Hiring A Great Employee Series
Part 5: Working Interview
Invite your qualified applicants with a positive outlook, and a determined skill set to a paid working interview. Do not allow preconceived notions to talk you into dropping anyone out of your applicant pool. You may be very surprised to find how talented people can be wrapped up in an unassuming package. Do not listen to your brain and make assumptions. I repeat. Do not listen to your brain and make assumptions. Anyone that has passed the qualifications, positive outlook and skill set hurdles when applying for your job opening should be kept in the applicant pool.
The working interview is an applicant’s chance to put their attitude, skills and work ethic to the test. This is your chance to appear organized, professional and a purveyor of great communication skills. Offer prospective employees tips on what to wear, eating arrangements, length of work day to expect, etcetera. If you will provide a meal, do not wait until they show up with a sack lunch to tell them. If you have written policies, such as a dress code, cell phone or tobacco use policies, make sure you let them know in advance. A full day of work will give you the necessary insight on their ability to fit in and their level of stamina. Work directly one on one with the applicant to observe them in action, even if it is cleaning out a cupboard or a supply closet. You may be able to have some conversation while watching them tackle an unexpected or unfamiliar task. Put them to work with other members of your team as well. Discuss with your team how the applicant performed in your absence. Jot down a few notes in order to provide them with feedback at the end of the day. Bad habits on their “best day” will not likely improve.
Once the working interview is complete, put a check in their hand and thank them for their contract labor. Let them know that you will contact them in an appropriate timeline. The next day is suitable if they are either your last candidate, or someone whom you already deemed as unacceptable. Scheduling your working interviews back to back will help you to respond to all of the candidates in a timely manner. Setting up a job offer should be done quickly, as well. A qualified employee may have other offers looming and delaying a call back for more than a few days often results in losing them to a different employer. This is not fate; this is your choice, so move quickly. Be specific, “I will call you on Friday afternoon.” This will help them to arrange their other interviews and offers. Retraining your conscious brain to connect with people after collecting real data and not gut reflexes, will help you to find people that fit naturally into your organization. Remember not to trust your snap judgements about people. People can often surprise you.
About the Author
Dr. Colleen Lewis is a 1996 graduate of Kansas State University, College of Veterinary Medicine. Her career has taken her to many places as a practice owner, consultant, embryologist, and mentor. She enjoys mixed animal practice, teaching, traveling, farming and high school sports with her husband, Andrew and their three boys.
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