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• The Internet: Most companies have discovered the advantages of Web sites in presenting almost unlimited amounts and kinds of information about your firm and about your job openings—in text, audio, graphic, and video formats. Not only is the Internet a great way to get your recruiting information out to a wide, even international audience for minimal cost, but your Web pages are on the job 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
• Want ads: Want ads have long been one of the most commonly used ways of publicizing job openings. On the plus side, they are an easy (if expensive) way to get your message out to a large crosssection of potential candidates—both locally or nationwide. On the minus side of the equation, running a want ad can generate a huge stack of job candidates—many of whom may be completely unqualified for your position.
• Temporary agencies: Hiring temps, or temporary employees, has turned into an effective way to hire new employees. When you hire a temp, not only do you get the benefit of his or her services, but if you like the employee’s performance, most temp agencies will allow you to hire the employee on a full-time status for a nominal fee or after a minimum time commitment. And what’s really great is that if you don’t like the temp you’re assigned, you can simply call the agency, and they will send a replacement.
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• Employment agencies: Employment agencies are almost required if you’re filling a particularly specialized position or high-level executive, are recruiting in a small market, or simply prefer to outsource the recruiting and screening of your applicants. You’ll pay a lot of money for the privilege—one-third of the employee’s first-year salary, or more—but you’ll probably end up with truly top-notch candidates for your job.
• Professional associations: Almost every profession has an association that look out for their interests. Doctors have the American Medical Association, elementary school principals have the National Association of Elementary School Principals. Most associations offer job search services for their members and, if you are looking for candidates with specialized experience related to the association, the association will likely welcome your job listings (which they will generally publish for free on their Web site and in newsletters, and for a nominal fee in journals or magazines).
Be creative when you’re looking for someone to fill your job openings. The ideas above are the most common, but they are by no means the only way to find the right candidates for your job.
BECOMING A WORLD-CLASS INTERVIEWER
Once you’ve narrowed the field down to the top three or five applicants, it’s time to interview. But first, a question: What kind of interviewer are you? Are you the kind of interviewer who doesn’t even look at the candidates’ resumes until five minutes before they walk in the door, or do you take time in advance to “get to know the candidates” in advance, well before they arrive?
If you want to become a world-class interviewer, then you’ve got to seriously prepare for your interviews. Your best candidates have spent hours preparing for their interviews with your company; don’t you think
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that you should spend at least as much time getting ready for the interview as the men and women whom you’re going to interview? (We do.)
Asking the Right Questions
The central focus of the interview process is the questions that you ask your job candidates and the answers that you receive. Asking the best questions gets you the best answers. Ask lousy questions and guess what you get? Lousy answers—answers that won’t help you decide whether or not the candidate is going to be right for the job.
Great interviewers ask great questions. According to Richard Nelson Bolles, author of the perennially popular job-hunting guide What Color Is Your Parachute? (Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 2004) you can categorize all interview questions under one of the following four headings:
1. Why are you here? Ask yourself: Why is the person sitting across from you going to the trouble of interviewing with you today? You have just one way to find out—ask. While you may assume that the answer is that he or she wants a job with your firm, you may be surprised at what you find.
2. What can you do for us? The candidates you meet are all going to try to dazzle you with their remarkable personalities, experience, work ethic, and love of teamwork. But, despite what many job candidates seem to believe, the question is not, “What can your firm do for me?”—the question that you want an answer to is, “What can you do for us?”
3. What kind of person are you? There are plenty of angels and demons in your candidate pool. No matter who you hire, you’re going to be spending a lot of time with him or her. Hiring someone you’ll want to work with over the long haul is essential—for your mental health, as well as the mental health of your colleagues and coworkers. Aside from basic personality, you’ll also want to take the time to confirm a few other issues while you’re at it: Are your candidates