4 Keys to Hiring Power Runners as seen in InPRACTICE Magazine
I just don't understand. I used my best interviewing techniques and questions. I checked her references and they were great. My instincts said, "She's a winner. I poured my heart and soul into training her and now, six months later, she's failing miserably. I'm going to have to let her go." Sound familiar? It has happened to all of us.
One of the most difficult tasks a business owner faces today is finding the right person for the job. Most follow a suggested interview guide and trust their instincts. They hire the individual and hope that with proper training and motivation, the individual will succeed. The difficulty with this approach is that it is human nature to hire people we like and that have similar personalities to our own.
If you are a Doctor of Chiropractic and are hiring an associate, then you probably have a 50% chance of hiring the right person for the job. However, if you are hiring for a position for which you have little experience, chances are you will fail and the position will become a revolving door. With the average hiring mistake costing a company $17,000 - $20,000, competitive pressures make hiring right the first time a necessity.
There is a better way. I have learned that the key to productivity and profits is having the right people in the right jobs. I call people with the right skills, motivation and work ethic to do the job "power runners." Put the power runner in the job and you will have a top producer - someone you wish you could clone. Put many power runners on the job and you will have a fast growing and exciting practice. A practice your competitors wish they could clone.
Four Keys to Hiring and Retaining Power Runners
The first question to answer is, "Is the individual's personality compatible with what you are asking him or her to do?" Many corporations have career-broadening assignments for their employees based on the idea that the broader the experience, the better the employee. Unfortunately, many employees are miserable in career-broadening assignments because their personalities are not compatible with what they are being asked to do. Their performance lags. They become frustrated and what was once a rising star becomes a management problem with an attitude. Usually the employee leaves before the harried manager can determine the root of the problem. Doesn't it make sense to determine a person's compatibility with a new job before they are hired or promoted?
How is compatibility accomplished?
I recommend the use of a personality profile. First, test your most successful people in the position. The results from our test will uncover their dominant personality type, as well as 20 job-related traits. Our program will then model the results through a process called "baselining." This "baselining" creates a hiring or promotion personality trait standard by which you can judge which of your employees or applicants is most compatible with the position.
SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE, EXPERIENCE
The second question to answer is "Does the individual have the skill set to do the job?" Usually this can be determined through good interviewing questions, checking references and giving the applicant a skills test that is relevant to the position. Recent research has shown that many degreed applicants lack the basic skills to do the job. I sincerely recommend the use of basic skills aptitude tests. My company uses tests that were developed by a Doctor of Education to specifically measure the applicant's computer knowledge, math, spelling and vocabulary aptitude. Bottom line, what good does it do to hire someone who can't open Microsoft Windows, add and subtract or compose a business letter? Make sure they have these basic skills before you hire.
The third question is, "Will the individual work?" For the answer, I recommend you rely upon the in-depth interview questions provided by the questions included in Charts One and Two. These sample personality profile reports provide in-depth interview questions for the applicant's scores that may be a problem on the job. These questions are specific to the applicant's profile and not "one-size-fits-all." Also included are interview questions to help you determine the applicant's work ethic. The following questions are designed to supplement the profile report interview questions. Keep in mind that it is acceptable to modify the questions to suit your needs.
Mission/Sense of Purpose
- Who is the most successful person you know in our industry?
- What are your goals in life?
- Tell me about your five-year goal?
- Your ten-year goal?
- For the first year or two, is there any reason why you wouldn't be willing to commit to working 9 am to 9 pm, three to five days a week?
- Tell me about something you have accomplished that required great perseverance.
- Tell me about the jobs you have had that required self-discipline and perseverance.
- Tell me about something that made you decide to give up and why.
- Do you use a day timer?
- May I see it? (Look to see if it is filled out.)
- How do you prioritize your "to do" list?
- Have you taken any seminars on time management? Which ones?
Character and Credit History
- When we conduct our character and credit checks, will we find anything questionable?
- Check driving, credit, criminal and employment history.
- Check personal references.
The final question we must answer is "If I hire this applicant, who inside my organization is best to mentor him or her and jump start his or her productivity?" How many times have you hired the "right" applicant, seen them perform excellently during the "honeymoon", then watched their productivity slowly fall into non-existence?
In a recent research project, we discovered that often a new hire had all the "right" ingredients for success. The new hire was then assigned to a supervisor or trainer with whom they were incompatible. The result was after 120-180 days, the new hire became demotivated, disheartened and left.
How can this be prevented? By making sure that the new hire and initial supervisor, trainer or mentor will be compatible. You can check compatibility with a simple comparison of their personality profile results. If the manager and the new hire are opposites in more than ten of the 20 job-related traits, then you may want to assign the new hire to another manager.
While opposites may attract socially, they usually fight at work. If the differences are not as extreme, then have an initial conference and show the new hire and manager how they are alike and how their differences can benefit each. Often, just showing two people how they can attack a problem from their different perspectives is enough to promote teamwork and jump start productivity.
Why do "power runners" excel in a position? Because:
- Their personality is compatible with the requirements of the position.
- They have the skills to do the job.
- They have the self-discipline and work ethic to deliver and follow through.
- They have a good supervisor/trainer/mentor with whom they are compatible.
With hiring mistakes costing the average company $17,000-$20,000, competitive pressures necessitate "hiring right and promoting right" the first time. To accomplish this, you must have a complete picture of an applicant's or employee's strengths and weaknesses and how they will fit into your organization. This picture must include an assessment of their skills, personality, work ethic and consideration of compatibility with the immediate supervisor.
Albert (Bert) Zinkand, President of Employee Selection and Development, Inc. has over 24 years of management and employee testing and development experience. His career began with Ford Motor Company, ultimately becoming the Midwest Regional Operations Manager of the Lincoln Mercury Division. He led a turnaround of over 20 automotive dealerships and district organizations and served on Edsel Ford's staff. His experience as a manager and Director of Craft Systems, Inc. led to collaboration with Dr. Kevin Cantwell and Tom Kendal in the recent enhancements of the Hire Success Employment Testing System.