- Business Coaching
- Become a Coach
- Executive Coaching
- Products & Services
- Find a Coach
- Business Tools
- Coaching Blog
Business Coaching Challenge of the Week: Coaching a Business on Hiring a New Employee
June 16, 2010 — Anonymous
You've done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination. --Ralph Marston
Welcome to the FocalPoint Business Coaching Challenge! This week’s challenge is:
“Coaching a business on hiring a new employee.”
The topic will be led by Brian Tracy Certified Business Coaches Kelly Laverty from Calgary, Alberta and Lee Richardson from Fort Mill, South Carolina.
First up is Kelly Laverty.
Kelly Laverty has had a very successful career spanning over 30 years, many of them with leading international corporations. He has built and developed teams of all sizes and at all levels of management.
As a Business Performance Coach, Kelly assists business owners and leaders with achieving their goals higher than they ever expected, faster than they ever imagined possible.
“One of the key elements that I assist my clients with is ensuring their business is running as efficiently as possible. The performance and status of their staff is, of course, a critical component to efficiency. Consequently, I address the topic of hiring a new employee quite often.
“The need for a new employee is generally brought about by one of the following reasons;
- The organization’s orders are growing at a rapid rate and output is not meeting demand placed on it by their customers.
- The productivity of the organization is below what the entrepreneur/business leader would expect.
- The organization’s business has evolved to a point where the skill sets of the existing staff is no longer to meet the demands of the business – staff members may have to be replaced.
- Natural attrition in a business has resulted in position(s) being unstaffed and replacements being necessary.
“When one of the conditions above exists, it may appear that a new employee is needed but, before actually proceeding with the hire, I counsel my clients to consider:
- If the need to bring in a new employee is driven by increased order activity, is that increase projected to continue for the foreseeable future?
- What is the current financial status of the business – do they have the cash flow to hire a new employee now and is the cash flow projected to be sustainable over the next 3-6 months?
- Is the position absolutely necessary or can it be filled on a temporary basis? Alternatively, can the responsibilities be absorbed elsewhere in the organization?
- Can an existing employee be re-trained to assume the responsibilities?
“Once we have concluded that the answers to these questions support the need to hire a new employee, I advise my clients to proceed cautiously in order to ensure the most suitable candidate is selected.
“The clear goal for my client now becomes: Hire someone who can provide real value very quickly to the organization and maximize the return on the investment.”
“This goal can be achieved by adhering o the following steps in the process:
- Develop a clear but concise job profile that identifies the key roles and responsibilities of the position.
- Be very specific in identifying the hard skills and experience that are necessary to fill this position.
- Determine the sources that will be used to attract possible candidates for the position. Clients are reminded that many sources may attract unsuitable candidates which will extend the period required by the manager to review resumes.
- Identify the “soft” skills and personal characteristics that the candidate must exhibit should they wish to be hired. This is a critical step for my client to consider because if candidates don’t meet the criteria it can adversely impact the chemistry in the rest of the organization which could be detrimental to achieving the business’s goals and objectives.
- Once resumes are received and filtered, I encourage my clients to create an interview questionnaire to ensure that they ask all candidates the same questions when being interviewed. This allows for a more objective means to assess the interview process.
- Clients are recommended to create real business-like situations/problems for the candidate to respond to.
- One technique that I suggest to my clients is that they include a non-traditional type question or two (e.g. what was the last book you read or what’s your idea of a good vacation) for the interview. These will provide some insights to the candidate’s interests outside of work.
- Once a candidate is selected, it is suggested that prior to making a job offer of any type, references MUST be checked and verified. I advise clients that references provided by the candidates are “friendly” with the candidate so questions of the reference must be probing and thorough.
- It is then recommended that new employees be hired with a probationary period. An unsuitable fit can be terminated with little obligation by my client.
“Many organizations proclaim that their people are their strongest assets but few truly practice it. If they wish to live by this theory, hiring the right employees is the first step in getting the assets that you can count on for the long term.
Thanks Kelly! Next up is Lee Richardson.
Lee Richardson has over 25 years of experience leading organizations from 100 employees to over 750 employees. His career has spanned five industries and taken him from the Southeast to Alaska and back twice. He and his family reside in the Charlotte Area.
“One of the most common questions I’m asked by the owners of growing businesses is: “When do I hire a new employee?”
"The answer is both simple and complex, but boils down to a simple concept:
"You hire a new employee when their wages, cost to train them and set them up still gives a you a reasonable return on the investment.
"This return can be on their time and production, your time and production, or the time and production of your other team members.
"I generally encourage my clients to hire slowly.
"What I mean by hire slowly is to take the time to make sure the position(s) are truly needed. If you don’t plan the expansion of your headcount, you may see falling production and find yourself in the unwelcome spot of having to reduce your headcount when the need has passed. A staff reduction creates negative emotions that no workgroup needs.
"Once we’ve made the decision that it is time to hire, the next question comes quickly. “How do I hire the right employee?”
"There are many systems that have been devised, but after hiring literally thousands of employees, I can tell you that it is not a perfect science.
"Resumes are one of the most frequently exaggerated/ falsified documents in the world.
"Also, people can learn to be excellent actors in interviews.
"Good practices can dramatically improve your odds of making the right hire. Here are the steps that I have used to build several excellent teams:
- Identify the job that you want done in detail. Write the job description.
- Unless it is technical, focus on the characteristics that you want your team to exhibit.
- Identify “must haves” and “nice to haves.” Use some common sense. If the new employee will drive a company vehicle a driver’s license and good driving record is a must. If they will be handling money, you want a clean credit report and a clean criminal record. These are “must haves,” experience on your company’s software may be a “nice to have.”
- Use resumes to screen candidates that have quantifiable “must haves.” These should be objective qualifications like a four year degree or specific skills.
- Interview several times in several circumstances. Put them in different situations: have coffee; have lunch; have a formal in-office interview watch how they interact.
- Have several people interview the candidate. The people that will be managing and working with these people can have amazing insights. (Be sure to do some basic training on what can and cannot be asked. You don’t need a discrimination lawsuit.)
- Ask for specific examples of skills. Get real examples of how they responded in situations that they will face in their daily duties. Don’t settle for theory. If they give you the “Well, I think I would do …,” ask the question again and ask for a real example.
- Watch for reasons not to hire. Small things will become big when you have to live with them. If a trusted member of your team doesn’t feel good about them, don’t make the hire.
- Reference checks are a must. Before you make an offer, check their references and former employers. Most candidates are smart enough to stack the references by using people that will say good things. I have been surprised. Check the former employers too, most people are honest about this, but I have seen a few companies pay huge prices for skipping this step. Background checks and motor vehicle record checks are a must for positions that should have them.
- Be sure you comply with all of the state and federal laws.
"In small companies, it is critical to consider “fit”. One person can destroy the peace and harmony of a small workgroup.
"When your team is solid they reflect the values that you want in your company, you get to see them develop in their skills and success. The success of your team is one of the greatest rewards of being a leader. By the way, when your team is successful, so is your business and so are you!
So now it’s your turn! Share some of your ideas about the hiring process – do you have any experiences or examples to add? Give us your two-bits!