The Do’s and Don’ts of Hiring

Posted by Mark Piquette on June 24, 2014

Your business is only as good as its people. Unfortunately, every business inevitably makes regrettable hires or will in the future. In fact, 90% of participants in a recent Trust Company of America Genius Session on the do’s and don’ts of hiring indicated they had made at least one regrettable hire. Following the best practices laid out by Kathleen Brenk, TCA’s Vice President of People and Culture, should ensure that your good hires outnumber the bad ones.

Knowing what your company stands for is essential in determining what people to bring on board, says Brenk. She suggests taking the time to describe your organization’s values in five words. She says it’s okay to be aspirational and describe what you hope your company will be. Likewise, it’s okay to hire for the future. You just need to have a vision of who you are and what you want to be and how a prospective employee fits into that vision.

In terms of the hiring process, all candidates should be given a similar interviewing experience. Grilling one candidate interrogation style, and holding her to the same standard as someone who is allowed to interview in a more laid-back environment, is neither fair nor wise. A conversational interview is best, says Brenk. For one, candidates usually aren’t prepared for a conversation. They’re prepared for more behavior-based interviews that ask about strengths and weaknesses and the like. A conversation allows you to see how a candidate thinks on her feet and also gives you a better sense of how she might be to work with. Brenk suggests having this meeting at a coffee shop, away from the office, because how a person treats service people is often indicative of overall behavior and values.

It’s also important that you, the interviewer, be yourself. That way, the candidate can decide for herself whether she might fit into your firm. Check your own references, beyond those provided by the candidate, to ensure you aren’t getting a distorted image of the candidate’s work ethic. (LinkedIn is generally a good resource for this.) There are also certain legal considerations with which all firms must comply, such as Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

For more information on the do’s and don’ts of hiring, or for help deciding on your firm’s core values, call Trust Company of America at 303-705-6000.

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