Recruiting a Winning Team

As fantasy football season begins, many of us turn our sights to creating a winning team. Fantasy football is an easy outlet to pick individuals with the best attributes and build a winning virtual team. As you try to select individuals to add to the team at your business, you may find that building a real work team is not as simple as building a virtual team. As businesses grow, every company reaches the point where it is time to add one or two more people. Every company wants to find the best for the job. The big question is how to create a dream team in the real world.

Mentioning that your company is growing will prompt recommendations from friends and neighbors and soon resumes will start pouring in. Looking at one resume after another may make you realize that you skipped a step. Before you decide to add an employee, take the time to think about the work you hope your new employee will do. How much of your work will you be passing on to the new employee? What types of tasks will you expect the new employee to accomplish? Are you going to train the new employee and wait for them to grow into the new job or are you looking for someone to come in and make a difference right away? As you consider the key components of the job, it is also a good idea to think about what type of employer you are. Do you expect that things will be done exactly as you do them now? Do you expect that work is accomplished and you don’t want to give detailed instructions? The answers to these questions will help define the qualifications and attributes of a successful new employee.

Now you know what you are looking for. So, how do you screen resumes and conduct interviews to be sure you find someone who really meets the qualifications and style you are after? There are a few items that you can easily see on a resume. The first is degree requirements. If you are looking for someone with a specific degree and it’s not listed on the resume, then that candidate doesn’t have the qualifications you are looking for. Another scan of the resume should look for any breaks in employment. With a tight economy, breaks in employment aren’t necessarily a red flag, but you’ll want to ask about them in an interview.  A resume is the applicant’s first impression. If the resume is full of misspelled words, missing words and poor organization, this won’t likely improve on the job.  If you are looking for a creative individual, the resume will probably reflect creativity in the margins or layout. If creativity is one of the attributes you’d like in your new employee, that’s a great fit. However, if you are trying to fill a routine job, you may want to gauge the applicant’s real interest in the position with a phone interview.

Interviews are a great source of information, but since this is the last piece of the hiring puzzle, hiring employers often give it the least amount of time and preparation. Before the first applicant arrives, here are some basics. Let the applicant do the most talking. A great format for the interview is to ask the applicant to go over their career history. Start with where they went to college (or other school) and why they chose that school. The answers to that simple question will tell you a lot about what motivates the applicant. Continue to ask about school experiences. What courses did the applicant take? What were his or her favorite classes and why? What were his or her greatest successes in school? What were his or her most difficult courses and why? Through these questions you can learn how an applicant likes to work (large group, small group or independently). Move on to ask about each position on the resume. Why did the applicant choose that job? What did the applicant work on? Always follow up when an applicant says, “we did…” clarify to find out what the applicant really did and what activities he or she simply supported. Ask about successes and failures for each position. Always ask why the applicant left one position and moved to the next. This information will help you learn what motivates the applicant and will provide him or her with a chance to explain any breaks in employment. Don’t forget to ask the applicant what he or she finds attractive about working for your company and what he or she hopes to learn in the new position. These questions will often give you insight into whether the applicant hopes to stay and grow with your company or whether the applicant views your position as a stepping-stone to somewhere else.

Think about how much you know about a player before adding that player to your fantasy team. You’ve probably examined the player’s stats and evaluated their performance over multiple games. Moving position by position through the resume starting with school is a long process, but it keeps the focus of the interview on the applicant and lets him or her tell the whole career story. Use the time in the interview to learn all you can about the applicant. Review what you wanted in your new position and then pick the applicant who is the best match of qualifications and attributes. Gaining a productive new employee who is successful in the position will be worth the time spent making the right pick.

By Chris Sarabia

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