The one thing that businesses need more than anything else at the moment – and how to get it

happy-office-workers, work environment

The one thing businesses need more than anything else at the moment is outstanding people.

Throughout the turmoil arising out of the numerous challenges facing businesses of all shapes and sizes currently, it’s your people that will make all the difference.

Just like in any other business your people are your most important asset. Like any other asset the selection and management of them is crucial.  Team members are hugely influential in shaping the culture and success of your business and the perceptions and behaviours of customers and clients. So your investment in people is phenomenal. Make the wrong decisions or neglect your investment and your return not only diminishes but your costs could spiral too.

Whether you’re experienced at managing people or you’re new to it, you’re probably finding it a challenge to deal with the day to day management of your team and the communication and performance challenges that some individuals can cause.  People can be unpredictable.  Some thrive on the current challenges they are facing.  Others do their utmost to resist change.  Some are so motivated that they will do all they can to remain positive and look for opportunities. Others will delight in putting a proverbial spanner in the works.  Some love to learn; others feel unsettled by it.  Sounds familiar?

I know how challenging managing people can be. I’ve spent 30 years training managers and professionals like you to overcome the frustrations of people management and development. This is the second of a series of ‘How to articles’ where I’m sharing with you my proven strategies and tools that will improve your day to day people management skills and give you plenty of practical ideas that you can implement immediately in your business.

In this article I’m going to share with you ten of the most important steps to recruiting the right person for the job and some of my secrets for carrying out effective interviews. I’m really passionate about avoiding recruitment mistakes because I see daily the effects of poor interview technique and decision making by businesses who didn’t have the right processes, skills and ‘know-how’. It’s just like getting married – get it right and you have a long, strong rewarding relationship. Get it wrong and you could end up with a lot of hassle, heartache and a costly divorce.

So here are ten of the steps.  Ignore them at your peril.

  1. Top of the ‘Must –Dos’ is to carry out a job analysis, ideally talking to the outgoing post –holder and the rest of the team. Draw up an up to date Job Description which focuses solely on tasks and responsibilities of the job.  DO NOT mix this up with the most crucial document of all, the Person Specification.  This is your separate guiding document which sets out the experience, skills, abilities, behaviours, attitudes and qualifications the post holder will need to perform the role.  In my view this is your most important tool as it will guide everything else in the selection process:  the advert, the shortlisting, the tests, the interview questions, the decision, the subsequent training, probation, and ongoing personal development plan and performance management of the new member of staff.
  2. Always insist on receiving a completed application form rather than a CV. It’s hard to shortlist from a pile of CVs as there’s no level playing field. It’s like comparing oranges and apples.  With your own organisation’s Application Form you can decide on the questions you want answered at application stage and it’s a sign of motivation if the applicants are willing to spend time handcrafting their responses rather than relying on standard CVs.
  3. Use a weighting system and numerical scoring system on the Person Specification and shortlisting and decision-making tools.
  4. Develop core questions for each candidate but be flexible in how you ask these so that dialogue flows naturally at interview. Ensure your core and your probing questions are open.
  5. Don’t take candidates’ initial responses at face value. Drill down using open probing questions.  Failure to do this will ensure the person who presents at interview as the ‘Mary Poppins’ you desperately seek turns out to be a bitter disappointment!
  6. Never interview on your own.
  7. Take legible, contemporaneous notes. These will be invaluable for your decision-making.  They will also be needed if you choose to give candidates feedback, which legally you don’t have to do.  Your notes will be priceless if your decision is challenged and you end up in an Employment Tribunal (worst case scenario)
  8. Be familiar with current equalities and employment legislation. If in doubt seek expert advice.  You do need to be aware of the basics though.
  9. Don’t allow team members to get involved formally or informally in the recruitment process if they haven’t had up to date training in recruitment and relevant employment legislation.
  10. And finally……if you are unsure, don’t appoint. You risk destabilising a high performing team.  You may have to grapple with under performance issues and end up with higher training costs. Customer engagement could be affected, and team morale could drop.  You could even find your decisions challenged and you end up having to tread carefully through a minefield of employment legislation.

So there’s ten of the many crucial actions you can take to get the right person joining your team.

Bye for now.

Love Ali xx

Alison Miles-Jenkins

Founder of Leading Light Enterprises

Author of ‘New Manager Secrets – How to accelerate your success as a manager immediately


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