10 ways to hire poorly…

Hiring new staff for your storage facility isn’t as easy as it looks, but here are some sure-fire ways to botch it up.

1. Hire in a hurry
Your old manager is about to finish up, you’re going on a holiday and there isn’t anyone to replace them. These circumstances have disaster written all over them as the majority of recruitment decisions made in haste end in tears. Someone once said that ‘desperation is the worlds worst perfume’ and it certainly applies in hiring. As good candidates can be scared off by an overzealous approach by a prospective employer, take your time, try to think ahead and anticipate your hiring needs. Even if it means getting a relief manager or a caretaker in for a couple of weeks, then it is a small price to pay.

2. Write boring ads
In a candidate-short market when good people are hard to find, how you represent your business to prospective employees is directly linked to the quality of the candidates that you will get responding. IF the ad is boring, unimaginative and dull..guess what the quality of candidates will be like? If you have the creative instincts of a Siberian gnat, get someone else with the skill to write a good job ad for you, and make sure you stand out from the crowd!

3. Don’t bother preparing a job description
Going into the interviewing process without a detailed job description of the day-to-day responsibilities of the position, along with your expectations of the person in the role is like walking the high-wire without a net…you are going to come to grief. The more information the candidate receives about the role, the company, your expectations of them, and the precise activities of the position, the more likely that the person will work out well. Narrow the gap between their expectation and the reality of the job with lots and lots of information.

4. Make instant knee jerk decisions
“I can tell what a person is like in 5 seconds” is something I often hear from business owners and managers. Funnily enough – their staff turnover is usually very high so they get plenty of practise making bad decisions!

5. Have no interview process
Poor interviewers judge candidates based on how they look, or how nice they are. Candidates that tick these boxes usually get an easy ride through the interview, and any negative information tends to be glossed over. It is far better to have a standard set of questions and a process that you follow through with every candidate and reserve your judgement to the end of the interview. Not every candidate hits the ground running and it is in your best interests to give every candidate the opportunity to show you what they are capable of.

6. Interview on-the-fly!
If you are interviewing candidates without giving the actual interview so much as a second thought until the candidate walks through the door, then you are doing yourself, your business and more importantly, your candidates an enormous disservice. You should go in to the interview having thoroughly dissected the resume, looking for irregularities, inconsistencies (spelling mistakes!) and noted down areas that you need clarification on to better understand their suitability for the role.

7. Make them feel unimportant
Interviewing candidates in your office reception area, sitting behind a large messy desk, or taking phone calls during the interview is a great way of telling candidates you don’t really care about them and that the interviewing process is an interruption to your day. Candidates need to feel important and valued. Many will have taken time off from work, bought new clothes, fretted over the meeting and had a sleepless night the night before the interview. The interview process is harrowing enough without being treated as a distraction. Create an interview environment that is relaxed, quiet, and encourages the candidate to be open, honest and at ease. That is when you get the most, and the best, out of a candidate.

8. Give them a job after a 20 minute interview
How much time would you put into researching a $1000 computer for the office, or a new mobile phone? Days? Weeks? Certainly hours!Making a $40-$50k investment on the strength of a 20 minute interview just doesn’t make sense – yet many employees are hired in just this way. If you don’t spend at least 45-60 minutes with each candidate you can’t possibly get enough information out of them to make an informed decision. Probe, delve and dig to get into the candidates head and find out what makes them tick!

9. Hire without doing a reference check!
A reference check doesn’t mean merely reading written references provided by the candidates (in 15 years I have never read a bad written reference). It means asking the candidate who they reported to in all their previous work experiences and if it is ok for you to contact them for a reference ( and if “no” – why not???) Then DO the reference check. Even if the work was completely unrelated to the work you need them to do. It is their behaviour that you need to know about, timelines, attention to detail, attitude, team work, because if they behaved in a certain way in their old jobs, they may behaviour similarly in the position you’re offering.

10. Throw them in the deep end
Most candidates who leave a job prematurely cite a lack of induction and insufficient training in the first few weeks, leaving them feeling insecure and ill-equipped to do their job as the main reason for leaving. If you want it all to end in tears, DON’T provide up to date office procedure manuals, DON’t buddy them up with someone capable of teaching and training them, and DON’T have them professionally trained in the computer system that is critical to the business and let them just pick up the system on the job!

As you can see there are a number of simple things that can be done to dramatically improve your chances of sorting through candidates. When the success of your business sometimes hangs on the quality of the people who are dealing with your customers it is worth doing everything you can to increase your chances of getting the best people available.

Richard Kellaway
Richard is General Manager of Caretakers Australia and specialises in providing permanent and temporary managers for the Self Storage Industry. He can be contacted on 1300 654 068 or richardk@caretakersaustralia.com.au

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