"After 30 years of training, I'm increasingly convince that hiring is more important than training." - Dr. Stephen R. Covey
In general, when I buy a business book, I look for a few things. It should have something new in it that I don't know and not just be a compilation of the same old stuff on a particular topic. (This is often difficult. See my posts on Coping With Information Overload: Learning Only What You Need.) The new ideas should also be relatively inexpensive for my clients to implement. I usually prefer a lot of little ideas to a major new idea like, say, cultural change, that's unlikely to be used by my clients because it may be too big and expensive a change for them. And lastly, I’m always looking for ways to reduce conflict.
Given these criteria, I really like the book, New Ways To Hire Better People, by Bay Area psychiatrist, Pierre Mornell. It has a lot of practical, inexpensive ideas that will help you hire more effectively. For example, his idea of reviewing resumes in teams is both innovative and extremely time-effective.
Hiring is a difficult process and a bad hire can contribute to too much workplace conflict. Traditionally it's very hard to pick the best person. Mornell states that often the person who interviews the best is picked, rather than the best person for the job. In other words, people are chosen for their interview skills, instead of being tested for their actual job-related skills.
Mornell emphasizes that people should be called upon to demonstrate their skills repeatedly during the interview process. For example, he may ask potential employees to visit a company's store, plant, office or Web page and send a brief letter describing their reactions and constructive criticism. This is a great way to see if an interviewee understands your business and if he or she can make some useful suggestions about the way you do business.
He suggests many helpful ideas for interviews, such as sample questions and curve balls to throw at them (e.g. "How are you going to lose money for me?"), ways to take notes and techniques to raise unspoken problems. He also emphasizes that you should speak less during interviews and allow the person to speak as much as possible.
One of the main things I took away from the book was a sense of how creative the hiring process can really be. You can do so much that will involve and even inspire your candidates.
Mornell makes the point that it can cost a company 2 1/2 times an employee's salary to let go of a bad hire and find someone else, if the mistake is discovered in the first six months. He says that a $50,000-a-year employee will cost you $125,000 if he or she doesn't work out. This means you've got to hire the right people the first time.
And hiring the right kind of person also means you won't have to "remake" them in your training. For example, if they care about other people, you won't have to repeatedly teach them about the need for good customer service.
The bottom line is: Hiring is too important to be a hit or miss process. This book will help.