Two Questions That Will Make a Massive Difference in Recruitment

I have spoken a few times before on the value of having a rigorous recruitment process so you recruit the best possible person. The right person adds so much value, they provide amazing customer service, they are open to new learning and feedback, they fit in well with your existing team and they reduce your own stress levels. Who doesn’t want a piece of this?

Unfortunately, a number of managers haven’t learned the key skills to recruiting the right people. They tend to hire in haste as they are so busy doing other things and then don’t have time to follow up during the critical first few weeks. This is the period when you really want to know if the new recruit is living up to your requirements or are they starting to slip and moving into a comfort zone already!

The old saying “Hire slowly, fire quickly” still has a lot of merits, yet it is often the other way around. Now I’m not quite so keen on the fire quickly part unless you know you have made a wrong decision and then it’s best to do it quickly rather than hope the new person will get there eventually. If you don’t use a rigorous recruitment process and just use the “trial” period to see if they work out, you are making a lot more work for yourself.

Recruitment takes time and focus. A great hire will add a lot of value whereas a bad one causes so much frustration and time wasting. The key part I want to highlight is the applicant’s values and passion for wanting to work with you. If their values match yours and they bring passion to the workplace you are on a winner.

Richard Wynn, a managing partner at Future You Executive Recruitment, said it best. In a recent article for Inside Retail, Wynn commented that “recruiting for values and culture fit, not just skills, is an important point that is gaining momentum among retailers. There is much less interest in chronologically walking through work experience on a CV than there is in truly understanding what a candidate is passionate about and learning what makes them tick.” I totally agree with Richard, and his comments reinforce our recruitment mantra – Hire for attitude and train for skills. It is extremely hard to train someone to have a positive attitude, to smile more, to show interest in customers if that is not their nature. Yet you can train someone to learn your products, how to use a point of sales and how to do tasks.

So, here are two simple questions you need to ask every candidate before you invite them for an interview when you first speak to them on the phone:

  • “Are you still interested in the job?” Now listen carefully how they respond. If the response is a positive “Yes absolutely” then they are showing the right passion. If it’s “yeah, I think so” then maybe they are just looking for any job and is the type of person you want?

  • Follow up with “What made you apply for this job?” Once again, listen carefully to what they say. If they provide some good reasons, then you can be confident they will bring the right passion to work, plus they might talk about why they like your business and are therefore aligned with your values and culture. If the answer is hesitant then you probably know they are not right for you and your team.

I hope these two simple questions help you to find that right person. When you do you’ll enjoy all of the positive benefits this person brings.

Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Retail Solution” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service, and selling skills.