Wednesday, July 28, 2010

5 Tips for Avoiding Hiring Mistakes

Sally was pumped! She had just finished interviewing Callie for an open service provider position within her salon and spa. Sally was so relieved to have someone actually show up when expected. Callie dressed professionally and seemed to be someone who walked her talk. There was only one time during the entire interview where the proverbial warning bell went off in Sally’s mind and she was thrown off guard. Callie had said something that was just…off, and for an instant the hair on the back of Sally’s neck stood up. Sally quickly disregarded her gut and focused on all the right things that were occurring. After all, she was better than most candidates, and it was only one tiny issue with her previous boss. Sally shrugged it off justifying that Callie probably had a good reason to foster hostility toward her previous owner. Sally just seemed to click with Callie. She was exuberant, outgoing and eager. Definitely something that Sally had been looking for in a new hire. By mid way through the interview Sally had made up her mind, brushed all negativity and warning away, and offered Callie the job. To her delight Callie immediately accepted. Sally had another client waiting so she quickly reviewed the logistics regarding her first day. Sally told Callie not to worry about paperwork they would get to that once she started. They shook hands and both were eager for Callie to start.

The scenario above is carried out on a daily basis in salons and spas all across the country. The players, position and details may change but the overall – quick to hire – mentality does not. Hiring processes seem to be something that is commonly ignored, especially when desperation sets in and just hiring a ‘warm body’ becomes the priority. Ignoring warning signs and making hiring decisions without careful reflection and process can cause a ripple effect within the business. Below are five tips for avoiding hiring mistakes:

1. Be prepared: Each year, during your planning time, project revenue as well as the number of team members necessary to reach your revenue goals. Doing so will have you forecasting when you will need to add additional team members. This forward thinking will help form your recruiting plan.
2. Think ‘type’: What type of new hire are you looking for? How much experience? What position are you looking to fill? What types of qualities and skills must they have? How many hours must they work? Answering these questions will help you sift through applicants quickly and focus on only those who will fill your needs.
3. Interview ‘right’: I’ve found over the years that the longer you spend ‘dating’ the longer the relationship lasts. In other words, take your time. Three to four interviews are not uncommon. Involve other team members in the interview process. They will ask the questions that you never would and truly be able to tell if the candidate will fit in your culture.
4. Check references: It is amazing to me how often this is skipped. Calling references is a great opportunity for you to find out how peers, past bosses and friends view as your candidates strengths and underdeveloped strengths. Look for common responses, do they match your interpretations.
5. Listen to the ‘whisper’: In an interview, when asked what would she do differently, Oprah Winfrey responded, “I would have listened to the whisper”. Your intuition is often a good barometer for what could be potential problems. Don’t pass off that feeling. Investigate, talk about your concerns and ultimately if it doesn’t feel right it is a good indication that it won’t go right!
Remember, at the end of the day, a new candidate is being welcomed into your culture. You want them to succeed and they want to succeed. If the fit isn’t right from day one it more than likely won’t be right at day 120. Good luck.

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