who will be the greatest assets go almost unnoticed.

For us who are building teams for our companies and businesses, hiring is a really, really important skill. However, there’s an invisible factor. You can never measure one’s heart. How can we improve on determining who should be on our team? We know that if you don’t get the right people in the right seats, your chances of reaching your goal lessen.

Here are some miscellaneous tips for hiring, from my reading, in no particular order:

  • Keep an open mind. Not every star looks like a star initially. You do want to do your research, but don’t develop predispositions and opinions about what he or she brings to the table.

  • Focus on the candidate. Check out the resume, references, and social media platforms before the interview.

  • Ease their nerves. A smile and warm welcome can go a long way. Asking about their commute, having a little conversation about how the interview will go will ease their fear and expectations.

  • Ask questions carefully. Be careful not to say anything that could appear discriminatory. Don’t pry into their personal life or previous employers. Be careful to avoid saying anything negative about anyone not present. Make your questions specific to them, such as, “Why do you think you'd be a good fit here?” “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” “What do you value in a workplace environment?” “What gets you up in the morning?” Try to ask open-ended, not “yes” or “no” questions. Ask experiential questions so they can share with you how they handled situations, etc., previously.

  • Ask behavioral questions. Behavioral questions are a great way to tap into a candidate’s potential to fit into your organization. Ask for specific examples of past performance and behavior, with questions such as “tell me about a time when you…” Previous successes are good indicators of future performances.

  • Have a conversation, not simply Q & A. Give them time to solicit information from you as the interview goes on. Talk a little bit about yourself, and enable the interviewee to do the same.

  • Do your homework ahead of time. Prepare some follow-up questions for your main questions in case they are needed for clarification.

  • Provide a welcoming environment. Make sure they know all the details about the interview (who will be there, if you are recording or taking notes, etc.). Ask them if they’d like to see your list of questions first. Thank them for coming before you even start. Be enthusiastic about meeting them and having them with you. Extend professional courtesies. Offer candidates a glass of water or cup of coffee, and ask if they had difficulty finding the place. Be on time. Consider giving them a tour of the office. Give them an opportunity to speak with other team members or prospective coworkers, if appropriate.

  • Let them talk. Don’t be rigid with your questions, but allow them to expand. You might get gold you would never find any other way. Remember, you are creating a space for them to share their story.

  • Listen—that’s not rhetorical. You must truly listen or this time is worthless. You must remain actively engaged and WANT to understand.

  • Watch nonverbal signals. Just as you’re looking for eye contact and appropriate dress, the candidate is looking for those unspoken signals from you. Be sure your tone of voice is appropriate and professional. Clearly articulate the job’s duties and the company’s mission. Dress as you normally would and pay attention to manners. You’re a representative of your company and department, so make sure your actions reflect this.

  • Be kind, engaging, and professional, but don’t get too chummy. How you relate to the person may unduly influence your choice.

  • Always follow up. It is important, courteous, and professional to let them know whether or not they got the job in a very timely way. You

You can build a great team. You need to decide that it is a skill you will build.

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