Author Topic: Managers - hiring staff  (Read 5905 times)

marty998

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6490
  • Location: Sydney, Oz
Managers - hiring staff
« on: September 25, 2014, 06:01:22 AM »
I'm a relatively new manager but already I've had to go through the hiring process a couple of times. Fortunately for the best of reasons - firstly getting a replacement for me after I was promoted, and now for a staff member who has secured a promotion in another area.

It's a fascinating experience. I've learned that I am incredibly picky and that I am patient enough to wait for a standout candidate to turn up. A good thing imo, even if it drives my manager crazy. Apparently I'm too judgemental and dismissive.

Questions:
- What do you look for in a new hire?
- What are your non-negotiables?
- What are your deal breakers?

RiskDown

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 37
Re: Managers - hiring staff
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2014, 01:15:02 PM »
Questions:
- What do you look for in a new hire? 
#1 ability to problem solve
#2 human decency -- able to get along with co-workers... smartest guy in the room is irrelevant if no one will work with you.
#3 initiative/ Seek to improve processes.
#4 I want them to naturally regulate themselves, think about their strengths and weaknesses, and be their own biggest critic.

- What are your non-negotiables/deal breakers?
#1 failure to have #1-4 above
#2 bias communication/partial truth telling

Difficulty: I'm not a manager, and have never been one... but tend to see-big-picture, better than average.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2014, 01:20:13 PM by RiskDown »

Terrestrial

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 294
Re: Managers - hiring staff
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2014, 03:18:19 PM »
What to look for:
By far the two most important areas I have found in the best employees are:
- Intelligence/Learning Ability.  I will (and have) hired people who are extremely bright and pick things up quickly over people with a little more experience but who seem lacking in those areas, because after the initial learning curve you end up with a much better employee.

- Ability to cooperate with team, and especially if this person will be interfacing with clients, someone that has good people skills.  I second what RiskDown said, a smart guy who cant function as part of the team isn't as useful as someone who makes the entire team stronger.

-Enthusiasm.  Someone who isn't motivated to do their job usually wont do a great job. 

You can take people with the above three traits and make them into great employees after a little training.  Most people are usually capable of just learning job skills well enough to be at least average, it's the intangibles like the ones above that will be the difference from an average and a great employee.

Dealbreakers:
- Dishonesty.  This is the quickest way to get on my S-list.  I can deal with honest mistakes, I can't deal with it when someone lies about it or tries to cover it up.

- Not following through with commitments.  Managers need to be able to count on their teams, I need to know that when someone says they will do something it's going to get done.

Things you can do to be a good manager:

- When someone has proven themselves to you, give them a little bit of room to breathe.  If 'Joe' always gets his work done on time and does a good job, let him have some latitude and don't breathe over his shoulder or micromanage.  People appreciate autonomy.

- Invest in your people.  When someone is ready, delegate new tasks to them so that they learn and grow.  Try and open up new opportunities for them.  One of the greatest parts of being a manager to me is when someone that works for me excels so much they are ready to be promoted.    Plus, when your employees feel like you're looking out for their best interests and genuinely want good things to happen for them, they will put in the extra effort for you.

- Ask how people like to be managed.  Every time I hire someone new I take them to lunch and then ask them how they learn best, how they like to be managed, etc.  Everyone learns differently and responds to management styles differently, some need you to show them, some like to try it on their own and ask for help if they get stuck.  You'll be most effective as a manager if you find out what each person needs to do their best.



Snow White

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 171
  • Location: Texas
Re: Managers - hiring staff
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2014, 04:12:03 PM »
I am retired now (thankfully) but was a manager for a significant chunk of my working life.  My two cents worth is that assuming that someone meets the minimum absolute job requirements (licensure, certifications, essential skills etc), the most important qualities are work ethics, cooperation, enthusiasm and generally just someone I wanted to be around.  Let's face it, you spend as much time with work colleagues as you do family in some jobs so you might as well pick someone you like as a person.

If a candidate meets the job criteria well enough to get to an interview, I was interviewing for "fit" on the team as much as anything.  Did the candidate spend a lot of time trying to define time off and negotiating benefits or did they seem to be genuinely interested in the important work we were doing?

I always asked candidates two questions at the end of an interview...1) What question did I NOT ask that you wished I had? 2) What is your biggest concern/worry about this position?  The last question got paraphrased a bit depending on what we had talked about before but I learned as much with those two questions as anything else.

Finally, the smartest woman/man with the best resume was often NOT the best choice.  I can look back at poor hires and recognize where I got greedy in trying to hire a candidate that on paper looked fabulous but in reality turned out to be a self involved narcissist that required most of my time!  Wow...that sounded judgmental but seasoned managers will tell you that 20% of your high maintenance employees will take up 80% of your time.  I will take an enthusiastic team player any day over a highly skilled prima Donna.

cavewoman

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 522
  • Age: 33
  • I'm a woman who likes caves
Re: Managers - hiring staff
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2014, 07:02:02 AM »
I'm just replying because I hope this thread continues.  As someone who has held (IMO) a lot of jobs in varied fields - I like to read about the interview/hiring process from the managers' perspective!

soccerluvof4

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5352
  • Location: Artic Midwest
  • Retired at 50
    • My Journal
Re: Managers - hiring staff
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2014, 07:42:10 AM »

Finding good people is harder and harder these days.

I always looked or tried to look for someone that was mature in nature and seemed responsible no matter there age. Having responsibilities to a point where they needed a job but not to the point they couldn't focus on the job.  No matter who you hire it could take 90 days to 6 months to see there true colors so anybody I hired was always on a 90 day probation period.

Attendance record is important as well. Finally a person I believe was willing to learn it our way despite what experience or non-experience they have.

I would not hire a person that was late for an interview and or didn't have good personal hygiene...or good communication skills.

HappierAtHome

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8576
  • Location: Australia
Re: Managers - hiring staff
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2014, 06:29:50 PM »
Having sat through several days of interviews recently: emotional intelligence.

elaine amj

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3116
  • Location: Ontario
Re: Managers - hiring staff
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2014, 08:10:13 PM »
This is a good one as my position requires me to hire entry level staff  - this year has been a tough year with some turnover and problem employees. Feel like I have been sitting through way too many hiring sessions. Thrilled with my latest hire though. I almost tuned her out because she came for the interview wearing khaki shorts. They weren't even the longer above the knee length. They were the new shorter style. That said, she interviewed extremely well and her needs seemed to match our requirements pretty well. So far, she has been great.

Thinking back over our best hires, I'd say enthusiasm and passion, reliability, work ethic, and fit. They have to be a good fit with us and almost as important, we have to be a good fit for them. Particularly true for part time entry level positions where turnover can be high.

I am currently dealing with a staff who just informed me today that she cannot attend a major staff meeting scheduled a month from now because her parents are taking her on a graduation trip (postponed until now since the spring) that she has NOT requested vacation time for. I have denied vacation requests from her in the past, so she KNOWS she has to ask first. What is with kids these days? Even now I would never dream of presuming I can go on vacation any time I want. I never consider my vacation in stone until it has been approved - although of course, I have never been turned down.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6869
Re: Managers - hiring staff
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2014, 08:32:37 PM »
Truthfully, we've gotten so many doozies lately.  For younger kids out of college - learning ability.

For senior people?  A personal recommendation.  All the other senior people we've hired have been duds.  They know the lingo but cannot perform the duties to the level that we need.

(I'm an engineer.)

MrsStubble

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 169
  • Location: West Chester, PA
Re: Managers - hiring staff
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2014, 08:38:24 PM »
Questions:
- What do you look for in a new hire? 

#2 human decency -- able to get along with co-workers... smartest guy in the room is irrelevant if no one will work with you.


+1 to this.  I just fired someone on Friday who had only been in the office for 5 days because he managed to somehow offend each and every person on my staff separately by judging them based on their knowledge of his particular skill set.   I hire to fit a need but I like my employees to have different backgrounds/knowledge.  I don't expect them to each have the same strengths and knowledge, but I do expect them to respect each others role and skill set.  This guy seemed to think because he had a particular strength that no one else had, he knew the most out of all of them and didn't want to be trained by them.  I've never come across that before interviewing someone, but now i will know to watch for it.

dividendman

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1128
  • Age: 37
Re: Managers - hiring staff
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2014, 02:33:35 PM »
Unfortunately interviews can probably weed out obviously bad candidates but cannot ensure the person you get is any good. I've probably done over one hundred interviews in my relatively short career (7 years) and some people can interview very well and just perform.

The one thing I have learned to weed out potential duds:
- Get them to do the actual job in the interview. Give them a real program to write/debug, write a real testplan etc. We made a mock simple program with a bunch of obvious and subtle errors, give the candidate the code and the application and just obvserve/guide them. See if they can actually use a computer and not just know the theory.

That works for the technical folks. Now that I'm hiring managers it's a whole different ball game and it's much tougher. Any tips on that would be appreciated! Hiring a dud manager is 10x worse than a dud engineer because of how much they can screw up.


Trede

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 114
  • Age: 50
  • Location: IL
Re: Managers - hiring staff
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2014, 02:54:44 PM »
As a manager, I'm a big proponent of using "behavioral interview techniques."  There's a ton of info and examples if you google that, but the gist is to get the interviewee to describe past job performance or situations as examples of how they'd handle the things I need them to handle, or to get at their character, etc.  Questions like "Tell me about a time when you solved a really difficult problem" or "Give me an example of a time you were having difficulty with a colleague and how it was resolved" make interviewees be more specific than traditional questions like "What do you consider your strengths/weaknesses" and so forth.

When I'm interviewing multiple people for a given position (and who doesn't), I actually prepare an interview sheet and take notes during the process.  First, it's fun to see people react to that, but it's my interview, I can do it however I want.  The first section of my sheet has the same questions for everyone, tailored to finding out if the candidate has the skillsets I need.  The second section is different for each candidate, and asks clarifying or probing questions about details on their resume to make sure I understand it, to give them the opportunity to highlight their experiences, and to weed out (let's face it) the occasional BSer.  I find having the same Section 1 questions for all candidates keeps me honest when I go to compare them and choose the best fit for what I need.

marty998

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6490
  • Location: Sydney, Oz
Re: Managers - hiring staff
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2014, 04:20:02 PM »
Love the responses so far. I'm a corporate financial accountant working in an environment of constant productivity and automation. I give it 10 years before I'm no longer required and a machine is able to do my job.

In time, they will need someone to program the machine in its understanding of accounting policy. So I should probably start retraining as a software engineer soon.

One thing I look for is how the prospectives will fit in with the existing team and how it may assist the others with their own development. For example if my existing team could build their skills by training and mentoring the new person.

I agree with elaine:

Thinking back over our best hires, I'd say enthusiasm and passion, reliability, work ethic, and fit. They have to be a good fit with us and almost as important, we have to be a good fit for them.

I can teach accounting to anyone who is wiling to learn. You can't teach enthusiasm and passion in the same way.

marty998

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6490
  • Location: Sydney, Oz
Re: Managers - hiring staff
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2014, 03:25:01 AM »
Update:

So we found someone who was a knockout. Beautiful cover letter, resume had exactly what we wanted, you could tell this girl was going to be a star. She passed the interviews no trouble, we made the offer and BAM! she got picked up by another company before signing.

Went back to the drawing board and was lucky enough to find someone just as good with the technical skills and personality. Fingers crossed she does sign on the dotted line.

So many people looking for jobs...we had over 400 applicants.

Apples

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 917
Re: Managers - hiring staff
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2014, 05:46:03 AM »
We run a farm, so our employees are usually not the type that have a complete resume and could actually answer a question about how they handled a certain situation-they just don't think that way.  But I know our criteria is a little offbeat, so I think it would be fun to share.  So we look for:

1.  Personality-First and foremost, they can't creep me out or be angry when we ask simple questions.  You'd be surprised how many people this weeds out.  They also have to be interested in the interview, not obviously hoping it will be over soon.
2.  If they're middle aged, then they can't have a string of short-term jobs (we only ask for 5 years of work history; 4 or more jobs is a bad sign, and 3 is not great).  If they're young, then we ask why they switched jobs.  Generally, it's because they're still figuring out what they want to do, and as long as they know we work outside and on equipment, we are willing to take a chance on them.
3.  Experience on a farm, forklift, truck driving, outside work.  If they've been working in an office for years, they're probably not going to make it here.
4.  Relationship status with people on the farm.  We have refused to hire someone's kid and cousin.  We have, however, hired brothers, a nephew-in-law, and the first and second husband of the same woman who share custody of kids.  It mostly has to do with how the person we currently have would feel about x relative being here.

And if we find out, married/has kids/renting or owns a home/large vehicle payment.  We obviously don't ask for these things, but it's surprising how many people tell us this kind of information.  The more obligations on this person, the more likely they will stay for a longer period of time, and that they won't quit after a few bad days.  It is helpful sometimes to have men always looking for work and not wanting to take off early b/c they need the money.  But that's a secondary consideration.

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3006
Re: Managers - hiring staff
« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2014, 12:55:19 PM »
Quote
Love the responses so far. I'm a corporate financial accountant working in an environment of constant productivity and automation. I give it 10 years before I'm no longer required and a machine is able to do my job.

I work in accounting too (federal audit). Do you have anything more to say about that? I wonder if it'd going to be sooner. Do you only hire CPA's?

MayDay

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4019
Re: Managers - hiring staff
« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2014, 01:53:26 PM »
My H has been trying to hire someone lately. The most interesting thing about their search (to me) is how skeptical they are about why someone would want to relocate across the country to semi-rural OH.  Anyone local gets major bonus points.

marty998

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6490
  • Location: Sydney, Oz
Re: Managers - hiring staff
« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2014, 02:14:51 AM »
Quote
Love the responses so far. I'm a corporate financial accountant working in an environment of constant productivity and automation. I give it 10 years before I'm no longer required and a machine is able to do my job.

I work in accounting too (federal audit). Do you have anything more to say about that? I wonder if it'd going to be sooner. Do you only hire CPA's?

Our CA designation is (IMO) better than the CPA designation. Yes, being a CA I do prefer CA's as well.

And yes, 10 years is probably a stretch, may well end up being less than that.

The machine will still require someone with accounting policy knowledge to program it, and I doubt it will be able to perform judgemental tasks like provisioning and impairment testing. Everything else though....well we'll wait and see.

auntie_betty

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 307
Re: Managers - hiring staff
« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2014, 02:52:41 AM »
Anyone being interviewed would do well to remember that the interviewee is also under pressure to get it right. (Hmmm, should be having an interview myself in next week or so, must remember this!)

There is a gut reaction when you first meet someone (and a weak handshake impacts on this). It doesn't follow that an initial good impression means they will continue in that vein, but you can often tell 'no way' within 30 seconds, but still have to go through the motions. I've often thought a secret trapdoor which deposited them outside the building at the flick of a switch would be less painful all round! I've never changed a 'no' gut reaction.

Apart from that - basic ability to do the job obviously, but I take that as a given from their resume. So it's 'fit' with the team that matters, especially as they can be working away together.

Mind you, it's so long since we appointed anyone I'd need a refresher course!


Cressida

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2422
  • Location: Sunset Zone 5
  • gender is a hierarchy
Re: Managers - hiring staff
« Reply #19 on: October 27, 2014, 03:04:42 AM »
I'm a corporate financial accountant working in an environment of constant productivity and automation. I give it 10 years before I'm no longer required and a machine is able to do my job.

I'm a corporate financial accountant as well, and I just don't see this. And I'm something of a pessimist worrier, so if this really were the case I'm sure I'd be totally stressed about it.

I just don't see it as a candidate for automation. How does a machine look at a journal entry or account reconciliation and know that circumstances dictate a change in procedure? For that matter, how can a machine even do a bank rec? What am I missing?

marty998

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6490
  • Location: Sydney, Oz
Re: Managers - hiring staff
« Reply #20 on: October 27, 2014, 03:50:02 AM »
6 years ago I had a job as a bank reconciler. I was replaced by an MS access database.

Most journals posted into the GL system of the bank I work in are automated.

FX revaluations, foreign currency translation reserves, 95% of tax transactions, everything to do with payroll, and of course the interest accruals processes on which the entire bank is built. It's all automated.

What automation can't yet do is the in depth analysis against strategy. We will still need people to interpret data, but soon enough there won't be too many journal processors running around.

« Last Edit: October 27, 2014, 03:52:12 AM by marty998 »

erae

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 90
Re: Managers - hiring staff
« Reply #21 on: October 27, 2014, 04:42:08 AM »
There's a great blog about all things workplace related, but with a focus on the hiring process through the eyes of a hiring manager: askamanager.org.  Highly recommended.

happy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5309
  • Location: NSW Australia
Re: Managers - hiring staff
« Reply #22 on: October 27, 2014, 05:36:29 AM »
Having been fairly involved in recruitment over the years, I recall being taught: "past performance is the best predictor of future performance", and found that by and large to be true.  So I would try to assess that by questions regarding past behaviours (as per Trede), reference checks, preferably where I could speak to the referee, reputation and "word on the street" (where known.)

Interviews will screen out some obvious non-starters, but some people interview well and are appalling in the workplace, and vice versa.


Adventine

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1262
  • Age: 30
  • Location: Manila, Philippines
Re: Managers - hiring staff
« Reply #23 on: October 27, 2014, 06:23:39 AM »
There's a great blog about all things workplace related, but with a focus on the hiring process through the eyes of a hiring manager: askamanager.org.  Highly recommended.

+1. Ask A Manager is an excellent resource.