Taking Some of the Guess Work Out of Hiring the "Perfect" Candidate

by Eileen Nonemaker

Eileenís long, successful career in sales and sales management makes her an easy choice for those leaders and managers who are responsible for generating revenue and achieving corporate goals and have no time to waste getting there. Clients appreciate her ability to help them quickly select, assess, train and develop their sales teams whether they are selling products or services. New teams get brought up to speed quickly and experienced teams develop what is necessary to perform at the next level. Through goal setting, skill refinement and the development of accurate forecasting skills, she has helped both individuals and teams develop strong success strategies. Utilizing her formal training as a business coach and consultant to supplement her natural ability to connect with people, Eileen gains the trust and respect needed to interact with both leadership and team members. When coaching individual clients, Eileen becomes a 'lady on a mission' to help them succeed. Eileen is able to help them stay focused on their objectives and establish goals that take them to that next level in their personal and/or business lives. Her coaching typically involves teaching people how to set measurable goals, how to look at goals objectively and how to re-evaluate them periodically to stay on track. Eileenís goal as a coach is to help her clients find the right balance between career and family so they have the best of both worlds.

Recently I have spoken to two clients who are relatively new to the hiring process. One is expanding her publishing business and the other needs to replace the assistant she hired six months ago when she started her estate planning firm. Both have expressed frustration in screening resumes and getting the right people into the interview process, ultimately making the right choice.

The publisher was approached by an experienced woman who could work in both the editorial and marketing aspects of the business. She asked all the right questions and seemed to have all the right answers. When she missed the in person interview with the publisher and another team member, there was no advance call and no follow up apology. When contacted by the publisher, the candidate had a feeble excuse that the publisher could not accept. When told by the publisher that she would not be moving forward and this would not be a "good fit", the candidate followed up with several unprofessional, accusatory emails and an unpleasant phone call, a very strong over reaction on the candidate's part. When I reviewed the resume (after the fact), I saw that this candidate's work history included numerous one or two year positions, hopping from business to business. This should have been a red flag to the publisher and at least addressed in the phone interviews to see why she needed to or had to move around so much.

After making a "bad" hire a few months ago, the estate planning lawyer was stymied with several good candidates and not wanting to make the same mistake this time. This entrepreneur is very aware of her strengths, style and preferences, but unsure how to determine the good match for this key role in her small practice.

Similar to the two mentioned, there are many cases of executives new to the hiring process struggling to make the right decisions. I have noted some considerations that can help take some of the guessing out of this process.

  • Red flags -
    • multiple, short term positions; long, unexplained gaps in employment
    • TYPOS - at Microsoft, if there is one typo the resume goes in the circular file
  • What is their decision making style; good people skills, long term planning, practical work styles?
  • What are their values; economic, altruistic, etc.?
  • What are their behavior styles?
  • Do they handle things in an adult manner, or are they parental or childlike?
  • How well organized is the resume, do they list practical skills as well as work experiences?

Some of the most successful hires have been the result of administering specific assessments and multiple interviews. Candidates should expect to meet several members of the team and in different environments. This can take time, so setting those expectations upfront is valuable and allows the interviewer and interviewee time to consider all aspects of the situation.

There is no rushing a good hire.