In my last column, I introduced the Hiring for Fit topic. I wrote about the importance of providing store managers with the proper tools, knowledge and skills that will enable them to successfully hire the best job applicants. I also discussed the importance of hiring for attitude, train for skills. There are three distinct phases of the interview process: 1) Pre-Interview, 2) Interview and 3) Post Interview. My company’s research has revealed that the best retailers divide their time among the three phases as follows: Pre-Interview—20%; Interview—55%; Post Interview— 25%.
In this month’s column I’d like to focus on the Pre-Interview phase.
The best way to think about the Pre-Interview phase is to remind yourself of a quote from Abraham Lincoln: “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax.” As with most things in life that are worthwhile, preparation is everything. Here are six important steps that make up the Pre-Interview phase:
1. Determine what you are looking for
If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’ll never find it. What type of employee do you want working for you? I know, sometimes a heartbeat is the only criteria. But we all know where that leads, don’t we? What competencies and behaviors do you want your new hire to consistently demonstrate? To help you in this area, think of the best employee who ever worked for you. Now make a list of the behaviors that this best employee demonstrated while working for you. These are the behaviors you’ll want to identity during the interview.
2. Review the job description
It’s always a good idea to review your job description before the interview to make sure that it’s up to date and accurately reflects the job for which you’re interviewing.
3. Review the job application for potential interview questions and red flags
There can be as many as 26-red flags on the job application that you’ll need to get clarification on from the job applicant before you move on into the Interview phase.
4. Conduct a pre-screening phone interview
Don’t underestimate the value of your time. Conduct a pre-screening phone interview in order to answer two types of questions: confirmation and clarification. Confirmation questions confirm things like starting pay, shift, hours, start date and benefits. Clarification questions are designed to get you answers to the red flags you’ve identified on the applicant’s job application. If the applicant can’t answer these questions to your satisfaction, no need wasting your or the applicant’s time with an interview.
5. Develop your core questions
To avoid potential discrimination lawsuits based on hiring practices, you’ll want to develop a core set of questions that you ask all job applicants. This is particularly important if you’re a multi-site operator. In addition to avoiding potential lawsuits, core questions ensure you’re comparing apples to apples when evaluating multiple job applicants.
6. Select a location for the interview
Our research found that 96 percent of operators conduct their interviews onsite at the store. While the store may be the most convenient location, it certainly isn’t the best location for conducting interviews. It’s hard to stay focused on the interview with all the distractions that are inherent in a retail environment. Try to conduct your interviews offsite, like the public library or a fast food restaurant. While a fast food restaurant may be busy, at least you won’t be interrupted by your employees, customers, vendors or the phone. First impressions are lasting. If you don’t show the job applicant genuine interest and respect during the interview, they’ll probably interview elsewhere and a potential superstar may slip away.
To order Hire the Best C-Store Employees – Interviewing tactics for hiring employees who can actually make you money visit www.cstorecoaches.com.