Hiring for Success

Posted by on Sep 26, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Finding the right people for your business can be one of the most expensive and taxing processes your company can embark on. The amount of time and money invested in hiring just one employee can be hard on your budget (assuming you even had time to put a budget in place).

As small business owners, we are required to wear many hats of different colors. Manager, sales force, accountant, HR, CEO, janitor etc. the list never ends. So when it comes time to hiring employees, especially when one is so desperately needed, we make rash decisions and grab the first person that comes through the door without fully understanding the impact that this employee can have on your business ultimately.

Bad employees create bad business, bad business creates lost profits.

Employee turnover is a silent killer of businesses. The cost of acquiring, training and retaining an employee can be fairly high. There are a number of things to consider in the cost of employee turnover. You have to look at the cost of advertising the job. Typically an ad on the internet will run you $200 to $350 per ad for a 30 day period. Now you have the time invested in reviewing interviews which your time reviewing these is costing you money (Add the hours invested x what your time is worth per hour). Now you can add the cost of training the new employee. Depending on the person that trains them you will have to calculate the amount of hours invested to get your new employee up to speed with your business.

Add the cost of lost revenue while the employee is training and you now have thousands of dollars invested in someone who walks out the door three months later.


As business owners we have so much on our plate that we can’t neglect the signs of a bad employee decision that we have made, and we will make the same mistakes again and again. The reason being is that turnover costs are hidden. It isn’t something that an accountant can put in our profit loss statement nor can Quickbooks pick it up. Therefore it is the silent killer. How much time and money can you afford to invest in lost revenue? Below are some processes that I have learned over the years that have not only greatly reduced the amount of time I spend in the interview process but also in finding the right employee for the position I am offering.

The Resume
By asking for a resume to be submitted prior to scheduling an interview, you allow yourself the ability to sort through your potential candidates and weed out the ones that do not fit your vision of the ideal candidate. There are some quick tricks to reading resumes that can greatly reduce the amount of time you spend looking for the right candidate. Print off your resumes and give yourself plenty of room. Make a pile for Yes, No and Maybe. As you go through the resumes place them in the pile that suits them.

Look at the appearance of the resume itself. Does it look like the candidate has pride in the work he presents you? There are many programs out there on the internet that help individuals write resumes and they are free. If they do not have the initiative to increase their chances of getting the job, why hire them. The odds are against them staying with you for very long.

Now look at the work history. Does the candidate have a solid work history showing that they stay on the job for an acceptable period of time, or do they move around a lot and show very little stability? Also take note as to when their last job ended and how long they have been out of work, a gap in work doesn’t necessarily mean that they are a bad candidate but it should require further discussion.

Look at the distance the candidate lives from where he will be working. Depending on the amount of pay, if they live too far away, they may just be working to pay for fuel.

Now that you have built your piles, throw away the No pile immediately. You do not want to be tempted to second guess these. They were a “no” for a reason. Take the maybe’s and put them in a folder for later. Now all you have is the “yes” pile to work with. With a bold sharpie make sections on the resume with a line so that they can be evaluated. The sections should be as follows:

Opening Statement
Work History
Education/Other Interests

After you read each section grade it on a scale of 1-5, 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest (this will also come in handy latter). Add up the numbers and divide it by 5 and write the average at the top of the resume. Start calling the candidates with the highest average first and work your way down. Make sure that before you call each individual you have a clean prewritten phone interview sheet in front of you.

The Interview Sheet
The interview sheet will be a series of questions you ask the candidate that will tell you more about them. It should be divided into two sections, the phone interview and the live interview. Once you set this up you only have to do it once and then you can use it for every candidate you talk to.

For the phone interview you want to ask four or five open ended questions that will get the candidate to open up a little. Some of these questions could be “I see that on your resume you left your last job three months ago, can you tell me why?” or “Could you explain to me what your ideal work environment would be like?”. Create the questions that fit you best. You can go into Google and search “interview questions”, it will give you more questions than you can handle so just pick the ones that feel right to you.

Rate each answer to your questions 1 – 5.

Scheduling the Interview
When scheduling and interview with a candidate, do not leave the day and time up to them. Give them a couple of choices and ask which one would work better for them. Try to schedule two to three candidates a day and as close as you can to each other. This will save you time and keep you from having to eat up a whole day interviewing, plus it will help keep your mind fresh for the other candidates. You want to be fair to them don’t you?

The Live Interview
With your interview sheet in hand find a quiet place that you can conduct the interview. Make sure that you rate their punctuality 1-5 and the same with their appearance. Before you begin the interview, try to make the candidate more relaxed by asking some noninvasive questions that you do not grade. Like their hobbies, favorite cars, something that will help them relax a little. Offer them some water or a soda. If you can get them to laugh that is the quickest way to open them up.

You should have 15 – 20 open ended questions for your candidate that will require them to think before they answer. Make these questions important to your business and rate each one 1-5 (make sure that you have an understanding of the answer you are looking for on each question). Again there are too many questions to list. Ask questions related to your field and again you can get some great interview questions from searching Google that will help you open the candidate up.

The Interview Close
After you have interviewed the prospect thank them for their time and tell them that you will let them know within the next two to three weeks (unless you strongly felt the candidate was the perfect match for your company). I still would recommend that you see a few more prospects. You can always make a decision sooner but in the event it takes longer for some reason or other you are covered. Add up all of the grades and divide them by the number of questions on the interview sheet to get an average. Add the total average from the interview sheet and the resume and divide by 2. This gives you the overall score of your candidate.

Repeat this process with all of your “yes” candidates. Once you are finished interviewing everyone, all you need to do is look at the average of each candidate and whoever has the highest grade should be the right person for the job. If you are hiring multiple employees you still have a handful of qualified individuals.

Make sure to keep all of the “yes” and all of the “maybe” resumes in a folder for future reference. If for some reason the candidate you have hired doesn’t work out or if you decide that you need another employee in the near future you can start with those resumes and save the money you would have to invest in another ad.

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