“Companies that unfortunately have gotten themselves in some type of employment trouble look for professionals with a success record of quick and effective solutions. Being fair priced doesn’t hurt either,” said Vice President Barbara Walters of The HR Advantage. “Companies that have an HR need, and are being responsive to that, need to look for someone who understands their business, their internal customers and who fits in well with their culture. Of course, in both situations, being up-to-date with the latest changes in employment law is critical.” Walters has 25 years of human resources experience. She has been an executive recruiter and a consultant, developing and facilitating the training on four EEOC Consent and Conciliation Decrees. Walters is currently working on a book on strategies for improving workplace performance.
“I find that many interviewers are almost as nervous as the candidates they talk to. It is important to know how to uncover key soft job skills such as how a person analyzes, makes decisions, solves problems, gets along with others, etc. Ask behavioral questions that highlight how people think and have worked in the past. There are also a couple of very valid pre-employment assessments, low to mid cost, that confirm the information gathered during the interview process.”
(Photo courtesy of Barbara Walters)
When it comes to helping small businesses with their HR needs, Walters recommends asking human resource companies the following:
- Would we be better off hiring an internal HR person rather than outsourcing the role?
- Can’t we use software to handle our HR needs?
- How does your service work? Who needs to be involved on our end? How will we communicate?
- What HR functions does your service include?
- What guarantees do you offer?
- I need to sell the idea to the business owner. How can we measure the return on our investment?
- How familiar are you with our industry, business size, marketplace, etc.?
- Can you provide references?
For companies starting the hiring process, Walters offers these tips:
- Begin by analyzing what outcomes the job needs to produce. A written job description will help the company post the position, determine whether a candidate can perform the role and can be used as a measurement once an employee is hired.
- Be aware of resume enhancement. Everyone wants to impress a potential employer. Ask questions about red flags such as gaps in employment, reluctance to explain the reason for leaving a previous position or unusual periods of self-employment.
- Test technical skills such as Excel, math, sales, etc. and check references. Many companies conduct web searches to verify facts.
- Ask behaviorally based questions. ‘Tell me about a time that….’ ‘Describe how you handled this _____ in your last job.’ ‘Give me an example of a mistake you made and what you would do differently next time.’
- Use objective assessments that measure both aptitude and attitude to validate your decision.
- Conduct follow-up interviews. Make offers conditional on passing a drug screen, background check and reference check, etc.
This article was written by Robin D. Everson for Small Business Pulse