21 Questions to Rate Your Hiring Process

21 Questions to Rate Your Hiring Process

It’s a candidates’ market … 50-90% of small businesses report “few or no qualified applicants” apply to their advertising [NFIB December 2018].

Yes we get it– highest employment in the US in decades, lowest unemployment rates, 30 million shortage in skilled workers.

That means that you have to adapt to the current economic realities AND compete with larger employers with your hiring practices. 

It is highly likely that your recruiting and selection process is not adapted to the attract and convert many potential applicants into a few qualified candidates.

Here are 21 questions you can use to compare your hiring process to the best practices of mid-size and big employers:

Quick Self Review of Your Recruiting & Selection System [hint, the best answer is YES to every one]

  1. We have 10+ qualified applicants when we run post a job
  2. We continually recruit for entry job to build a future bench
  3. We have tried all the free and low-cost job boards that are relevant to our industry/ area
  4. Our job postings include minimum qualifications and appealing / realistic details about the job and company
  5. We direct job postings to a single Jobs page that shows our key job roles, company info, and starts the application process
  6. Applications are saved to a central folder, archived for 2 years
  7. We track the source of applicants and evaluate cost vs value
  8. We have a simple way to track each applicant and their last stage in the selection process
  9. We easily screen out unqualified or low-interest applicants
  10. Our administrative team is responsible for initial candidate communication and screening based on establish criteria and respond promptly to applicants and inquiries
  11. We have a short online application for people without a resume or for a “quick application” with further info requests
  12. We have a single “jobs” email for inbound and outbound candidate communication
  13. We have standard candidate communication templates based on the stage in the selection process
  14. We contact candidates for a consistent phone interview prior to inviting to a personal / first interview
  15. We have a simple skill test that is easy to administer in the application process before first interview
  16. We have standard and competency-based interview questions prepared for the first interview and spend at least 60 minutes with qualified candidates
  17. When relevant for the job, we conduct a criminal background check, drug screen or medical exam
  18. We have qualified candidates to do a “realistic job preview” with another employee, or demonstration / role play
  19. We ask candidates to set up 3 references calls to contacts at work numbers
  20. We use personality / attitude assessments to determine job fit
  21. The future manager is involved in the final selection process

If you need qualified People to maintain and grow your business in — you need to adapt quickly in this new hiring environment.

The companies with 100+ employees have the HR team and time to devote to poaching your employees as well as finding qualified applicants. 

11 Common mistakes in your recruiting practices

11 Common mistakes in your recruiting practices

  1. Description is too short or BORING– if it sounds corporate or not interesting most people will not apply
  2. Not tracking and evaluating your results (such as measuring your cost per application /candidate by paid advertising source)
  3. Posting your jobs with the same ad at the same sites as you did last year (without researching the “competition” and updating the title/ description to be found and stand out)
  4. Using national job posting sites when a local site might provide fewer better applicants
  5. Sending applications to a specific person’s email (less professional and easy to get lost or have a slow response)
  6. Providing limited or no information about your company (except “good pay and benefits”)
  7. Including qualifications that are nice to have but not essential (degrees, certifications, specific/ industry experience, provide their own tools, work Saturdays)
  8. Sending applicants to an initial application method that takes more than 3 minutes and is easy to do on a phone (on paper, too long, multiple clicks to start the application, confusing or just plain ugly)
  9. Not responding immediately with an email confirmation that includes more details about the job and company
  10.  Being satisfied with less than 10 applicants worth a call when you post a job
  11.  Treating recruiting like an event and running an “ad” when someone quits, rather than running continual advertisements in your proven sites year-round to build a “virtual bench”

Ideally you should conduct a “user experience” audit at least every 6 months or when you have a key position to fill.

Click through all the pages and fill out the forms and see what works great, what is broken, what is frustrating, and think about the messages you are sending to prospective candidates.

With such a tight labor market, you can’t afford to alienate the good prospects.

If you need qualified People to maintain and grow your business in 2019– you need to believe that applicants are your “customer” too and market your job opportunites with as much effort as you do your customer sales process.

Ideally you should conduct a “user experience” audit at least every 6 months or when you have a key position to fill.

Click through all the pages and fill out the forms and see what works great, what is broken, what is frustrating, and think about the messages you are sending to prospective candidates. 

With such a tight labor market, you can’t afford to alienate the good prospects.

If you need qualified People to maintain and grow your business in 2019– you need to believe that applicants are your “customer” too and market your job opportunities with as much effort as you do your customer sales process.

Do you have the Right People in the Right Jobs?

Do you have the Right People in the Right Jobs?

Last week I had similar conversations with owners at two very different businesses. I asked them:

“Do you have Right People… in the Right Job?” 

If you have been in business for a few years, you start to realize that getting new customers isn’t the challenging,
getting “good people” who want to take care of your customers is far more challenging!

Before I tell you how to build a great team…

Let me ask you, “How many A- Players do you have?” 
[Those that go above and beyond your expectations, are trusted, accountable and a good team player, open to feedback, eager to learn….]

If you have more than 25% A-Players, congratulations, you are in an elite group of small businesses! This is the foundation to build the rest of your team.

But until you get to +75% A Players, you don’t have the foundation in place to grow your revenue, profits, and customer
base without overwork and overwhelm.

When you don’t have the Right People: 

Without a team of A Players, you are captive in your business, involved in daily activities, fire-fighting, and are the only one who drives results. You may feel hostage to the low performer or toxic employee, for fear they will make trouble or quit and leave you hanging. You worry that things are falling through the cracks, you chase people down to find out if something was done, and you get interrupted all day long with questions and “checking” routine decisions. You feel like you can’t leave for more than a few days, and you pay for it when you go on vacation.

When you have the Right People, sometimes they are not all in the Right Jobs: 

Perhaps you have promoted a good employee to a new role, but she is struggling adapting to the new demands. You hired a new employee who seemed like a perfect fit, but he is not working out as expected. “Old-timers” are slow to adopt new ways of doing things and resist changes you want to make. You are frustrated with young employees who learn fast but leave in a year or two because they say you don’t have any future opportunities for them.

If any of these situations sound familiar, you are not alone! 

Most of us focus on hiring A Players to help us achieve our company goals, but once they are on the team we don’t give them the tools to be successful or reach their potential.

For our current staff, we are not sure how to build up their capabilities and performance. They have settled into the
habit of “good enough” and the status quo.

You are left wondering how to light a fire under the average Josie, and how to turn around the performance or attitude
of your most challenging employees.

You don’t want to be the bad guy or the witch, your attempts at coaching have not worked, and it is just easier to
tolerate mediocrity or do the work yourself. Or worse, your best people keep picking up the slack, but they may be
reaching burn-out or are frustrated with you.

The Promise 
If you wonder how some businesses seem to be easy to work with and have a great team, they have the Right People in the
Right Jobs.

When you have this, your trusted team works together to make good decisions (good for the customer and good for the
business).

You don’t have to oversee every sale and every customer, yet you are confident that things are being done right and
customers are happy. You have a sense of control, and trust that the business on target for healthy growth.

The team initiates and implements process improvements, for fewer hassles and more sales without working harder. This
allows you to finally take time off guilt-free and worry-free.

The Model 

This concept is credited to Jim Collins who wrote about this in his book “Good to Great.”
1. Define the Right Things
2. Evaluate if you have the Right People
3. Ensure work is Done Right

You can read more in my detailed guide, Building Your Team, Right People…Right Jobs. Click here or below to download.

 

 

8 Reasons You Don’t Have a Reliable Team

8 Reasons You Don’t Have a Reliable Team

The (busy) life of a small business owner

When you started (or joined) your business, you did a lot of work yourself. As the business grew, you added staff to take care of the daily “work” yet you never seem able to get yourself out of everyday responsibilities.

Your days are busy but progress is slow, and you go home feeling like you didn’t accomplish anything. A 40-hour week seems like a luxury.

You would like more free time, but you are afraid to leave since problems surface and you “pay for it” when you come back.

You have a big list of ideas to improve your business, but these never seem to get started [much less finished].

The cycle repeats

You might even have hired someone new to take some of your workload, or started “delegating” some of your work to others.

But despite your best efforts and good intentions, your to-do list is long and your days are filled with endless calls, meetings, and requests that eat up your time.

Or someone recently quit, leaving you and the team hanging. Now you spend your precious time interviewing and training the new person (which you hate), and then catch up for the lost time.

Frustrating, isn’t it?

It’s an endless cycle. Every Monday you start out with big plans for the week, only to leave Friday with not much progress to show for all your hard work. Some days you feel so burnt out and overwhelmed, you think about exiting the business.

And deep down you know this can’t be the way to grow your business.

What could be the cause? Why are you doing so much in your business?

Because you don’t have the team you need to support you—a trusted, reliable team.

If you did, you would be comfortable letting them handle the daily activities.

You would be confident that they are doing a great job: growing sales, caring for your customers, making great decisions, while keep you updated on progress and achieving your ambitious business goals.

So let’s explore some possible reasons you don’t have a reliable team.

Reason 1: You are under-staffed

Sometimes you truly don’t have enough staff to cover the work to care for your current client base. People are spread thin and are just trying to keep their heads above the water. Obviously if everyone is handling a high workload, it’s hard for you to be confident everything is being done well.

Perhaps you just added a burst of new customers, or you have a seasonal bump in demand, or you are in the process of training a newbie.
Teams under pressure, overworked, and stressed are notorious unreliable.

You may think hiring is the answer, but it isn’t always the best solution to start.

When you address the other reasons (below), this usually increase the effectiveness, capacity, and therefore the reliability of your current team.

Reason 2: You have low performers

You likely have at least one person who is not performing well.

It might be someone whose job changed but their skills didn’t keep up, or they are struggling with the workload or an aspect of the job, or they are slow in taking on new responsibility. They might have inconsistent output, working hard some weeks and slacking off others.

You tried feedback, coaching, or training with short-lived improvement.

When someone on the team has sub-par performance, of course you don’t feel you can rely on him or her.

Reason 3: You have people with attitude issues

Sometimes you have people who do an adequate job, but it comes at a price. They give you or co-workers a hard time, grumbling and complaining when you assign work or ask for a status update. They might be toxic to peers, openly difficult to their supervisor, or continually resist change.

Just like the low performers, Debbie Downer and Toxic Theo aren’t your go-to people either. They may do the work (if you are willing to put up with the negativity), but it’s a good possibility they may not do the work well.

When you avoid performance correcting conversations with low performers or those with attitude issues you are not building a reliable team.

What most managers do is “reward” unreliable people by taking work and giving it to a more competent high performer. A great solution? No, but you would rather give work to the reliable. So you are stuck in this “catch-22.”

Both these types of employees drag down the reliability of your team, lower your confidence that everything is under control. Because it isn’t under control.

Even more importantly, “unreliable co-workers” is a main reason top performers quit, so ignoring these issues can force out your reliable ones!

Reason 4: Your “open door” has a line of people asking for help

When you let people pop on by to run things by you, you are enabling “problem bringers” instead of developing “problem solvers.”
“Hey boss, what do you want me to do about this? Mr Z called and wants to know what is happening with the new thing” These continual interruptions fill up your day, and distract your ability to focus on anything else.

Remember the biblical parable about “teach a man to fish, and he eats for a lifetime”? It’s the same for decision making.
When you are the source of problem solving you also become responsible for the decision, and enables a co-dependence on your input and guidance.

If you can’t rely on your staff to make good decisions without you, you will be chained to the office, worry when you are not there and be called 10 times on your vacation.

Reason 5: Your process is broken

Sometimes it’s not the people who are unreliable, it’s the process itself that causes problems, delays and customer issues.

If there are 5 people who are involved in the process to convert a proposal to delivery of a new sale, there are at least 5 places where the handoff can be incomplete or inaccurate or dropped entirely.

Sometimes your people are doing their best struggling through the convoluted and flawed process. To improve the human-side of reliability, check the underlying system.

If your good performers sometimes have issues with reliability, it might make sense to look at the work flow for effectiveness and efficiency.

Reason 6: You resist delegating

Hey, I get it. You need to trust first before you delegate.

If you can’t be sure the work will be done timely and accurately, you keep control of that task yourself. Even if it is boring or you hate the task.

I find that owners I work with have two main reason they don’t delegate.

One reason is the “it’s easier to do it myself” syndrome. Yes, it will take 20 minutes to show someone once to do this 10 minute task, but remember it’s 10 minutes every week (=500 minutes a year, 8+ hours.) So consider your time investment choices carefully.

The other reason is that a prior delegation was a disaster or just a big pain. You had to chase the person down for an update, nag them to finish it, they did it wrong, or worst of all created a big problem. Painful conclusion: brings you back to reason one- it’s easier to do it myself.

If you want to build a reliable team, you must improve your skills in coaching and training to achieve a successful transfer of work that doesn’t belong on the to-do list for a CEO or manager.

Reason 7: Desired Results are not clear (or rewarded)

You may not realize it, but if you are like most business owners, you are not clear about desired results or clear about priorities.

Most decent employees try to figure out what “Done Right” looks like and to do their best with the resources and tools you give them.
If you don’t measure or track any results, they may not know how they are doing. Absent of any data or feedback, most people assume that “no news is good news” and they are doing their job to meet your expectations.

So the “unreliable” don’t know it and don’t have any reason to change.

You also may not be rewarding the trusted reliable ones. Those that step up are given more work, those that duck and cover are given less work, and everyone gets a 3% raise and about the same year-end bonus.

Consider the messages you are sending with feedback, recognition and pay—is it rewarding reliability?

Reason 8: You can’t find good people to hire

Yes, I advise that you should improve your current team performance first.

But the lack of “good people” to hire is part of the reason you accept low performance or poor attitudes. You feel hostage because if you address the issues they might quit, and a mediocre person is better than no person.

You probably also dread the hiring process and rush to fill an open position. You take the “best” applicant, even if you worry they won’t work out.

If you settle for third-string players on your team and in your new hires, this is definitely a reason you don’t have a reliable team.

After you read this list, how many reasons do you have?

How many of these issues exist on your team?

If you have 3 or more, you likely don’t have a reliable who you trust to delegate work, run daily activities and work on projects to grow the business.

The Solution: Building Your Team Model

To build a reliable team, you need the Right People in the Right Jobs, Doing the Right Things

Next Step: Read the Guide

Guide to Building Your Team Right People Right Jobs

Would you like to learn the exact steps to go from stuck in the day-to-day to building a trusted reliable team?

Click to Download the detailed guide:

Building Your Team: Right People… Right Jobs

Is your recruiting mobile-ready?

Is your recruiting mobile-ready?

My first experience with recruiting was 1985.

Our family business would run a short ad in the Buffalo News weekend edition and at 9 am Monday morning the phones would literally ring off the hook. Everyone in the office would frantically take down applicant’s names and numbers, and my mother and I would call back each one for a 5-10 minute chat, and then mail an application and wait for them to be returned (via mail).

Fast forward 30 years– how things have changed.

Now applicants want to find out about your job opportunities before they are open, from their social network, apply online in 10 minutes from their smartphone, and get frequent updated communication about the status of their application and next steps.

Can your selection system handle all this?

If not, you will be missing at least 40% of candidates this year. Likely more if you want tech-savvy candidates of any generation…

Quick article to outline the concept “Do You Have a Mobile Recruiting Strategy?

INFOGRAPHIC that shares statistics of the need for mobile recruiting

Luckily most larger employers aren’t prepared for mobile recruiting – yet– but 90% indicate this is a top priority for 2016.

Passive (employed) candidates are your largest source of applicants- so you need to meet them where they are and make it easy to attract A Players.