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  • Writer's pictureDean Van Dyke

How to Improve Your Hiring Methods

Hiring the right people is arguably one of the most important things you can do to support the long-term success of your company. And yet so many business owners approach hiring as an afterthought. They put a half-hearted ad on their website and hope to high heaven they get lucky.

This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make if you want your business to succeed.

The Silver Bullet solution to this problem is called an Employee Acquisition Plan – and you simply must implement one if you want to reduce staff-related headaches, shrink, and waste...not to mention find real, high-quality candidates to take over your business once you decide it's time to move on.

I always like to say that hiring is a lot like fishing: the more fish on deck, the choosier you can be! Here are four simple steps to making it happen...

1. Write a Brilliant Job Description.

The best way to catch a lot of fish (especially the right kind of fish!) is by using the best bait possible. Most job descriptions are anemic and weak. Make yours stand out! Write your job descriptions in "what's in it for the applicant" language; be specific about the personality characteristics and qualifications needed; include the hours and earnings potential. Here are a couple of samples I've used with great results -- feel free to borrow it the next time you have an opening:

Superstars Only

You can earn as much as $150K if you're a star. Don't even call unless you're an overachiever and can prove it. Call between 12:00 and 2:00. 206-867-5309.

If you're the personal assistant we're looking for, you'll be...

Driven, successful, and great at selling over the phone.

Persuasive, independent when needed, sociable, assertive, and convincing.

Pushed, asked to achieve great results, taught about business marketing and ultimately trained to manage a team. Responsible for following up leads and selling to business owners over the phone. Answering calls from clients and prospects, getting marketing letters in the mail, keeping communication flowing in the office.

Ready to sell to dozens of business owners every week. Someone who only accepts the best performance from self and others and fired up about taking on a long-term challenge to create success in your life and business.

Working full-time hours, with earnings potential up to $X.

If you believe this is you, be ready to show us why when you call before 5 p.m. this Thursday. 206-867-5309.

2. Generate Leads.

When hiring, you've got to be proactive! It's not JUST about writing a great job description, it's about getting that description in the hands of the right people. Here are seven great ways to find quality candidates...

  • Look within your organization first; who can be promoted?

  • Call past high-quality team members and ask them, "Is there anything I can do to get you back?"

  • Post a sign on your door/window.

  • Post an ad on websites like Indeed, Craigslist, Facebook and LinkedIn.

  • Advertise in trade magazines and publications – this is a wonderful way to get highly targeted applications.

  • Create a recruiting incentive program and announce it to the team. Give staff members a bonus if they bring in a high-quality candidate.

  • Go to networking events and remember that every conversation is a potential interview.

The point is to recognize how important hiring is to your organization and to be completely engaged in the process of finding the right fit.

3. Implement a Pre-Interview Screening Process.

Too many business owners waste unnecessary time interviewing candidates who are not truly qualified. Fortunately, you can eliminate a lot of "dead weight" quickly, just by implementing a simple screening process.

There are two strategies I recommend before you get to actual, in-person interviews...

Voice Mail Screening

Set up a special voice mail box for screening purposes. In your job description ad, have candidates call the number and leave a message BEFORE they even submit a resume. Listen to the responses. Ask the applicants whose messages impress you most to send a resume and complete a psychometric profile. Here's the exact scripting I recommend you use:

"Hi and thanks for calling [insert your company], located in [your city, state]. My name is [your name] and I’m the founder of the company.

[Insert your company] is looking for a [name of position]. The responsibilities of this position include [responsibilities]. [Insert your company] will provide [training, development]…

The compensation package includes health insurance, life insurance, and a retirement plan. [Insert your company] is [describe the company and what a wonderful opportunity it will be to work for you and why]. I am a highly talented, proven winner in the field of [your field]. I have [name some of your accomplishments] and will personally mentor the person chosen for this position.

Now, please take just a couple minutes to answer the following three questions. If you want to write these questions down and call back with your answer, you can feel free to do that:

  • What actual experience have you had [insert experience or skill relating to job description]?

  • What actual experience have you had [insert experience or skill relating to job description]?

  • What actual experience have you had [insert experience or skill relating to job description]?

After you’ve answered these questions, please leave your name, phone number, and address. If you fail to answer these questions, your application will not be considered.

Thanks for calling [your company]! "


Instead of a phone message, ask candidates to reply via email and include some specific questions that they should answer, in addition to submitting their resumes. You'll find that a surprising percentage of applicants won't even follow this simple instruction -- which is a fast way to weed them out. Make a shortlist of promising applicants and ask them to complete a psychometric profile.

Depending on the number of applicants and the nature of the job, you might even add another layer of screening: a live phone interview before you get to the final step, an in-person interview.

4. Bring Them in for a Test Drive.

Now that you've narrowed the field of applicants down substantially, you're ready to invest some quality time in them. Bring them in for a 4-8 hour on-site interview. Get a feel for their personalities. Have them complete an on-the-job task or two. Introduce them to the rest of your staff. Compare their completed psychometric profiles to the characteristics needed for the job. Create a series of interview questions that you use uniformly for all the applicants who reach this stage and have them focus on actual past experience as opposed to theoretical future possibilities. Then make an offer to the candidate who impressed you most!

Imagine the time, energy, and money you will save when you have a team in place that performs well. Put in the effort required to make this happen. Your stress level and your bottom line will thank you.

I have dozens of other strategies to help you find, and manage, high-quality employees. Do not neglect this critical aspect of your business for another moment!

If you need additional help putting together the dream team you need, call me direct at 425-295-7447 or click here to schedule a 60-minute Complimentary Coaching Session.

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