Tag Archives: hiring

Supporting your new hire’s success

Approaches to onboarding and training for new hires have come a long way since I first started in higher education. At the time, it was pretty common to be shown your desk, handed your keys and left on your own to figure things out. If you don’t believe me, talk to a few folks who are older than 50 and you’ll find its true.

That old “sink or swim” method of letting new employees just figure things out never worked out particularly well. Thankfully, most human resources departments nowadays will help leaders with resources to put together a good onboarding plan for their new employees to increase their chance of success in a new role.

Considering the statistics below from the  Harvard Business Review  it’s critical to invest time and energy into a good onboarding plan if you want your new employee to feel welcome and stay in your organization.

  • Almost 33% of new hires look for a new job within their first six months on the job
  • Twenty-three percent of new hires turn over before their first anniversary
  • Organizational costs of employee turnover are estimated to range between 100% and 300% of a replaced employee’s salary
  • Newly hired employees typically take up to eight months to reach full productivity

Next week I have a new staff member joining our team. In anticipation, I’ve been busy putting together an onboarding and training plan and have enlisted my team members to assist. I’ve also been availing myself of every resource from our IT department, human resources, and our Talent Management online onboarding toolkit. Here’s one very helpful resource I recommend called: Ten Ways to Make a New Hire Feel Welcome

Our new team member will be working in a critical role with a large client group. The stakes are high to get him up-to-speed quickly and to make his introduction to our workplace a good one. As a leader, it’s my job to see that he has all the tools he needs to ensure his success.

Anita Rios

Advertisements

Hiring talent

One of the most important things a leader can do is to hire talent. New hires, if chosen well, can infuse the organization with original ideas, fresh perspectives, and cutting-edge skills. They can help you refresh old ways of doing things and create new approaches to accomplishing work.  In many ways, they can represent new beginnings.

But how can you make sure you are hiring not only the most qualified candidate for the job, but the very best person to complement your team? This question has been top of mind for me in the last couple weeks as I’ve been interviewing candidates for a vital role on our Talent Management team.

Of course,  it’s important to create an accurate job description and a position posting that attracts talented applicants. It’s also essential to conduct interview processes that reveal applicants’ skill sets and strengths. In addition doing those things, I’ve been mulling over some of the best hiring advice I’ve encountered in my career.

When I was hiring my first supervisory training director at Minnesota State 12 years ago,  the Vice Chancellor for Human Resources at the time gave me a sage piece of advice. He smiled and simply said: “Anita, hire someone smarter than you are.”  After hearing that, I had two thoughts.  The first thought was ….of course, I want to hire the very best person for the job.  And the second was ….hmmm, that can take a lot of confidence AND humility to hire people who are smarter than you.

The late Steve Jobs believed that hiring was the most important thing he ever did. He managed all the hiring for his team and never delegated it, personally interviewing over 5,000 applicants in his career. I’ve admired this particular piece of advice he’s shared on hiring and leadership: “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” 

Another of my favorite hiring insights comes from Warren Buffett, who said, “In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy.  And if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.” When you think about it, it really is true. Integrity is paramount when building your team.

Do you have a piece of favorite hiring advice? What has helped you to hire the very best talent?

Anita Rios

 

 

Hiring for great customer service

interview 1While most of us in higher education are not hiring customer service representatives, all of us have an element of customer service required in our roles. Whether we are providing direct services to students in admissions, advising, financial aid or in the classroom, or providing services and resources to our colleagues or bosses, it can help to hire people with the right customer service skills, knowledge and abilities.

While browsing for good resources, I happened upon a set of great customer service interview questions from happyfox.com. I’ve skinnied down the list and adapted them a bit for higher education below. What I like most about them is that they help you zero in on the qualities you are seeking, such as honesty, engagement, attitude, engagement, etc.

Honesty and Communication:

1. Have you ever had to communicate a bad news to a student (or colleague, community member) who was affected by your service? How did you do it?

2. Give me an example of a time when you have successfully handled an irate student, parent, faculty or staff member?

Engagement:

1. Do a role play as a customer support agent who is trying to manage a customer when facing a performance hiccup during a solution demo.

2. How do you sense the mood of your customer (student, parent, colleague, etc.) while communicating with her?

Attitude:

1. What is that one skill you possess that will influence the success of our college/university?

2. Why do you want to be a member of our team?

Passion:

1. What do you enjoy about working as a __________? in a college/university?

2. How do you think you can help our  team become more efficient? Where would you start?

Knowledge:

1. What do you do to keep yourself updated with industry best practices?

2. What do you think is key for contributing to both your personal growth as well as the institution’s growth?

Empathy:

1. What is that one quality in you that helps you understand a customer’s problem better?

Creativity:

1. How much fun do you have in your job and what can you do to make your co-worker’s job fun as well?

2. What was the best mistake you did on your current job and explain why that’s the best?

What interview questions have you used to hire for great customer service?

Anita Rios

Hire a hero, hire a vet

hire a heroHappy Memorial Day! Like me, today most people will be spending time with friends and family. Many people will also attend Memorial Day ceremonies or parades or visit a local cemetery to pay respects to those who have served our country.

While it is important to honor those who have paid the ultimate price serving our country, we can also honor the living who have served our country by hiring a veteran. Last year at this time, I shared some resources with readers about recruiting veterans that are worth a repeat.

One helpful resource is called Hire a Hero, Hire a Vet. It outlines the many benefits of hiring veterans and contains links to useful tools for employers. If you are hiring in Minnesota, here is a web site with a video showing you how to hire a veteran in three easy steps.

As the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) points out, there are many reasons to hire veterans.  Veterans bring education, training, values, leadership and teamwork to the workplace. They also have learned to work side by side with many different people, regardless of race, gender, geographic origin, ethnic background, religion, economic status and capabilities.

Anita Rios

Get it right the first time

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.”

Many of us have read the above quote or some version of it, yet thanks to the internet I discovered that we really don’t know who first said it! It is often attributed to the psychologist Albert Ellis, while others give credit to Mark Twain and even Shakespeare is believed to have made a similar comment.

What we do know is that using a structured behavioral-based interview gives you the best chance of making the right hiring decision the first time. Big data analytics at Google and multiple published studies confirm that asking candidates to describe what they actually have done and the outcome is the best predictor of success on the job. And bringing the right person onboard is a key part of building and sustaining an effective work team.

The steps to develop behavioral-based interview questions are:

  1. Identify the critical job related competencies required for success on the job.
    1. These include the knowledge, skills, abilities and characteristics necessary to do the job and to be a contributing member of the work team.
  2. Write questions that require the candidate to describe what they have actually done or said in a previous situation that demonstrates the application of each critical competency.
  3. Plan probing and follow-up questions to clarify what you are asking or to verify the answer provided.
    1. Probing and follow-up questions are based on the original question.
    2. Probing and follow-up questions are used to help the candidate understand the question and competency or to help you understand their answer.
  4. Establish a common criteria or rubric to be used in evaluating responses.
    1. The criteria will rate the quality of using the required competency or the actual demonstration of the competency.
    2. The criteria must be observable and applicable across candidates and interviewers.

We have created a set of behavioral-based interview questions that you can use as examples or a resource to develop your own – Behavioral based questions.

It takes work to develop and conduct effective structured behavior-based interviews but increasing your odds to get the right person the first time to join your team is a great payoff.

Todd Thorsgaard

Hiring the best talent

people assetIn building organizational talent, one of the most important jobs we have as leaders is to hire the right people. Here is helpful hiring advice from Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric:

“Before you even think about assessing people for a job, they have to pass through three screens. The first test is for integrity. People with integrity tell the truth, and they keep their word. The second test is for intelligence. The candidate has a strong dose of intellectual curiosity, with a breadth of knowledge to work with or lead other smart people in today’s complex world. The third ticket to the game is maturity—the ability to handle stress and setbacks, and enjoy success with equal parts of joy and humility.

I then apply the “4E (And 1P) Framework” for hiring that I’ve found consistently effective, year after year, across businesses and borders. The first E is positive energy. It means the ability to go go go—to thrive on action and relish change. The second E is the ability to energize others, and inspire them to take on the impossible. The third is edge, the courage to make tough yes-or-no decisions. The fourth E is execute—the ability to get the job done. Then I look for that final P, passion—a heartfelt, deep and authentic excitement about work.”

–Jack Welch

What do you think about Jack’s three screens and framework for hiring? What have you done in the past that has resulted in a successful hire? Please share your comments below.

Anita Rios

Hire for integrity

“Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.” – Warren Buffett

Over the past month, we have explored the importance of cultivating integrity in yourself and modeling it for others. As leaders, we also have a responsibility to hire others with integrity. But how can you recognize such an important quality during the interview process?

First, ask good behavioral questions that elicit examples from a job candidate. Behavioral questions are based on the premise that past behavior is a future predictor; in other words, if someone has behaved a certain way in the past, they are most likely to repeat that behavior in the future. Examples of good behavioral questions that can elicit responses from candidates include:

  • Tell me about a specific time when you were confronted with a potentially difficult situation which challenged your sense of fairness or ethics. What did you do?
  • A strong sense of ethics and integrity are critical to the success of any leader.  Tell me about a situation that tested your ethical and moral foundation. What was the challenge and how did you respond to it?
  • Tell me about a time when you kept commitment even when it was difficult to do so.
  • Discuss an instance when you could not honor a commitment or a promise.  How did you manage the situation and communicate with the affected individuals or group?
  • Give an example of how you became informed of relevant laws, rules and regulations in order to accomplish a specific initiative or goal.
  • What actions have you taken when you observed or were made aware of someone breaking rules or acting without integrity?
  • Tell me about a mistake you have made on the job. What did you do after you made the mistake?

In addition to the interview, be sure to check with a candidate’s references, where you can ask additional questions.

Anita Rios