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How do you screen new hires?

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by qwikad.com, May 6, 2020.

  1. #1
    Jeff Bezos said "I'd rather interview 50 people and not hire anyone than hire the wrong person."
    Some of you have a vast experience when it comes to hiring people. What traits are you looking for in a new candidate? Does his/her experience override their character flaws? Or are you looking for things like humility, teachability, common sense?

    Interested in hearing your feedback.
    qwikad.com, May 6, 2020 IP
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  2. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    That's a pretty common philosophy. The US has that funky "at will" thing happening but there's still a cost to getting someone into a company, inducted, running at full speed and the risk of losing intellectual property when they leave.

    Apply the same philosophy to tenants, spouses etc where the cost of a making a poor decision exceeds the cost of biding your time.

    As for traits, I imagine Bezos is looking a different personality in his executives from his warehouse workers. Even with the executives, it will differ. Your accounting team will have different characteristics from your marketing team who will be different from your IT group. Then consider the type of role - are you looking for a rock-steady admin who will do the job for years or are you looking for someone who is hungry for career growth and will bring innovations and change?

    My main client is a non-profit. One of its associations just took on a new part-time admin in a work from home role. I did an online training session with her and was really impressed by her past experience, so much so that I was wondering why she wanted the job & you'd think they'd goofed employing her. In the background, there's a burst of noise. Aaah, I think, she has little kids and they've scored big time getting someone really capable but with zero short term career goals.
    sarahk, May 6, 2020 IP
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  3. jrbiz

    jrbiz Acclaimed Member

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    Over the course of my career, I have hired, managed/coached literally hundreds and hundreds of employees (I have often thought about quantifying the actual number, but I doubt that I could come close to remembering all of them.) However, it was a very focused endeavor in that they have all been either sales, marketing, sales engineering, or customer service reps. In addition, a couple of years ago, I briefly toyed with joining Amazon in a sales management position. It did not work out, but I did go through all of their hiring process. It did not seem particularly exceptional or unique, except that they force you to read a lot about their culture and management approach and expect you to tell them how great it is. :)

    Anyway, to get back to your question: I start with a one-minute scan of the applicant's resume. For salespeople, I want to see at least two-year's experience in sales. Despite always being in companies with highly complex solutions, I am not looking for exact or even close experience in the field. I just want to be sure that they have had at least two years to experience the overwhelming negativity associated with any sales job and that they have the thick skin and gumption to handle it. Then, I need to see evidence that they have the intelligence to be trained on and understand the complex solution that they will be selling. That could involve their academic efforts or other work experiences that required intelligence to perform. Finally, if there are any typo's or resume errors that I catch in this brief review, they are finished as they have shown me that they do not have the basic sales intelligence to put their best foot forward at all times.

    The next step, if they make it, is most critical: a 20-minute phone screen. In that call, I am only looking for one thing from a sales candidate: a "fire in the belly." There are only three "fires" that I find compelling:

    A. The candidate has a strong desire to make a lot more money than they currently are making.
    B. The candidate has a strong desire to move up the corporate ladder.
    C. The candidate exhibits strong desire for both A and B. (this is the best one, of course)

    The final round of interview is in-person. Note that I do not have them do silly things like role play or take any of the bogus psychological employee tests that the various quacks out there have been promoting for decades (as an aside, I have taken everything from a ten-minute online psychology test to a 1-day, proctored battery of psychological/aptitude/skills tests and they are all total crap and BS. In fact, I have gotten really good at manipulating them to reflect what I want them to reflect on the test results.) In the meeting, I focus on their skills as a communicator: do they actually listen to me and do their responses reflect that? When I ask them an open-ended question about themselves, do they answer with a well-thought out story that is compelling? There is much more I watch for (e.g., how do they handle inevitable silence during our discussion) as the conversation progresses. These interviews generally last about 45 minutes.

    The final piece for me is how well they follow up and stay in touch throughout the hiring process. Are they persistent? Do they get back to me when I have asked them to? Do they take any initiative to stand out and be sure that they are considered? These are the types of things that tell me whether they have the skills/tools to do a good sales job.

    I expect less from marketing, sales engineers and customer service reps, of course. In those cases, I am much more interested in their past work and experience/skills. So, their resume gets a much longer look and I mostly focus on what they have done previously versus how they sell themselves to me (though I do not entirely ignore that, of course.)

    jrbiz, May 7, 2020 IP
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  4. JEET

    JEET Notable Member

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    Hiring on monthly/annual salary, and hiring on project to project basis are 2 different things.
    I hire second type, freelancers.

    When I hire, which I only do if I myself cannot do the job (photoshop work, app development work etc) then my first priority is cost.
    Being a tech person myself, I have an idea about what the job is worth, so if someone quotes too high, then that is a sure "NO".
    I was looking for app developers recently, and one group quoted 3k-4k USD for an android webview app... (20 lines of code)
    I literally laughed in their face!!! LOL

    Its not that I am willing to pay too less, but the cost a person is quoting also tells me how much the person understands the work involved.
    If they are quoting too high a price, then obviously they do not understand that its a 10 minute job, or they are trying to take me for a ride.
    Like these digital marketing guys charging 200 USD for 2-3 fb posts in a month, to keep my fb page alive... LOL

    My second priority is to figure out if they really are suitable for the work, have the knowledge.
    Like during my app developer hunt, came across another person whom I asked "What if I also want to send push notifications to my app users".
    The guy suggested me wp plugin.

    You mention the name WP in an interview with me, I'd say bye bye quicker than you could finish the sentence.

    Clearly the coder is too lazy, did not even cared to figure out how push notifications code works, wants to sell someone elses work, will not be able to handle if something goes wrong or google changes its API process.
    I did not really wanted push notifications immediately in my app, but that gave me a good idea about what the coder is made of.

    These 2 are my main priorities.
    JEET, May 7, 2020 IP
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  5. RobertJays

    RobertJays Member Premium Member

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    I put the character on the first place. One then I look to the skills.
    Logic is simple: working with someone you feel uncomfortable is hard. This applies both for me and the person I hire, of course, but the responsibility on that is mine.
    RobertJays, May 16, 2020 IP
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  6. mmerlinn

    mmerlinn Prominent Member

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    It has been two decades since I hired anyone. And to be truthful, I was a LOUSY interviewer.

    What I looked for was HONESTY. If necessary, EVERYTHING else can be taught. Without honesty, every thing falls apart throughout the organization. If the prospective employee could not consistently be on time at his previous jobs, that to me shows a tendency to STEAL, or lack of honesty. Bad mouthing others tends to show lack of responsibility, or being dishonest with oneself. Since my experience has shown that LESS than one percent of people meet my standards for honesty, I was forced to slightly lower the bar for prospective employees, sometimes to my regret.

    The written application must show attention to detail. Ignoring instructions and/or leaving blanks send up red flags that must be addressed. First impressions count. If one is not motivated enough to submit an error free application using proper English spelling and grammar, I feel he is not motivated enough to be hired. It is a waste of resources to train unmotivated people.

    About five years ago, long after no longer wanting nor needing employees, I stumbled across an interesting twist to hiring. Basically, during the in-your-face interview, ask the prospective employee the name of the LAST book he read and have him give a short synopsis of it. If he cannot do that, then on to the next applicant. Apparently, people that are READERS tend to be better employees if for no other reason than readers tend to write error free and grammar correct reports. They also tend to follow instructions better.

    Although I never thought of it until long after having employees, another thing to consider is the decision making capability of a prospective employee. NO business can afford poor decision making. Unfortunately, most, but not all, poor people are poor because of poor decisions. So, unless there is good reason, it is better to hire other people even if it means paying more to get them. One bad decision can destroy a company.

    For example, years ago one of my sister's clients needed some work done. So, on Saturday they hired some laborers. On Monday, the client wanted my sister to add those laborers to her payroll (my sister owned a labor staffing company). She told the client to have the laborers meet her face-to-face and fill out the appropriate paperwork. The laborers never showed up, so were never added to her payroll. Why? They were DEAD.

    What happened is the client hired the laborers under-the-table, then when they died on the job, tried to add them to my sister's payroll. VERY BAD DECISION for the client as it BANKRUPTED the client. Further, my sister spent millions defending herself, even though she was totally innocent. She was sued multiple times during the next ten years, and EVERY LAWSUIT WAS THROWN OUT OF COURT BY THE JUDGES. In the end, even my sister lost everything to the crooked lawyers - went from having seven offices and 200 plus employees to nothing. There was even a book written about how the crooked lawyers kept going after everyone even REMOTELY tied to the client.
    Last edited: May 16, 2020
    mmerlinn, May 16, 2020 IP
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  7. qwikad.com

    qwikad.com Illustrious Member Affiliate Manager

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    @mmerlinn what happened to your sister sounds horrific.
    qwikad.com, May 16, 2020 IP