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How to make smarter hiring decisions
Hiring decisions

Hiring and training new employees is one of the toughest jobs you face as a manager or business owner. Even when there are plenty of applicants, finding the right one is still time-consuming. Here are some tips for each stage of the process - from identifying your requirements to interviewing candidates.

Identify the job requirements by meeting with the manager or those who will be co-workers of the new hire, and talk through exactly what skills are important to do the job well. For some positions such as line production positions, the job requirements are clear. You may need specific technical skills or certain work experience. In other cases, the important skills required for the job may be less obvious. This is especially true in small companies where employees may have to perform several functions.

Set up a standard application form to capture prior work history and other information. This will make it easier to compare candidates.

When you conduct interviews, let the candidate do much of the talking. Ask free-form questions which make the candidates choose and prioritize exactly what they are going to tell you. Questions such as, "What did you like most about your last job?" can produce revealing answers. Follow with, "Now tell me what you liked least about your last job." Letting candidates do most of the talking will tell you a great deal about their attitudes and priorities.

Structure the interview so the candidates talk about themselves first, and you talk about the job and the company later. Otherwise they're likely to tailor their answers to fit the job you have just described.

Set up a meeting between finalists and their future coworkers. Describe it as a "get to know you" meeting. You'll be surprised what people will discuss in a less formal setting. You might also be surprised at what your other employees will notice about their future co-worker. This is still part of the hiring process, so make sure your employees attending the meeting are aware of questions they can and cannot ask.

Follow up on references, and check police or driving records if appropriate.

Taking the time to find the right employee for a job opening will pay off in the long run. You'll avoid the frustration and expense of excessive employee turnover.