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Key to Your Business: Hiring the Right People for the Right Jobs

The director and assistant director were hiring a high-level professional for their organization. In an interview they asked the candidate an open-ended question: “Is there anything else you want to say?”

Then they waited patiently until the candidate responded: “I have a university degree that’s higher than either one of yours. You would be stupid to not hire me.” You can bet how that hire went. Imagine if they had not asked that open-ended question and waited for an answer.

Knowing the best steps to take and the best tips to follow can make the difference between a good hire and a bad—and very costly one.

The cost of the hiring process for a new employee can range from 16-20% of that employee’s annual salary. When you include onboarding and training costs for a replacement employee, that figure can rise to 50-75%. By hiring the right people, management can keep productivity high and keep turnover, and its associated costs, low.

Steps to a successful interview

While it has always been true that managers need to become very familiar with the details of the job description (and any other job requirements) before an interview, that is not enough for success in today’s “war for talent.”

To persuade the best candidate to join your team, you, as a hiring manager, will also need to pull together information about your company and your company’s brand as an attractive place to work. It is increasingly important today that you present clear and exciting career path options to prospective employees, and show that you care about them and their future career development.

There are tried-and-true steps to conduct a successful interview, such as making a list of the technical and non-technical skills necessary for the position. But to be a true interviewing superstar, you need to go further.

You need to develop skills that allow you to read through the noise often found in a candidate’s resume or application materials. You need to be able to determine a best fit between experience, skill development potential, and the job. You also need to know how to craft strong, open-ended interview questions that will guide you to your best candidate.  

Join me to learn more

I lead a one-day UC Davis Graduate School of Management Executive Education program, Building your Strategic Bench: Interviewing with Purpose. It is designed to give you the tools you need to become a more effective interviewer, and the skills you need to hire the best people for your team.

You will have the opportunity to practice these skills by bringing a job description from your organization, and candidate resumes for the position. During the learning lab section of the program, I will guide you through a personalized case studies using this information, providing an immediate impact for your real-world hiring challenges.

To learn how to accomplish purposeful interviewing and practice these tips and more, join us at the Graduate School of Management for this engaging, skill enhancing learning lab workshop.

In the meantime, we offer you the following interview tips to keep in mind as you plan for your next purposeful interview.

  • Hold the interview in a place that is comfortable and free of interruptions
  • Keep the interview relatively brief (usually not more than an hour)
  • Display a relaxed body posture and monitor the candidate’s body language as well
  • Remember, you set the tone; stay in control of the interview
  • Make the candidate feel comfortable (start with small talk or a question such was “Why don’t we start by you telling me a bit about yourself” to get the applicant talking)
  • Ask behavior-specific and situation-specific questions, following up on them to find out details about the candidates past performance
  • Take notes, and let the applicant know that you will be doing so at the beginning of the interview
  • Don’t feel like you have to fill every minute with talk, silence can elicit applicant responses you might not otherwise have learned
  • Don’t get stuck on your first impression of the applicant, appearances can be deceiving
  • Be prepared to answer questions from the candidate, in fact, ensure you leave time for their questions at the end of the interview – what they ask can tell you volumes
  • Sell your company to the candidate, ensure they want to work for you as much as you want them to work for you