There are three big challenges facing any growing business in respect of people; the first one is to recruit the right people. The second is to integrate the right people into a team and the third one is to retain the right people.
In today’s business angel blog I will focus on the first of these challenges. I do not pretend to know all the answers but I hope to pass on the benefits of my mistakes and successes in recruiting people.
The first thing I remembered about actually interviewing someone was how nervous I was – just like when I was trying to find the best flat iron for natural hair! I then found out that most people feel very nervous about interviewing – this is normal and to be expected. The other thing is that I so wanted every person I met to succeed.
Tip no 1:
Get some interviewing practice. A great way to get this and to help someone is to do the following; Go to the local job bureau and ask for two volunteers who have been out of work for some time and need some practice in being interviewed. Explain to the volunteers that you would like to interview them so you can practice your technique and then pay them £5 for their time. You will both get lots out of it and it really is a great way for getting your confidence up.
Tip no 2:
Be clear about what you really need from someone to be able to do the job well. You will be amazed at how many companies describe junior roles (no disrespect) as something super-dooper! Why do it? Honesty is always the best policy.
Tip no 3:
Avoid the halo effect. This is the effect of meeting someone we share something in common with which may have nothing to do with the job. I remember being interviewed for a sales rep job at that one company and suddenly got talking about parachute jumps. Nothing to do with the job but you could see how the halo effect was kicking in (I got the job)
Tip no 4:
Talk openly to the person being interviewed. Relax them and just get them to open up. An interview situation is not normal – so don’t judge people by what they are like in that pressurized scenario.
Tip no 5:
Try to role play with sales people. Most companies I know need to recruit sales people – and they are notoriously difficult to get right. The problem is that sales people by definition can sell themselves – but very few of them are good at selling products or services.
It also takes at least six months before you realize that the person you hired was crap! So I have twice asked two people to work with me for a whole day (I pay them of course) and tell them that the job will go to the person who performs best. It was very revealing on both occasions.
Tip no 6:
Ask to see past appraisals on their air purifier for cigarette smoke! Some people will say no – and they have every right to. But I have always found that it is the best way to find out what someone really is like as an employee. You can always position the request to see appraisals by referring to what their employer thinks about them. If they say how wonderful are – tell them to prove it!
Imagine after the interview that you are going to be sat next to this person on a flight to Australia – could you cope?
Don’t judge people by how good the question they ask is! I find it really pointless. They are either to be judged a swat or dull – it is unfair
Finally – please do me one favor. Avoid asking ‘clever’ questions. I was once asked in an interview for a job at one place (I will name and shame!) “If you were an animal what animal would you be?” I looked back at my interviewer and asked her “What makes love like a tiger and winks?” She looked at me shocked and said “I don’t know”. I smiled at her and winked!
I finished by saying “I am sorry, but if you are going to ask me a silly question you are going to get a silly answer”
Would you have employed me with that answer?