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Small Business: Why Staff Selection Interviews Should Be The Last Part Of The Selection Process

Article by Leon Noone

Summary

The staff selection interview is a privilege not a right. It’s a major feature of the selection process. To gain full benefit you must do it at the right time: as the final act in staff selection.

The Great Selection Heresy

The purpose of staff selection is to choose a person. Wrong! The purpose of staff selection is to get a job done. The person is the “vehicle” if you like, you use to achieve the job results. Unless you know exactly “what” you want, you’ll have trouble deciding “who” is to do it for you.

“Doing” Is More Important Than Talking About Doing

You can’t tell what a person can do merely by talking about it. I can describe how to play the guitar, how it should sound and the correct placing and moving of fingers. I’m a lousy guitarist. An interview allows applicants to talk about what they can do. That’s no guarantee that they can do what they say.

Interviews Favour The Articulate and Amiable

The candidate who speaks cogently, clearly and sensibly has a great advantage at interview. If the same candidate is also pleasant, friendly, socially at ease and knows how to make you feel good, the advantage multiples. Unfortunately, performing well at interview is no guarantee of successful on job performance. They’re often miles apart.

The True Purpose Of The Interview

You conduct selection interviews for only two reasons

• to discover whether you and the candidate can work together: whether they “fit your culture”

• to determine whether the candidate demonstrates any obvious shortcoming that would prevent them being effective in your business.

If your business is painting flagpoles you don’t want candidates who suffer from vertigo or colour blindness. This is especially so if they also believe that painting flagpoles is environmentally unsound. You’re in real trouble if you discover these shortcomings after they start work with you.

Importance Of Testing

If you want to know whether and how well an applicant can do something, the method is simple. Get them to do it. Never grant an interview unless you’re absolutely confident that the candidate can do what they say they can do. Test, test, test, test!

Job Analysis

Every staff selection process starts with a thorough job analysis. The analysis should state what’s to be achieved, the goals of the job. And it must describe the actions to be taken so that the goals can be achieved. I like to ask” “If a trained seal were doing this job perfectly, how would you know?” Then, and only then, should you concern yourself with the “sort of pardon” you need, their background and experience.

Use The Telephone

Have candidates phone you. Check to see whether they have the background and experience you require to do the work and achieve the goals of the job. Be tough. Near enough isn’t good enough. If you believe they have the skills, invite them in and test their competence. If they prove their competence arrange a face to face interview.

Conclusion

When you’re satisfied that a candidate’s competent, your interview can concentrate on culture fit and comfort. That’s what a staff selection interview should be about.

About the Author

Leon Noone helps managers in small-medium business to improve on-job staff performance without training courses. Some say his ideas are too unconventional. Find out for yourself by reading his free Special Report “49 Practical Tips For Better People Management In Small-Medium Business”. Simply visit http://managingemployeeperformance.com and download your free copy now.

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