How to choose new people for your job?

Determining the necessary skills

If you want to find the person suitable for the job, the first step is determining the competencies you require and do it by work analysis.

Put in simple terms, work analysis is describing the work job itself. Let’s say that as a busy owner/manager you want to find someone who will perform important business tasks instead of you. The first thing you have to do is turn to yourself – thing about what you do and what are your advantages and your weaknesses.

Let’s say you need help in the office. The phone keeps ringing, and memos and e-mails are piling up. Besides, orders are waiting…

Think about what kind of skills a person who would do this job has to have. (again: Work analysis) and determine the lowest level of skills you are ready to accept. In the example of solving the problem of the phone calls and e-mail we will assume that in the beginning you wanted to hire a secretary, but however, afterwards you discovered that there are no secretaries in your place of work and that they are very expensive. Maybe it would be more simple and cheaper to hire a typist instead of a secretary? Besides, you can also consider students who are equally skillful or even more skilled at some tasks than typists and many of them are looking for a part-time job.

And something else: when you start looking for a person who will help you in your work, you have to specify exactly what you are looking for. For example, you published an add that you are looking for a person for working in sales. What should candidates know? Just how to do sales… Handling import and export of goods? Take care of the entry and exit of goods? Handle clients lists and advertise your products? Manage the store when you are not there? Job description of a sales person can mean different things to different people (more in the article Work analysis). Of course, you have to be aware of the skills that the candidate has to have and of the ones he can learn from you as an employee.

Finding a candidate

When you recognize what skills you are looking for in a candidate, then you are ready to contact the sources that can help you in looking for job candidates. In Croatia, besides the Unemployment office, there are several employment agencies or agencies for part-time employment/renting of workers that can help you when looking for job candidates. You should also check what agencies that do candidates selection, head hunting (finding employees) and similar have to offer.

Selection agencies with licensed psychologists will be happy to do an assessment of candidates by performing a psychological testing if it is necessary for the skill you listed (author’s note: it usually is!). You have to once again list all the specific skills you are looking for in a person you plan to hire, because the test and the type of person you will get depend on this.

Sometimes the test results offer additional description/candidate profiles connected to work assignments from the job advertisement, except the ability of the candidate to do the job. Sometimes you can find out will the candidate be prone to conflict, will he take sick leave often, will he be thorough and reliable… Of course, work conduct projections are never completely reliable; however, a serious psychologist never promises that it is…

Another way of reaching candidates is placing a sign „job offered“ in the shop window (if you have one). If you don’t have one, you can make sign „looking for employees“ fors a small amount of money which you can post (on places where it is allowed) at places frequented by people, halls etc. The shortcoming of these approaches is that unqualified workers also start asking about jobs, and this eats up time which is crucial for your business and/or family. Solution comes in the form of agencies which deal with the whole procedure of staff selection and present you with only the best candidates.

Placing an add in the newspaper you will reach a great number of employees, however, if you list the phone number of your firm, what could happen is that instead of serving clients you end up answering phone calls. The solution again comes in the form of selection agencies who, according to the agreement, take care of this, too. Add published with a return address in the form of a mailbox will help you protect your identity as you check the candidates.

Schools and/or colleges are a good source of work candidates. In the majority of vocational and technical schools there is mandatory student training within which trainees can work with you, while at the same time getting trained for work. The same applies to students, and the majority of them work part-time and become employees of the company after finishing school.

You can also find candidates through contacting friends, neighbors, clients, suppliers, current employees, local youth organizations, clubs you are member of or even the nearby military base, where people sometimes leave the army service or are looking for job for their family members.

The way you are looking for employees depends on the type of the job you do, the location of the company and you yourself. You can choose from different sources, if you are willing to invest time and effort into finding the right candidates with corresponding skills.

Forms for registering an employee

The best thing in all of these efforts is they result in employing one good employee. Of course, you do need methods of checking through which you can check the candidates and choose the one which suits you the best.

The registration form facilitates the interviews and the selection process. Using it you can gather information on the competencies, but on the other hand, the form has to be simple. Be careful when asking for personal information, which is not related to the performing of the job. You can copy the examples of the form which you can find here.

If you have your own forms, ask the candidates to fill them out before talking to you. This will make sure you have a great introduction into the interview with the candidate. It also represents a written note on the experiences and past employers. Further on, it is the first thing in which you will see to what extent does the candidate abide to the rules.

And don’t forget that the Labour Act (revised text – NN 137/04) forbids discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex or national background.

If a candidate has work experience, other recommendations are not that important. You can immediately ask him/her to go to the psychological assessment. However, if the candidate has limited work experience, then you should try to get additional recommendations from people such as for example school psychologists, that is from people who can give you objective information. Recommendations that candidates list are usually useless, because most of the employees list only the recommendations from people who will say something good about them.

Interviews with candidates

The aim of a business interview is to find out as more as possible about the business experience of the candidates, his work habits and skills. The goal is to get the candidate to talk about him and his work experience. This is best accomplished through asking specific questions.

What kind of work did you do on your last workplace? How did you do it? Why did you do it? (find out more here)

Assess the candidate’s answers. Does the person know what he is talking about? Does he avoid to answer or are you completely sure he has all the skills necessary to perform the job? Can the candidate answer your questions or your doubts?

After finishing the interview ask the candidates you are interested in to contact you later. Never promise anything until you have finished interviewing all the potential candidates.

Checking the data about the candidate.

Very often the best source for this is the candidate’s former employer. Some of the former employers will give you the information you need via phone, however, it is best to ask about these information in writing and ask for a written reply.

In order to get clear answers ask the former employer a couple of specific questions about the candidate which he can answer with a yes or no, i.e. with very brief answers. For example:

How long has the employee worked for you? _____ .
Did he perform the job not satisfying _____ average ______ or excellent _______?
Why did the employee leave your firm?

When you check the credibility of all the data on all the candidates, then you have created the conditions for staff selection, and a good employee can help you in building a stronger company and making a profit. A wrong employee can cost you both time, material means and sometimes a client (more here).