One service that I provide, through Debbie Hensleigh Initiatives, is hiring assistance. I have found that many entrepreneurs are good at what they are good at….inventing, pitching, selling, generating enthusiasm, creating, negotiating, closing. But, often they are not so great at hiring just the right talent to take them and their business to the next level. They tend to spend way too much time perusing resumes, making phone calls to ill- equipped hopefuls, and meeting with totally unsuitable applicants. I save them tons of time, which is money, no matter how you look at it.
There is a certain skill in assessing need and matching it with people. I am good at that and enjoy using it to help others. It usually works like this… I meet with a business owner or manager, talk with them about their next hire, help them define duties and skills. I like to meet the rest of the team (if there is more than one person in the business) and get a feel for the type of person for a good fit. Then, we advertise for skills and character.
The process is to place an ad, cull responses, make some phone calls to the “on paper” best ones, then narrow the field down to 2-3 best possible candidates. I can research and interview for competence (skill, ability, experience) and character (dependability, responsibility, integrity). But the person who will work with the new hire needs to determine chemistry–the right “fit” for the office and the team.
I have some pretty basic, yet very important ways that I weed out applicants. The current reality is that for almost any job, there are a LOT of people looking for work. From a recent ad in a smaller mid-western community, I got over 50 responses for an admin position. A similarly posted ad in the Philadelphia area garnered 135+. Even a specific skilled medical position brought double-digit resumes. Here are some quick ways to narrow the field and save time:
1. Did they follow instructions? For instance, if the ad says, “send cover letter and resume,” did they send a resume AND a cover letter? No? Delete.
2. Did they use their cover letter as an opportunity to explain themselves? If they have been out of the work force for a while, did they explain that they took time off to raise young children, or to care for your elderly grandmother, or that their old job was down-sized due to a buy-out?
3. Have they kept a job for longer than a year? If they have been of working age for 10 years and you have had 15 jobs, that is another quick “delete” for me.
4. Check for grammar and spelling. There is no explanatory comment required with this one.
Bonus Tip: Don’t make unnecessary phone calls. Just because someone applied is not a reason to waste your time calling them.
There are great opportunities out there for great employees. But there is a lot of competition, not all applicants are equal. I made 12 phone calls for the job in PA (out of 135+ responses). Two people have never returned my call. I sent a follow-up email assessment link to five of them after a phone conversation. Three of them completed the assessment and emailed it back to me.
Three in-person interviews will be set up with to the person who hired me to help her hire an assistant. I have spent about two hours in this process and I am confident that one of the competent applicants who have the character to be a responsible employee will have chemistry to make a fine employee.
This is something I am good at that benefits others. I love these opportunities to work well with others!