We talked a little while ago about creating a happy, flourishing culture within your business and one of our tips was to hire well. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that hiring well is the single most important thing you can do to create a flourishing corporate culture since your entire corporation depends on the employees you hire. Given the importance, I thought I’d share a short story about how not to hire somebody.
In a previous life I worked for the construction company my father owns. Of course, when you’re one of the more computer-literate people working for a company, you end up doing a lot of random computer tasks.
A day came when my dad needed a new equipment operator. Since these days many, if not most, job postings are online, I had to become the HR rep and hiring manager in addition to my daily grunt work. I was assigned the task of filtering out the bad résumés (and I mean completely awful) for the new position and giving the good ones a call, then I’d forward the best candidates to my dad, who would schedule an interview.
After reading through about a hundred poorly written résumés from unqualified individuals (tell me more about how you did construction for six months in high school), we ended up with one decent applicant who answered all the questions perfectly on the phone, and whose résumé led us to believe he had the experience to be a perfect match. My dad scheduled an interview with the prospect on a job site and, satisfied with the answers to the questions, he hired him.
Within a week, it was obvious this guy was a total bum with very little experience in operating equipment. After a few months of putting up with his shoddy work, my dad canned him when he ran a piece of equipment into a company truck.
Most of the problems my dad had could’ve been avoided very easily that day they met on the job. By testing him on the equipment or by scheduling a working interview to sample his skills, my dad would’ve seen up front that the guy wasn’t the right fit. Failing to test prospective employees is a mistake my dad will never make again.
Asking questions just isn’t enough. Even though it can be poisonous to their careers and reputations, people will lie in interviews and on résumés out of desperation for a job. Or maybe they’re a bit over-confident or delusional when it comes to their abilities. It might go without saying, but a clever liar can get pretty far through an interview process without actually having all of the skills they claim, and your company can’t afford to waste time and effort trying to make the wrong person fit.
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