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Top 10 Guidelines For Hiring Employees

Phillip Van Hooser

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I recently talked to a couple of leaders who were engaged in the process of hiring new employees. It was obvious they were not having a lot of fun. During our conversation, they peppered me with questions concerning the do's and don'ts of effective employee selection. I was glad they were interested. But, the process can be complicated.

In an effort to get you started on the right foot, consider these.

1. Don't rush. Invest the same time and attention in the process that you would on any other capital project you might be developing. After all, hiring a permanent employee is a major decision involving a long-term commitment of company resources.

2. Get several opinions. Don't let the hiring be done by the human resources department alone. The opinions of the people the new employee will work with are important if you want to encourage teamwork.

3. Aptitude tests can help in some jobs. Just be sure they accurately measure the requirements of the job. This can be a tricky area from both a practical and legal vantage point. Don't be afraid to ask for help from people who work closely with this issue.

4. Never hire out of pity! Everybody has needs and altruism is an admirable quality. But, that is not your major concern in your role as a hiring agent for your organization. The key question is “can this person bring real value and impact to this job?"

5. Beware of hiring individuals related to others in the organization. I am not suggesting it should never be done. Just be aware that the differences between close relatives can be far greater than the hoped for similarities.

6. Ask current employees for recommendations. Your current employees are unlikely to recommend anyone who will be a misfit or who will knowingly cause problems. Moreover, they know better than you do what is required for success on the job.

7. Study applicant school or work records closely. Remember that the best single indicator of future success is past success. The best single indicator of future failure is past failure. Never allow important issues such as attendance, work habits and personality characteristics to be glossed over as if they were unimportant.

8. Maintain a hiring priority list. Keep a list of good prospects in the order you would like to hire them, if they are still available when the opportunity presents itself. This will allow you to move quickly, but surely, when a position opens up.

9. Cover job requirements thoroughly. Be sure the applicant understands exactly what s/he will be doing, at what pay, on what shifts, for whom, with what prospects for advancement, etc. Avoiding these issues will only lead to problems later.

10. Finally, make them know they have earned the position. Take pride in having applicants work hard to earn a job with your organization. If the process of getting hired is too easy, they may assume they can coast through the activity of the job as well. A difficult task always provides greater pride once the objective as been accomplished.

Phillip Van Hooser is a leadership expert, keynote speaker and best selling author. His management training system, The Leadership Journey, has been used by companies all across the U. S. and beyond to help their people lower turnover rates, raise productivity, enjoy improved management/employee relations, manage change efficiently and communicate successfully with co-workers, superiors and customers. For more leadership strategies, sign up for Phil's newsletter and podcast at


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