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How to Hire the Right Person

How not to hire a dud and how to CYA if you do.

Believe it or not, at many companies it is extremely difficult to fire someone. Firing – and re-hiring – are both very expensive. It takes months of documentation to justify firing someone. This means that if you hire a crappy employee, you’re most likely stuck with a crappy employee for a long time.

People often accidentally hire crappy people because they get caught up in cliche interview questions and styles. As the same ‘ol questions and you’ll get the same ‘ol answers. Unfortunately, many mistake these rehearsed answers for a sampling of the employee’s strengths or character.

When interviewing people, I suggest managers start with the information they’re trying to uncover and work backwards from there. The information-gathering objective is the fulfilled by asking the appropriate questions.

Do you want to get a sense of someone’s initiative? Maybe instead of rolling out the expected “Name a time at work where you took initiative” you ask how they prepared for the interview. Did they check out the website? Maybe read a brochure? Or did they hunt down people at the company to get the inside scoop? Did they spend time investigating who they were interviewing with?

There are countless ways to pry at a person’s character to see what they look like raw. But you’re still going to end up with the occasional dud.

So before you make a final decision to hire anyone, do your own due diligence by collecting opinions from others. Talk to people they’ve worked with. Get them to meet with your boss and key internal stakeholders. Not only will they provide a second opinion, they’ll have a stake in the candidate’s success, if he is hired. This is a great way to spread responsibility for a bad hire.

As a hiring manager, you must remember that your candidate’s success or failure is ultimately your success or failure. You want to do everything in your power to put someone in that seat that can soar.

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