A Guide to hiring new employees – how to select the right applicants (part 1)

A Guide to hiring new employees – how to select the right applicants (part 1)

  • Tips for Entrepreneurs & Founders
  • Tips for Professionals

Unfortunately, most companies have a difficult time hiring the right employees. Most of us probably have made some bad decisions when it comes to hiring new employees. In fact, this can happen to anyone. It is simply human to make mistakes. Of course it would be nice, though, if the process of hiring could be improved. One of the most important pieces of advice currently circulating in the trade press is ‘Hire for attitude, train for skills’. You should learn to be able to distinguish the applicants who are basically looking for a job from those looking for a real purpose. The reason for this is quite simple: The ones mentioned  first will have reached their goal already  the moment they get hired or when they have successfully completed their probation period. For the others, that is actually the moment when their work really begins.  Employees with the right attitude will quickly and happily familiarize themselves with areas that are not yet well known to them. An employee, however, who already has all the required qualifications but lacks the right attitude will most likely cause you problems  and will probably disappoint you in the long run.

So what are the issues with which companies and managers struggle the most when it comes to hiring the right job applicants? One of the most common problems is the fact that you do not know exactly what kind of employee and what type of person you should be looking for. By the way, checklists with the required professional qualifications do not count in this context. Many people meet all the requirements on such checklists, yet you do not get any information out of it regarding the actual person, his/her motivation and his/her attitude towards work, the coworkers and the company in general. But how exactly do you find employees with the right attitude who are looking for a task rather than a job ?

According to the most recent studies by the Gallup Institute, the number of really motivated employees varies between 12% and 16%.  This explains rule number one: You have to go through a lot of applicants, if only every 8th is truly qualified. Do not hire the first one who meets your job requirements and looks like a nice person.  It takes a lot of time to select the right applicant.  You will notice that over time you will start to develop a gut feeling that will help you notice the subtle differences between two applicants with equal qualifications. The right choice really is a matter of practice.

So you think you do not have enough time to conduct 20 or more job interviews? Then think again and just add up the cost of a bad hiring decision with regard to salaries and gratuities, in addition to having other employees give up time to provide initial training for them. Therefore it is true: you have all the time in the world.

Furthermore, you can make your work easier for yourself by following rule number two: keep searching for new employees all the time, not just when you need them urgently.  Look for them wherever you are: at trade fairs, at vocational trainings, when networking and so on. Do collect business cards of  people you find interesting and who made a lasting impression on you.  For your next job search you can then just rely on your collection of business cards instead of having to place  some expensive ads. These have the tendency to draw the wrong kind of applicants anyway, namely those who have not yet found a new job based on personal recommendations. And here is one more pointer: If you have found someone who convinces you totally, even though you currently do not have a specific job opening for him/her: do hire the candidate anyway! The highly motivated employees who are looking for a real challenge pay off in any case, even if right now you do not exactly know how it will play out.

Therefore: Plan on having 5 job interviews per month and by doing this build up your pool of great future employees.