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This article was written by Alex Sixt, a member of Entrepreneur NEXT supported by the Assemble Content team. Entrepreneur NEXT powered by Assemble is a freelance matching platform leading the future of work. If you're struggling to find, review, and hire the right freelancers for your business, Entrepreneur NEXT can help you hire the freelancers you need, exactly when you need them. From business to marketing, sales, design, finance to technology, we have the top 3 percent of freelance professionals ready to work for you.
Hiring a new employee is never as easy as it sounds. Anyone can present themselves well in an interview, but how do you really know that as a team member they are the right people for your company? The truth is that looking good on a resume and impressing even the most critical hiring managers is pretty easy for most people. The real challenge is making final decisions about hiring candidates. While there are no perfect criteria for every business, there are strategies you can use to make your decision.
There are many things to consider when adding someone to your team: personality, work style, and location are some of the factors to consider. While some of these aspects are difficult to assess remotely and even in person, a well-designed hiring process includes interacting with your employees or even asking for work examples. With remote working being the most popular option right now, working behind a screen can feel like a hiring restriction, but it can actually work to your advantage by showing how adaptable your new hire can be.
Hiring a new team member is never easy or safe, but you can take several steps throughout the process to feel more confident about your choice. However, remember that in any situation, whenever you feel like red flags are popping up, it is best to follow your gut and trust yourself. Fortunately, there are many ways you can review your new talent throughout the process to suit your company and your timeframe.
Here are some tactics you can use when adding a new member to your team:
Do a live interview.
A live interview is one of the most common ways to get to know a candidate. However, it can also be very misleading if you don't ask the right questions. By now, almost everyone knows how to answer the typical questions about their weaknesses, strengths, etc., which means your list of questions can be an easy ace for most applicants. To really get to the bottom of her personality and work style, consider compiling a list of questions that are tailored to your search (i.e. not from a random website).
When making a list of questions, consider what personality a new team member should have in order to be successful in your workplace. For example, if you're hiring a sales position, a good candidate should have a cheerful, outgoing, and determined personality who will help them with customer care. Think about what style of work you would like to have. A salesperson may be more in need of an independent style of work, while a copywriter should work well with teams as they have to work with designers, branding professionals, and more.
See also: 7 Interview Questions That Determine Emotional Intelligence
The number One problem Share among entrepreneurs today is finding, checking, renting, and maintaining competence
Check their references for a clearer view.
Checking references is easy without getting any real feedback. Browse through the typical questions about their interpersonal relationships, punctuality, work ethic and much more. Feel free to ask for testimonials on deeper questions like the type of work environment they thrive in, what their greatest achievements have been, and what notable challenges have been for the candidate. This can help you get a clearer picture of how well this candidate fits into your business and team culture.
If a reference mentions something that appears to be a potential minor problem or red flag, don't ditch the idea of fully recruiting the candidate. The story always has two sides. If you are very positive about the candidate, ask them about the topic that was raised in the reference and discuss what could possibly have led them to say this. Your explanation and attitude towards the situation will tell you far more about their character and abilities than it would ever be possible to bring the subject to face.
Related: 9 questions to the candidates' references
Let them meet the team.
Although we currently live in a remote world, meeting the team is still a possible and smart step in the hiring process. In the post-Covid workplace, employees may not sit shoulder to shoulder in cubicles, but they will continue to interact through communication channels and video calls. Thanks to Zoom and similar video chat tools, a team meeting is quite possible – albeit a bit cumbersome. It is important to observe how they interact with others to understand how they are likely to communicate with other employees and whether their personalities are a good fit for everyone.
Look for clues as they interact with the team. do you listen carefully or talk about others and often interrupt without apologizing? Observe whether they are distracted and on the phone or generally not engaged during the meeting. These are just a few red flags to look for during your induction meeting. After the call, contact your employees to get their impressions. They may have identified good or bad traits that you may have overlooked and offer great insight as they work closely with the candidate.
Related: How a Bad Attitude Can Corrupt the Team
Do a test project.
One of the most effective ways to get to know a candidate is through a test project. Providing a candidate with a smaller project to work on gives you a much clearer picture of their work style and ethics. To create an effective testing project, start with a task that takes about a week or so to avoid potentially wasting time that can drag on the process. Make sure it suits the type of work you will be doing in their role. If their role requires them to work closely with a team, make sure they work with others on the project and vice versa if their role is more independent. Regardless, make sure you give them clear directions to guide them through the process and avoid friction.
After completing the test project, meet with the candidate and give them honest feedback. This will help set a tone for open communication if you want to officially set it up. If you've worked with other team members, ask for feedback on the candidate's work or include them in the closing meeting for personal feedback. How the candidate receives the feedback is also very telling about the type of team member they will be.
Related: Most applicants don't pass my simple interview test right away. Here is how.
It is never easy to ensure that a new hire is successful in your company. However, if you take a few extra steps and go beyond the typical process, you can feel more confident about your choice.
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