Small Employer Hiring

Small businesses are the backbone of the economy, and on average employ 1 to 10 employees. Many of these business owners have previously worked in corporations, and falsely believe they don’t need a systematic way of hiring due to their smaller size. While they may be right about not needing a formal hiring policy like a larger company, cutting corners and using subjective tools and practices will not protect them from litigation. The sad fact is that a small employer is more likely to make a hiring mistake for multiple reasons, mostly due to lack of experience in hiring. They are under the mistaken belief they can coach and motivate anyone for success. Their lack of awareness simply creates sleepless nights and unnecessary expense of hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars!

The biggest challenge? One bad hire can literally force a small enterprise to close its doors due to theft of money, data and proprietary information. Or, they incorrectly reason it won’t cost them anything to hire a straight commission salesperson, if that person is unable to sell. They don’t calculate the cost to their reputation nor the excessive marketing costs with no positive ROI. One small business owner suffered through theft of proprietary information. It cost him dearly. Instead of seeking better ways to hire people, he simply recreated the mistake by solely relying upon his gut.

Gather objective information. The more objective information you can gather up-front, the less likely you are to interview and select the wrong person. Most interviewers make their decision within the first five minutes of an interview, but spend the next thirty or sixty minutes asking questions that make no difference in changing their minds. Instead, use a structured interview format focused on experience, education and job skills. Have candidates take a skills test to determine true proficiency. Often overlooked is asking about any special requirements. Never assume they read the job posting simply because they applied for the job (e.g., if travel is involved, ask if they are available to travel and how often).

Qualified assessments. Many small employers need to broaden their perspective of what is a qualified assessment. If you’re relying upon non-qualified assessment results, its pay now or pay later in loss of clients or the employee’s unwillingness to do the required activities. Insist upon reviewing the Technical Manual for any assessment you wish to use; do not rely upon a letter from the vendor telling you it meets all federal, state and local laws. Select qualified tools in accordance with the Department of Labor Testing and Assessment 2007 guidelines (for a copy contact: JLSeibly@SeibCo.com. If you have developed one on your own, spend the millions of dollars required to ensure the validity and reliability coefficients comply with EEO (Equal Employment Opportunity), DOL (Department of Labor) and various other requirements.

Training. Since most small business owners don’t hire often, they may overlook current employment laws. Set up a written strategic hiring process and have it reviewed by legal counsel. Review it each time you hire. Take time to learn best interview practices, how to correctly use assessments and skill testing and when to conduct background checks and drug screens (states laws vary). The basic rule of thumb is stay focused on the job responsibilities along with the applicant’s ability to successfully achieve intended results.

All jobs are important! One business owner didn’t feel the receptionist position was an important job in his company. He didn’t understand it’s the client’s first impression, and often a long-lasting one! He spent 5 minutes talking with each candidate and then selected the first one he liked. He went through three employees within a month. He not only lost several clients, one top employee left in protest of his hiring practices.

Hiring Amazing Employees, 2nd Edition, is coming soon! I’ll share more information during this upcoming month.

(c)Jeannette L. Seibly, 2012  All Rights Reserved

Sharpen Your Focus — Strategic Hiring Done Right

We as business owners and executives often find hiring a painful process. Finally, the new hire starts – only to leave a few (costly) months later. We shake our heads … the person looked the part. Spoke correctly. Used the right jargon. There were even times when we realized (almost immediately) it was a bad fit and hoped s/he would leave sooner.

Some workplaces are already starting to experience difficulty finding qualified candidates. Many times this is due to companies not using up-to-date hiring practices.

The purpose of a good selection process is information gathering. When we solicit good-quality data, we are more apt to make good-quality decisions. When we start with a solid strategy and plan accordingly, we attract the right candidates. Unfortunately, we normally short-change the process, citing time and money, not realizing it actually costs us thousands to millions of dollars more!

This three-part webinar is designed for business owners and executives to help them better understand that a dependable hiring process is entirely do-able. You can do it! All it takes is solid strategy, proper tools and the right attitude.

Part 1: Let’s get down to business results!  “Today’s webinar was invaluable! Learning to focus on the right stuff will help me hire the right person. It’s just what I needed.” KM, Business Owner (after attending Part 1)

Part 2: Qualified Assessments: Detect the 90% hidden during the interview. https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/665209751

Part 3: Due Diligency — The Secrets to Hiring Success https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/947604399

Top 3 Hiring Myths for 2012

Companies are hiring again! The challenge? Despite all the tools available to help companies hire right the first time, hiring managers continue to rely upon traditional hiring practices or “flavor of the month” hiring gimmicks. Unfortunately, it costs employers thousands of dollars when hiring the wrong person for just a couple of hours! And, can cost millions of dollars when someone is unwilling or incapable of doing the job and the company loses a valuable client or top employee.

These are not new myths.  No formal scientific study was conducted. They are simply ones that have withstood the test of time during the past several decades.

Myth #1: It’s cheaper to re-invent the wheel. Many companies falsely believe they can invent their own tools to attract employees due to numerous social media sites. Yet, sole reliance on your own efforts will reduce your ability to attract qualified applicants. Designing your own applicant tracking system can cost 10x to 1000x more money than selecting a top-rated one with the features you need, like SEO (search engine optimization).  Keep in mind: Applicants will review the top three listings on page 1, skim pages 2 and 3, and not look at any other pages.  While some may argue they don’t want a lot of candidates, picking candidates from a small pool normally means settling for less than the job requires. A well-designed system will provide better applicants for less cost, and allow you to focus your efforts on the best, most likely to succeed candidates.

Myth #2: The perfect candidate exists. Perfection is an illusion. Looking for five “must have” qualities without good decision making tools is a waste of time. Currently, many of us spend less than 6 seconds skimming a resume (or searching for confidential key words); decide “yes or no” within the first 4.3 minutes of an interview; and overlook reference and background checks. How good can our decision-making process be? Top talent will bypass potential employers, if those businesses are unable to understand and follow their own selection system, or use inappropriate tools. Remember, these candidates may be your future clients, vendors and/or suppliers!

Myth #3: I’ll know the person when I meet him/her. Really? Too often we hear, “I can tell the character of a person by looking into the whites of their eyes!” Seriously? If the person does not speak the “hot buttons,” they will not be considered. Many candidates today are well-trained to tell you what you want to hear! It will not make them the right person to achieve the results required to grow your company or keep current clients. Use of qualified assessments (per Department of Labor guidelines) will reduce hiring candidates that simply don’t fit the job, or simply cannot or will not do the job! Review the Technical Manual to ensure proper use.

For additional information on how to hire right the first time: BizSavvyHire.com

For a copy of Testing and Assessment: An Employer’s Guide to Good Practices, U.S. Department of Labor contact JLSeibly@SeibCo.com

Jeannette Seibly is an international business advisor and executive consultant for privately-held companies with revenues of $1MM up to $30MM. She has created million-dollar results for 25 companies, and 3 millionaires!

©Jeannette L. Seibly 2012

Focused on the Wrong Things to Hire the Right Person?

Every boss, C-Suite and executive wants to hire the best person to achieve the best results. When the right candidate is selected, companies grow profitably. The major concern for employers during the selection process is fear – fear of hiring the wrong person. This is the hard reality: No one wants to hire someone who is a thief or can’t or simply won’t do the job. But instead of creating a process to collect the right data and make an informed decision, employers too often rely upon tiny fragments of information that are not factual or misconstrue observed behavior. When interviewers fail to follow a strategic selection processes, they are unable to sufficiently compare applicants to make the best decision (think, apples with apples).

Structured Interview: Many employers create questions that have nothing to do with the person’s actual ability to do the job. They focus on whether candidates like money, are loyal employees, want to work, are task or idea focused, etc. Savvy interviewees will tell you what you want to hear! Ask interview questions that are legal and focus on results the person has achieved. Determine the level of skill they actually possess currently, by drilling down into their responses (e.g., Tell me more. Which means?)

Assess Whole Person: Interviewers rely upon their perceptions to infer a person’s entire character. They dismiss a candidate because s/he didn’t bring a pen to the interview, or read a book or listens to music they don’t like. Traditionally we have relied upon 1/8th of the information readily available to evaluate a person’s job suitability: key words on resumes, interview savvy and reference checks. It’s time to access job fit – the 7/8th’s that is often overlooked. You can train the right person to develop needed skills.

Use qualified assessments to determine job fit. Review the Department of Labor guidelines and Technical Manual (each publisher should provide these) to determine appropriate use of any assessment. When choosing an assessment tool, do not solely rely upon a sales person’s knowledge or their attorney’s letter to determine if the tool can be used for pre-employment purposes.

Due Diligence: Use core value and job-fit assessments; background, credit and criminal checks; employment and school verifications; structured interview questions (including all the ones contained in assessment reports); and reference checks with previous employers. Follow your own system in its entirety. If your selection system and interview questions are constructed to obtain the right information and are used correctly, you will make an informed hiring decision.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2011

We Hire for Job Skills and Fire for Poor Job Fit

Many employers have taken note of Starbuck CEO Howard Schultz’s recent call for companies to create jobs and improve their own businesses. The problem is that hiring to create jobs does not necessarily improve businesses if antiquated hiring practices do not ensure good job fit!

There is a plethora of information on how to recruit, interview and hire the right person, from good strategic and sustainable business practices, to woo-woo. Many employers have relied upon traditional practices for too long. They still fail to understand the whole person they are hiring, not just the person’s alleged skill-set. If you continue to do what you’ve always done, you’ll be perpetually in the hiring-then-firing-trying-to-get-it-right loop.

Get started, now. It’s important to know your numbers. The costs of turnover, honeymoon period, and poor promotion or transfer choices can quickly off-set any tax credits. Numbers give credibility for the need to create a truly sustainable strategic hiring system. It’s important that everyone is committed to real results; it is too easy to be lured back into old habits.

Recruiting. An on-line application process will snag top talent faster than expecting them to snail-mail you a resume with cover letter. Cast a broad net to ensure you’re attracting the right candidates. Include a ten-question format to clarify their job skills, experience, education and career intentions. It will help you find those hidden gems. Do not get caught in the trap of relying solely upon key word searches or skimming applications and/or resumes. 

Interview. Train your hiring managers how to conduct legal and effective interviews. Design structured interview questions to determine a candidate’s actual skill set and experience. Do not rely upon the interview alone to make a good hiring decision. Beware. There are many well-trained interviewees who know how to tell you exactly what you want to hear.

Assessments. Use valid assessments that meet the Department of Labor requirements. They provide good, objective information that is not obtainable in interviews, or by reading a resume or application form. They provide insights into the candidate as a whole person. Use job match pattern technology to determine job fit. 

Background and Credit Checks. White collar crime is on the rise, especially since many companies do not prosecute for theft or other illegal activities. In addition to using background and credit checks, include a core value assessment as part of the on-line application process. This can help to eliminate potential hiring problems.

Employment Verification and References. Both are important to ensure all the information you’ve collected is indeed verified. Ask for professional references and call them to affirm the information submitted by the candidates. If you’ve done a careful job of collecting authentic information, there should be no surprises. 

While this may sound time consuming, documenting evidence to fire someone actually takes more time, money and energy than hiring the right person! Furthermore, the in/uh-oh/out scenario associated with this sort of turnover can sully your reputation. The right person in the right job actually helps you keep customers and grow your business, (think, make money). Having the right people also ensures you attract and keep other great employees too. Then you can truly be free to focus on improving and building your business.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2011

Employer Beware!

The economy is slowing improving. Companies are hiring again. The current challenge is finding qualified workers to hire. If we recruit those we perceive to be top performers from our vendors, suppliers or competitors, we must beware of believing they will be natural fits for our organization. Too often, it does not work out that way! 

The biggest reason? A top performer in one company does not naturally become a top performer elsewhere. When we focus on attracting them to work for us, often we will fail to follow our own strategic hiring system. And when we recruit them to resolve an issue within our company today, we are disregarding the future impact on continued relationships with our suppliers/vendors (e.g., trust between the two businesses, willingness to provide preferred price concessions, etc.). Making these exceptions to our hiring practices, just because we know/respect them or their previous employer only adds error on top of error.

Hiring from your vendors and suppliers. You may not contractually be able to hire these subcontractors or employees, depending upon the Non-Compete laws in your state. Or, if they have handled the transition with their current employer poorly, there may be cause for litigation. Having a conversation with your vendor/supplier is advisable to reduce disruption to your business and theirs. Conduct due diligence, just as you would with any other potential hire (e.g. reference checks, employment verifications, background checks, etc.). Remember, if you fail to follow your own hiring policy, or worse, do not use one, you may be hiring someone else’s problem.

Change in Working Dynamics. Just because the person worked well as a consultant, temp, or account executive doesn’t mean s/he will complete the job with the same commitment now that s/he is your employee. Unfortunately, the dynamic of the relationship has changed. Before you were the client; now you are the boss. As a boss, you may treat outside people differently than you treat your own employees. Also, the newly hired person may have a negative attitude towards authority that was controlled since you were not his/her boss. A similar dynamic may become evident with co-workers. The newly hired person may have disliked or not respected those who have now become his/her new co-workers. These concerns can no longer be ignored for the sake of completing a project since this person is now part of your workforce.

Hiring from your competitors. They may look good on paper. However, do they possess the thinking style, core behaviors and occupational interests that fit into your culture? The grass is greener syndrome can negatively impact those employees jumping ship simply looking for more money, different job duties, etc. Again! Follow a strategic and sustainable hiring system regardless of who the job candidate is or how well you may know her/him. Job fit is essential! You will always do better with more objective data than without it (e.g., use of core value assessments, job fit technology and skills testing).

©Jeannette Seibly, 2011

How do the top performers help profits grow exponentially? Hire the Best: Grow the Best Business  Join us 6/29/2011 https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/878372153

NOW is the time – keep key employees!

The economy is getting better. Do you realize your top talent most likely has “feelers” out to see what other opportunities may be available? As a smaller employer this can have a detrimental effect on your bottom line. As we go from an employer market (more available people than jobs) to an employee market (more jobs than qualified employees), NOW is the time to review and update your strategies for hiring and/or retaining that top talent!

Identify top talent. Use scientifically validated assessments to hire, coach and motivate them. If you use “performance matching” you will also be able to find others who are top performers who might be hiding out internally or externally. This process prevents you from falling for verbally astute people who can talk themselves into the job, but have no real interest or talent to perform well. It saves you from hiring someone who may have an amazing portfolio or strong experience, but would never truly fit within your company culture.

Involve top personnel. Engage top performers with memberships and participation in community and trade association meetings or activities. Encourage them to serve on community and trade association boards. This is a great opportunity for these strong employees to learn additional leadership skills and become known. It also promotes your company in a positive light.

Establish compelling goals. One goal may be to obtain a degree or MBA. Another goal may be to place strongest employees on projects that will build their skills and awareness of leading edge issues. Make them team leaders responsible for resolving ongoing internal issues. The key is to have them learn how to work with and through others to achieve results! Or assign them projects to manage and deliver results on-time and within budget. Let them know you expect unprecedented results.

Give useful feedback. Using a validated 360-degree tool can help personnel understand their strengths and weaknesses from others’ perspectives. The key is to keep the questions focused on the talents each person possesses. A good tool will also provide additional training and coaching information for employees to use in leadership skills development. Remember to follow-up in six months to determine areas for continued improvement and to acknowledge successes.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2011

Want to hire top talent? They are more astute than ever before, and are screening potential employers even as you are screening them! Get on the winning track. Hiring Amazing Employees, an eBook, is now available!   http://smarthiringmadeeasy.wordpress.com/book-hiring-amazing-employees/

Onboarding Dilemma – The Boss!

As bosses, we get excited when we’ve finally filled a position. We feel our job is done. It’s up to them to be successful. Sink or swim. The problem? Even the best of hires can struggle to acclimate to a new environment without the help and support of their boss. 

Onboarding is an extension of the hiring and selection process, which can help ensure a person’s success. A well designed system provides the new hire with an informal and formal approach to learn about their job responsibilities, how to navigate the company culture, and how to interact effectively with their new co-workers, management and customers. While formal programs are easy to put together, it’s the informal ones, which are often the deciding factor, that are challenging. Bosses need to provide proper mentoring (and coaching) options for success. Failure to do so usually means career derailment for both of them.

Hire the right person first time around. No system or boss can fix a person who does not fit the job. Use a hiring and selection system that includes scientifically validated assessment tools. These objective tools take the mystery out of why some people are natural fits for their job responsibilities. It calibrates true willingness to acquire interpersonal, technical, mechanical, enterprising, sales and/or the financial savvy required. These same tools indicate why a new hire may need additional training that you may – or may not – have planned on providing!

Manage the Honeymoon Period. Typically all new hires have an initial period when everything goes well. Then they hit the proverbial wall. The honeymoon’s over.  As the boss, you must coach them through the issue(s). Set them up for success by providing specific written results that are expected to be achieved within the first couple of weeks.  Outline success indicators to show they are on track. Expand intended results for their first quarter on the job, six months, and one year.  Use of a 360-degree tool can also provide additional insights.

Start this Onboarding process on day one of the job. Reiterate what you’ve already said in the hiring interview. New hires may have forgotten key information, or find that their perception wasn’t what you intended. NOW, is the time to get on the same page!

Listen and Learn.  The key to successful onboarding is for new hires to listen more than talk! It’s important they learn from different people and ask the same questions of other employees, co-workers, and management. Don’t forget to include vendors and suppliers. The new hire should not offer opinions during this process, but rather, privately offer recommendations to you at first. This will provide you both an opportunity to learn from one another. As the boss, you can help them successfully navigate the corporate structure and learn how to work with and through others to develop successful solutions and relationships within your organization.

Pay particular attention if they seem to believe they already understand how to effectively use your company systems. Just because it worked somewhere else doesn’t mean it will work the same way here. Be sure to check in daily for the first couple of weeks to ensure positive progress is being made. Then, if all is going well, extend check-in’s to once a week.

Provide a mentor or coach. This is a great way to help new people ask questions that can be held in confidence. These same questions, asked of co-workers could inadvertently sabotage the new hire’s success.  Be vigilant with   new hires who repeatedly find convenient excuses for not meeting with their mentor (or coach). Watch for problems brewing, before they become major issues. Understand new employees can sabotage themselves by not incorporating suggestions or relying upon their experiences and idealistic ideas of how things “should” work. This limited, often erroneous perspective, can get in the way of their success within your company. As their boss, schedule time to have “come down to reality” conversations. Remember, you are their key to success, or career derailment.

 

©Jeannette Seibly, 2010

Job Fit Essentials

It’s a blessing when employees (and bosses) enjoy great-fit jobs. Because they fit, these people make significant contributions to the success of the organization. They experience very high levels of job satisfaction and loyalty. There is a synergy of ideas and working relationships that excel beyond the norm. Sales increase. Customers experience higher satisfaction working with the company.

What is the primary reason we don’t naturally find these valued employees? We rely upon traditional methods and then rationalize hiring failures as “not our fault.” We accept mistakes as part of the norm. We fail to create and follow a hiring and selection system that provides sustainable results. The fact is, a business is often better off leaving an “empty seat” rather than randomly filling the position with someone not suited to the job.

Hire the right person. We are often snookered by verbally adept candidates. We fall into this trap when someone has the ability to sell themselves, whether they possess true interest or the capability to do the job well or not. Studies show, poor job fit produces unhappy workers. Those who are unhappy in their work create miscommunication, make more mistakes, fail to focus on critical elements, and blame others for their inability to produce required results. They are overly focused on things that don’t matter rather than job performance.

Understand the Financial Impact. Hiring people who do not fit your job requirements and your company’s culture will cost you time and money. They may even irrevocably damage your reputation. The wrong person can actually increase your business and product liability.  Unfortunately, there is no line item on your financial statement about this costly process. But if you analyze the true expenses, tangible and intangible, you’ll be shocked and dismayed by these hidden costs. (Contact JLSeibly@gmail.com for the Cost Hiring Calculator)  Use this data as cost justification to build a legal, cost effective system.

Select the right tools. Develop a selection process built upon gathering reliable, valid, relevant information. This can be a challenge since we consider using scientifically designed assessments as costly, and not as important as our gut feelings. The added falsehood is that we believe we can coach, train and motivate anyone to do anything.

Select assessment tools that meet DOL guidelines, and provide information regarding how well their mental engine, their ability to drive the engine, and their interest in doing so, fit within your company, for this specific job. (SEE http://SmartHiringMadeEasy.wordpress.com)

Train the interviewers. Regrettably, poorly trained interviewers will rely upon their intuition and perceptions, and will hear what they want to hear. They don’t catch or ignore conflicting signals. They miss the fact that job candidates say all the right things, and make the right type of promises. Use a structured interview process to discern candidates’ depth of job skill. Implement qualified and scientific assessments that contain interview questions. These behaviorally based questions provide a structure to ascertain reliable job fit.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2010

Warren Buffet had it right:

“In looking for someone to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. But the most important is integrity, because if they don’t have that, the other two qualities, intelligence and energy, are going to kill you.”

He went on to summarize his lesson: “When you hire someone to run your business, you are entrusting him or her with the piggy bank. If these people are smart and hardworking, they are going to make you a lot of money, but it they aren’t honest, they will find lots of clever ways to make all your money theirs.”

Consider these facts:

In retail: Employee theft is estimated to be responsible for 47% of store inventory shrinkage.That ‘s over 17 billion dollars per year! Employee dishonesty is the greatest single threat to profitability at the store level.

It’s not all money and goods: A recent national survey found that 59 percent of employees who quit or were laid off or terminated in the last 12 months admitted to stealing company data, and 67 percent admitted to using their former employer’s confidential information to find a new job.

Banks and Credit Unions: The banking industry reports losses of over one billion dollars annually because of employee theft, greater than the amount taken in bank robberies many times over.

Lots of ways to do it: Faking on-the-job injuries for compensation, taking merchandise, stealing small sums of cash, forging or destroying receipts, shipping and billing scams, putting fictitious employees on payroll, and falsifying expense records.

Across business types: Security experts predict that up to 30 percent of the nation’s workers will steal at some time in their career. Difficult economic times, lack of salary increases and the threats of downsizing and cutbacks make it even more tempting for employees to help themselves.

This threatens your existence!  It is not unusual for a small business to be bankrupted by one employee’s theft . The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners reports that small businesses suffered a median loss of $100,000!

You just won’t know: On average, it takes 18 months for an employer to catch an employee who is stealing.

How can you protect your business?

As devastating as these possible losses are, two simple and inexpensive processes, inserted in your hiring system, can dramatically reduce the possibility that you will experience them:

Perform background checks before you hire. While background checking is far from flawless, it’s a valuable tool to learn about past problems and possible risks–and it doesn’t cost much!

Use an honesty-integrity assessment. A valid, predictive honesty-integrity assessment will help you avoid hiring someone likely to cause you this kind of problem–again, it doesn’t cost much!

Combine these two tools to help protect yourself from mostly preventable business disasters!

To learn more about using background checking and honesty-integrity assessments in your hiring process:   Contact JLSeibly@gmail.com. We’ll show you the tools, explain the low costs and high benefits, show you real-life examples of how they work, and arrange a demonstration, if you like!

Written by John W. Howard, PhD

Sources of statistics

Contact us for further information:

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