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To be nervous that we hire the wrong person for the job again?

(89 Posts)
mameulah Mon 28-Jul-14 07:19:37

Please, please can you give me your top tips for hiring a new employee.

My DH has his own business and desperately needs a good team of people to delegate too. For one or another the people he has recently hired have turned out to be awful. Lazy, incompetent and dishonest.

What are the best interview questions you have asked/been asked?

What is the best way of checking that the interviewee really is as good as they say they are?

Or any other top tips?

Apologies if this thread would be better suited in another subject area but we have a toddler and a new born due any day now. We desperately need a team behind us so that my DH can spend more some time enjoying our family.

PetulaGordino Mon 28-Jul-14 07:22:24

I think this might depend on the type of business/industry he is in. Where is he advertising/recruiting from.

ChoccaDoobie Mon 28-Jul-14 07:23:53

I understand how you feel. We have had 2 disasters like this over the last few years and they can be costly and stressful. Do your employees work a trial period? I think in the interview questions you could include some "scenarios" and ask "what would you do?".

annie987 Mon 28-Jul-14 07:26:04

I always think a probationary period gives you chance to see them in action before the job becomes permanent.
References are probably more important than interview questions. Ringing past employers in addition to the references given.

dobedobedo Mon 28-Jul-14 07:28:45

Can you hire through an agency? That way you owe them no obligation, the agency does. If they work out, great, hire them yourself. If not, tell the agency to find you someone else.
What industry are you in?

TeenageMutantNinjaTurtle Mon 28-Jul-14 07:31:26

I wouldn't really bother with made up scenario type questions... It's too easy to guess what the interviewer wants to hear. I find it better to ask "tell me about a time when...." style questions. So "tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer" for example.

Then dig into the answer with questions like "what did you learn from that experience" and "what could you have done differently".

Check references as carefully as possible. Phone referees if you can. Although a lot of large companies won't give proper references anymore so this could be futile.

My hiring disasters (there have been two) both interviewed really well and were then utterly hopeless at the job.

I'm not really sure there is a foolproof way of avoiding the occasional mistake. Make it really clear what the job involves and trust your gut as much as possible.

chinamoon Mon 28-Jul-14 07:34:06

I used to work in our company's recruitment dept.

First the obvious stuff like - neatly presented, on time, eye contact, pleasant handshake.

We always asked questions about when they had had a problem at work or something had gone wrong and how they handled it. People who say they've never made a mistake or had a problem are liars or egotists or blame shifters.

Always ask why they want the job. if there answers are about what the job can do for them, not what they can bring to the job it's a warning sign. So if they say: 'I need the money,' even in a jokey way, it's a red light. But if they say: 'I really enjoy customer contact and there's seems to be more of it in this post than in my current place of work,' then you know it's about what they can bring to the job. (Having said that, clearly mums with small kids who want PT work that fits in with school hours will be looking specifically for that and will say so. They might be far more reliable because those jobs are gold dust.

We asked stuff like: what is your dream job? If it had no connection to the business then again, they are less likely to be genuinely engaged.

Listen out for how often they refer to family and problems, how often they whinge, even jokily. These are warning signs that they are not professional. They should be positive in their language and fully engaged with the job on offer.

Ask if they have any other questions. If their questions are about your organisation they are interested, especially if they ask what training they'll be given. It suggests a keenness to do the job well. If they are about holiday pay and TOIL then you know what their priorities are.

Finally, always check both references, and to make sure they're not just mates (it happens) ask tough questions or for a written reference, which should be professional and give dates of work which match their job history on their CV.

chinamoon Mon 28-Jul-14 07:35:51

Oops - missed out the obvious.

make a checklist of ideal qualities in a candidate. have a question that relates to each of these. Score them on these either discreetly when they are with you or immediately after they leave the room. Have room at the bottom of the recruitment sheet to make notes on pluses and minuses and any unease you had about them. Make these instantly before calling the next candidate in.

Jinsei Mon 28-Jul-14 07:37:01

What sort of job?

I agree on scenarios, wwyd type questions, and also questions that look at motivation etc, but I'm also a big fan of practical assessment centre-style tests. Get the candidates doing something that's directly related to the job and see how they perform - for speed, for accuracy or whatever is most important for the role. I've used in-tray tests, role plays, computer-based tests, group activities, data analysis and all sorts. I find they usually work pretty well, as long as you choose the right tests for the role.

No recruitment is 100% reliable though, so as others have said, a well-structured probationary period is important. Give people ample training and induction, make sure you're really clear about what's expected, and then be clear about whether or not they're meeting those expectations.

mameulah Mon 28-Jul-14 07:37:41

The main position is in admin. I would rather not say what industry as I don't want to out myself and it is my DH's business so I don't feel like it is my place to say.

But I guess the admin role is that of being his PA/generally daily dealings of all the office grind/filing/answering phone calls and building up a general technical knowledge as soon as possible/typing up time sheets, petty cash, posting letters, preparing the paperwork for equipment before it is sent out etc. (Sorry, I am a teacher, I don't really know about the world of industry)

I mean how can you get someone to prove in an interview that they are organised and efficient? And enjoy being organised and efficient?

Jinsei Mon 28-Jul-14 07:41:33

Sorry, I wasn't clear - I meant that I agree it's easy to say what the interviewer wants to hear with scenario-type questions. Same with questions like "why do you want this job". Questions about a person's experience to date tend to be more effective. However, I'd always want practical evidence to back up what people say, as it's possible to bullshit your way through any interview. That's why I test!

Stampysladygarden Mon 28-Jul-14 07:42:27

Can you set up a task for them to do. Like a small test to see how they might use initiative even if they are not fully trained?

I've had to do this at interview before.

ButtonBoo Mon 28-Jul-14 07:42:45

You've got to find the can-do attitude ie someone who goes the extra mile, s

mameulah Mon 28-Jul-14 07:42:46

Wow everyone, thanks for the quick responses. I am feeling very encouraged!

Chinamoon Your post has been especially helpful. Thanks. Any tips on how you can possibly check if their referees are simply their mate?

Also, think the checklist of ideal qualities in a candidate is an excellent idea. Anyone any admin role experience? What would you have in a checklist for PA/admin person? If that is your current role what would you expect your employer to be looking for?

Jinsei Mon 28-Jul-14 07:42:50

If it's admin, it should be easy enough to devise some tests. That's how people can prove themselves. smile

mameulah Mon 28-Jul-14 07:43:51

Admin tests? Like what? Can you find them online or buy them?

WaitingForMe Mon 28-Jul-14 07:44:07

Set them a task to undertake at interview? I had this thrown at me unexpectedly and they hired the two of us that didn't flap and simply got on with it. The task was not a small one.

Personally (as a small business owner myself these days) I'd be inclined to look at freelancers. I know a few freelance PA's/administrators and what they achieve is amazing. There are phone answering services and all kinds of way to run offices smoothly. It needn't cost more than a member of staff and the results are better than a less than brilliant employee. Might be worth considering.

PetulaGordino Mon 28-Jul-14 07:44:47

Competency-based interviews (google it) are what I think others are referring to too. Much as I hate being the interviewee it sounds as though that style might help your H?

Jinsei Mon 28-Jul-14 07:45:11

I do lots of recruitment for admin (and other) roles. If you want to pm me with your email address, I can send you some of our person specifications (the checklist) and some examples of the type of test we've used.

meganorks Mon 28-Jul-14 07:45:40

Might be too expensive, but my DP introduced personality profiling at his place after a couple of hiring disasters. It seems very in-depth and they get a report on each person. I don't think its that cheap, but they only do it as a final check on those they plan to hire.

littlesupersparks Mon 28-Jul-14 07:46:39

An Inbox test, write an email, answer a phone call, fill in a spreadsheet?

arethereanyleftatall Mon 28-Jul-14 07:46:53

Ime the worst workers are also the best talkers. So, I would go with references and a probational period.

FunkyBoldRibena Mon 28-Jul-14 07:46:57

There is no way of knowing. The best thing to do is to call up old employers and ask, and remember of course that you have two years to get rid of someone if they aren't up to speed.

And make sure your recruitment person spec includes all the stuff that you actually want them to do.

In an admin post, I really would go with an agency and then you find someone that is fab, hire them and think of the fee as saving the cost of recruitment.

Jinsei Mon 28-Jul-14 07:47:04

The other thing that has worked well for us is taking people on as agency temps and keeping them on if they're good - pretty fool proof and relatively easy! smile

insancerre Mon 28-Jul-14 07:47:27

We have a very thorough induction process
I currently have 4 members of staff still on their probationary period, which is 6 months
We have a person spec as well as a job description
We have a very detailed job description so they know exactly what is expected of them
We hold monthly reviews so I can steer them in the right direction
I can extend their probationary period or terminte their employment
The most important thing is that they know exactly what is expected of them
Remember you hire got the attitude, the skills can always be learnt

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