August 25, 2015

Hiring headaches

By Jacki Hart CLP
Prosperity Partners program manager

Without a doubt, one of the most talked about challenges in this industry across every sector is finding good people. If you don’t agree, then you needn’t read on, because you’re obviously hiring right-fit engaged people, who are a valued part of your team.

If you agree with me, that right-fit hiring is a challenge, you may find this helpful.

One of the most important terms of the Prosperity Partners language is Right-Fit. As simple and obvious as this sounds, what’s not as obvious to people who go through the Prosperity journey with us is the importance of taking the time to define exactly what right fit is in YOUR company.

If you’ve struggled with wrong-fit employees, consider what your answer to these questions would be if you had the ideal (right fit) team:
  • “What are the things I’m discussing with staff at the start of every day?”
  • “What are the questions I’m being asked during the day?”
  • “When my staff is engaged and properly trained, the conversations I hear them having with each other sound like this……”
  • “When my clients phone me with feedback on their experience with my staff, they typically say things like…….”
So, if you’ve managed to paint the perfect picture for the answers to these questions, why is there a gap between what’s ideal for your company, and what you have now? My guess is it all boils down to the gap between the core values of the company culture and the core values of your team.  

When a business is clear on who it is, and why it is, very cool things happen. People who just get it, both staff and customers, seem to gather and engage with each other in a seamless way. The reason they get it is because internally, they are aligned with the core values inherent to the exchange of services and value. This core value stuff is what drives the invisible dot connecting and attitudes found in the dynamics of every company. It’s staff to staff, staff to customers and vice versa.

If you hire just warm bodies, what do you expect the result will be? If you can’t find anyone except warm bodies, then at least make the effort to find ones who are wired in a similar way to how your company leadership and core team think. First impressions are SO important. And, so are meaningful conversations with applicants. If you have a stack of resumes and none of the candidates have the hard skills (technical knowledge) that you’re looking for, consider what soft skills they can bring to ease your headaches.

One of my best mentors told me many years ago, “You can’t teach someone to smile.” It’s true. Some people either have a genuine natural tendency to be pleasant and co-operative, while others just don’t. Some were raised with respect for their elders, and some weren’t. Who would you rather have in your midst? What questions can you think of to ask in an interview to discover these traits? Better yet, what are the core values of your company (the non-negotiable attitudes, like respect, adaptability, happiness, diligence, mentorship, professionalism, integrity, pride etc.)?

Consider this: If you’re aiming at nothing, you will hit it with huge accuracy. So, what are you aiming at when you interview candidates? What is Right Fit? Here are some questions you might consider asking:
What is the best job you ever had and why did you like so much? Tell me about the best boss you ever had — what was it about him/her that you liked so much? Please give me an example when a co- worker corrected a task you had completed — how did it make you feel? What are some of the qualities you appreciate most in your co-workers? Describe the best day at work you ever had. What is it about this company that interests you? What do you hope to learn by working here? What is the worst day you’ve ever had at work? Can you tell me about a time when you did something with friends outside in the rain?

It’s absolutely amazing how quickly you can rank applicants who lack the hard skills you’re looking for, in order to find those who are most likely to contribute value to your business when you ask open ended questions like these. What are the perfect answers for your company an applicant could give? Would that candidate be likely to show up on time every day with a smile, eager to learn? Will they pull their weight and be engaged?

In this employment market where most applicants lack the skills you need, what more can you ask for? So at this crucial time of year, when you’re building (and sometimes re-building) your team, save yourself the headaches — hire Right-Fit people.

Jacki Hart may be contacted at