Hiring for any job has its challenges. We’ve all been there. Things you can say, things you can’t say – that’s the easy part. Reading between the lines and figuring out just who your candidates truly are? That can often prove difficult. People practice for interviews. They get coached. They research commonly asked questions and best practices.
If your candidates are still in school, they probably have a resume that borders on being professional. If they have been out in the real world for a while, they may have paid a pro to make their resume shine. And then there are the honest, hardworking folk with life experience and grit. They may have poor computer skills and no resume, but there is just something genuine about them that screams, “Give this person a chance!” So what’s a business owner or hiring manager to do? How do you sort through the available candidates and come out with a good hire?
Sure, you can agonize over what questions to ask. You can be all types of clever and compile a list of rough questions. Questions are sure to give you some insight and also trip up the interviewee in the process.
But is that what you want? What’s your goal? What type of candidate are you looking to hire?
Run a Google search for qualities and skills employers are looking for. It’s quick, provides an excellent starting point. Yes, you can swap out a quality or two to better fit your situation, but here’s a typical list. Substitute as you see fit.
8 Qualities and Skills You Need to Look For:
- Communication Skills (written and verbal)
- Honesty & a Sound Character
- Work Ethic
- Determination & Persistence (maybe some Grit)
- No Drama & the Ability to Work in Harmony with Co-Workers & Clients
- Eagerness and Willingness to Add to Their Knowledge Base and Skills (Driven)
Now that you reviewed the list, you can stop pondering the right questions to ask. Why not have your candidates’ show you who they are instead? Get them doing and get them proving to you who they are. Their qualities will shine through. And if they don’t? Move on.
You don’t want them if they don’t already embody the qualities you are looking for. Let’s face it. If you know what you are doing, you or someone in your organization can TEACH, MODEL, and COACH a new hire. But character and drive? These things can’t be taught. A person either has these qualities or does not. Hiring is an investment. There are risks. You won’t always win.
Try These 4 Recommendations:
Let’s say, for example, you are hiring for a retail sales position. Start simple. What four things do your current employees in that position do day in and day out?
- Communicate with customers and leads
- Merchandise product
- Sell something
- Move stuff
How do you get your applicants to prove their prowess in these areas? How do you get them to prove they can do what they claim to be able to do before hiring them? Again, just keep it simple.
1. So you’re a Good Communicator: Prove it
Hand them a laptop and have them draft an email and send it to you. Require them to attach some images or a video (their choice). Tell them the content of the email message is up to them. Provide some ideas. They can introduce themselves, tell you about a product, or share something they are passionate about. Whatever they want. Explain to them that if hired, they will need to follow up with customers and leads on the phone and by email. Let them know this exercise allows you to see and gauge their current ability to communicate. Give them as much time as they need, within reason.
This exercise will set the stage nicely for expectations, and you will learn a great deal. Some people will wrap it up in 3 to 5 minutes and wow you. Others will wrestle for 15 minutes and then hand you garbage. The point is NOW YOU KNOW.
2. Time for Some Merchandising
Clear off an endcap or a shelf in preparation for the interview. When it’s time, hand the applicant a basket or a cart and tell them to walk around and fill the cart. Then lead them to the empty display and have them stage the items they picked up as best they can. Explain this isn’t a deal-breaker if they haven’t done this sort of thing before. Let them know that everyone is expected to put out merchandise as it comes in and restock shelves as needed. Explain that, in retail, reworking displays is constant, and you need to see where their current abilities are in this area.
Merchandising is a learned skill and can be taught. How people handle doing this will vary. Some people will smile and jump to it, and others will simply look lost. What you’re looking for is their motivation and drive to get the task done, as well as their attitude doing it. Are they excited for a challenge, looking to prove themselves? Or are they lacking in confidence or perhaps even lacking in motivation to try and do well.
3. Sell Something
For this one, you just need to ask them to sell you something. Anything. It doesn’t matter what it is. The facts can be wrong, and accuracy is not the point. What you’re after is evidence of their ability to sell. That, and for you to see firsthand what their method is. If you have many applicants and you need to narrow down a list of promising candidates, consider making a sales pitch part of a second interview.
This is a great way to see what they are made of. You also get to provide them with further insight to what will be expected of them.
4. Move Stuff
If you are like most pool and spa businesses, it’s all hands on deck, all the time, especially during those busy months between spring and fall. When something needs doing, you do it, whether your title is “manager,” “salesperson,” “installer,” or “cashier”. Chances are, whoever is closest will end up slugging 50-pound chemical containers or some bags of salt. Welcome to the pool industry. Good lesson.
Safety first, though. Model the correct way to lift. Then ask if they would be willing to demonstrate proper lifting techniques and move some chemicals around. Not much, just enough to paint the picture that moving heavy stuff is in the job description. And that helping customers to their vehicles and loading up is business as usual. You need to know the physical ability is there to meet this business need. And it helps to know right away if an applicant thinks the task is beyond their ability or beneath them.
By the way, it’s always a good idea to run these suggestions by your HR department or adviser.
All those questions you like to ask in an interview, ask away. There are tremendous benefits to asking great questions. Just know that there is another way worth trying, as well. You may find, as I have, that these four hiring steps provide you with more insight into the hiring process. This practical approach works.
So give it a try and let us know how it goes!
Why The Get Smart Group?
At The Get Smart Group, we know the industry because we are active in the industry. We help sustain your company’s growth well beyond simple hot tub marketing and marketing for pools. Our employees don’t just sit behind desks. Many have sold hot tubs and swim spas, and continue to do so, staying sharp and in the know. We offer a unique perspective and provide coaching all along the way. Plus, our services come with reporting that gets explained with full transparency on how our efforts on your behalf or working.
If you would like to see all that we can do for you, simply click here and we will reach out to you shortly to schedule your free marketing consultation.