Hiring for Success: 4 Things to Seek and Avoid in a New Hire

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo ensure your next candidate is a lasting member of your team, it’s important that you know what you should search for as you filter through résumés. Here are a few things you should look for, and avoid, when going after a new hire.

I am blogging on behalf of Visa Business and received compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa’s. Visit http://facebook.com/visasmallbiz to take a look at the reinvented Facebook Page: Well Sourced by Visa Business. The Page serves as a space where small business owners can access educational resources, read success stories from other business owners, engage with peers, and find tips to help businesses run more efficiently. Every month, the Page will introduce a new theme that will focus on a topic important to a small business owner’s success. For additional tips and advice, and information about Visa’s small business solutions, follow @VisaSmallBiz and visit http://visa.com/business.

For a growing business, success largely relies on sourcing and retaining the right people. But despite the many tools now available to small business owners, many still make the costly error of hiring the wrong person. The time it takes to research and interview a wide variety of candidates in order to find the right one is well worth it if it saves a business hundreds of thousands of dollars in wasted training and lost productivity.

Consider the Job Type

Before beginning your job search, know exactly the type of personality you’re seeking. If the person will be pounding the pavement every day, rounding up sales, you’ll likely be looking for experience on the résumé, personality in the interview and, honestly, a bit of an ego. A customer service representative will need a personable, patient temperament, as well as the ability to diffuse explosive situations. But if you’re searching for someone to handle your written communications or handle your business’s day-to-day tasks, you may find the information you need in the résumé itself by looking for small errors that could indicate the person doesn’t pay attention to detail.

Because bad hires can be so costly, businesses might want to consider testing candidates prior to hiring to determine ‘fit’. Talent management company Caliper provides insight to a candidate’s personality and matches them with the exact job you are hiring for to determine if they will be a ‘good match’. Carolyn Crummey, owner of VirTasktic, used the service for years in her previous position as Director of Operations for a manufacturer’s rep firm and highly recommends small businesses make the minimal investment before hiring. “We used the Caliper testing on every hire we made, from outside sales to customer service to administration, because although we could see past experience and test for skillset, we couldn’t always determine their personality which is an intricate part of hiring the right person for the right position. The small investment we made up front to test was well worth it. It not only saved us from making a number of hiring mistakes, it also helped us develop the people we did hire because we knew where their true strengths and weaknesses were and could build off that information.”

Don’t Rush to Judgment

While experts have traditionally cautioned against hiring someone with large employment gaps or frequent job changes, in the current economy, hiring managers are seeing this much more often. Don’t dismiss these prospects outright. Instead, work to determine the reason for these employment issues to alleviate your concerns. Is this person a flight risk or is he simply looking for a chance to be a part of a startup that makes it for the long haul?

Look for Passion

Throughout the process of reviewing résumés and interviewing candidates, search for a level of passion in whatever that applicant has done in life. Whether you’re hiring HR professionals or marketing managers, you should seek someone who has a passion for the field. You can determine this by asking questions in the interview about each candidate’s past positions. If someone can’t clearly describe what he did in previous positions, consider this a red flag.

Determine Interest

One mistake employers make is assuming a job interview is a one-way process. Just as you’re screening the candidate as a good fit for your team, the candidate should be taking an interest in your organization and the job itself.  During the interview process, the applicant should show signs that he has spent time researching your company and believes in your business model. The candidate should also ask questions and appear to be determining whether your business is the right fit for him, as well as for you.

Putting the right team in place is essential to your business’s success. As you work to find the right person to add to your team, take the time to get to know prospective hires and make sure a new employee has the same passion for your growing business as you do.

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