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  • Small Business Briefcase

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    When you’ve got a position to fill for your business, you obviously want to hire someone great. But just wishing for it won’t make it happen. Learn how to conduct an effective search that will help you find the best candidate for the job.
    When you have a vacant position, ask yourself, “Do I want to simply fill the position, or do I want to truly hire a rock star, the person most qualified for the position who will do the job well and earn admiration for their work?” If your answer is to choose option B, follow this three-phase formula and use the pro tips for interviewing to select a real rock star for your business.
    • Develop the job announcement (include vision, duties, salary).
    • Place the announcement on the appropriate industry websites.
    • If it is an internal promotion, distribute the announcement. Receive and review the applications for education and experience.
    • Check references and online resources.
    • Schedule the applicants for the first round of interviews.
    • Question the applicants with structured interviewing techniques.
    • Develop and use behavioral interview questions for each round of interviews. (See sidebar for pro tips!)
    • Narrow down the applicants to the most qualified.
    • Schedule a second round of interviews with the top candidates.
    • Continue the interviews for the second round as done in the first interview.
    • Compare candidates’ experience, education and answers to the behavioral interview questions.
    • Select the most qualified person for the position.
    • Make a job offer.
    If the three-phase process for hiring a rock star seems a little too easy, you’re right. The real difference-makers are the details, namely the types of questions you ask your candidates during the interview phase.
    Don’t ask questions that require hypothetical situations, perception-oriented items or those that require you to assume something from the candidate’s answer. Opt instead for behavioral questions that target the essential functions; behavioral qualities; environmental factors; and knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) that the position requires. These kinds of questions allow you to “see” behavior based on a candidate’s answers, hence the name “behavioral.”
    Developed and used correctly, behavioral questions are the key to gaining the most accurate view of the candidate’s ability for future performance. Not sure where to start? Use these sample behavioral questions and change or supplement the specific content to fit your particular job.
    Essential Functions:
    Tell me a time in the past when you were responsible for (add your specific essential function)? Tell me about your performance and the outcome.
    This job requires you to work with chemicals (add your specific dangerous situation). Is there any reason you would be unable to perform this essential function?
    Behavioral Quality:
    (Teamwork) Tell me about your experiences in working collaboratively with a team. Who was on the team? How did you all function together? How did you play an integral part of the team?

    Tell me about the most difficult customer you encountered in your past job. Why did you see the person as difficult and what was the outcome?
    Tell me your experience in operating/using (specific machine, vehicle, software, etc.).
    Environmental Factors:
    (On call) This job requires the employee to be on call every other weekend. Is there any reason you would be unable to fulfill this essential function?
    (Stress tolerance) The position can undergo high stress during (specific time period, like tax season). Tell me a time in your past where you were under extreme stress with deadlines while excellence in quality and quantity of work were mandatory.

    The real difference-makers are the details, namely the types of questions you ask your candidates during the interview phase.

    Sharleen Smith is the Director of Continuing Education and Outreach of Troy University. She has more than 30 years of experience in organizational consulting and training. Her training includes more than 250 topics, and she has presented to more than 300,000 people at 15,000 conferences, workshops and seminars.
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