5 Tips for Hiring in a Difficult Market

  • Tip #1 – Know what job you are trying to fill.

Have a detailed job description and know the skills, knowledge, and abilities you’re looking for in the ideal candidate.  What are the key responsibilities and particulars of the job as far as hours, salary, and benefits.  

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Often companies will have a general job statement, but not a detailed description.  It’s kind of, “I’m not sure what I want, but I will know it when I see it.”  A lot of time can be wasted going after this imaginary candidate.

Be honest about the pay range and DOE (Depends On Experience).  Don’t advertise $25-$30/hour when the best you will ever really pay is $26.50/hour.  Many companies claim their pay is DOE because it’s easy and takes little thought, but they have no intention of paying anything more than the lower number.   

A detailed job description also helps with performance reviews and expectations later on.  If  things don’t work out, having a good job description allows you to take disciplinary action later when they work for you.

Tip #2 – “Try before you buy!”

Allow Maintenance Best to prescreen the candidates for you with people that meet your job criteria.  Interview the candidates if necessary, but don’t assume that you are hiring them until you see how they well they work on your team.

Every Maintenance Best candidate is screened, trained, and tested before we ever place them on the job.  One candidate in five passes our testing and one candidate in ten is actually placed.  We’ve had some jobs where we have screened 200 candidates and have placed no one because the job requirements were shifting or ambiguous.  That’s a lot of wasted time and effort for everyone.

Tip #3 – Don’t rely on the resume alone.

The resume tells a story, but not the whole story.  Particularly in blue collar jobs, resumes are not very good.  First, most maintenance people were never English majors and second many people use Indeed to put a resume together.  Indeed resumes are relatively easy to put together, but they are poor in the key things a resume should have if you are looking for a white collar job or managerial position.

Indeed has a simple format for resumes, but you end up with a very simple, basic resume.  These are resumes that give you some information, but not the entire picture.  You also must look at the skill set of the candidate.  Are you expecting to fill a hands-on maintenance position or an accomplished author.  If they are not going to be writing technical manuals, then do you need an accomplished author?  Allow Maintenance Best to screen the candidates using your criteria and then “try” them to see if they fit your team.  After that  you can hire them and they still get the company probationary period to make sure they fit. 

Finally, it’s hard to judge an individual from a resume.  Let’s say you’re looking for someone to help grow and develop your business.  You interview a guy (assuming you even talk to him after screening his resume).  You see that he’s bounced around from job to job and didn’t complete college.  During the interview you find out that his parents actually gave him up for adoption and he took one year to travel around India.  Oh, he also has dyslexia.  If you say no, then you would be missing out on having Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, on your team.

Tip #4 – In the interview, create an atmosphere that allows the candidate to feel at ease.

In an interview, the candidate is trying to sell him or herself, but you are trying to motivate and sell the position to the candidate.  The unemployment rate is 3.7% or lower.  Candidates have a lot of options.  You are trying to get this person to accept the position, but convince them to stay with you after the initial period is over.

So work to reduce some of that stress for better results.  Allow enough time for the interview and don’t allow interruptions.  Then tell the candidate how the interview will proceed.  Don’t oversell the company and the position.  We’ve seen companies promise to make candidates supervisors only to find out after they have been working that they are not really supervisory material.

Tip #5 – Formulate your questions ahead of time.

Here are some other key points:

  • Take notes.
  • Listen carefully.
  • Use silence effectively to let the candidate do the talking.
  • Avoid making promises.
  • Don’t accept yes or no answers.  Probe for examples and details.
  • Watch how the potential employee analyzes and then answers your questions.

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