Tips and Techniques to Manage Difficult People

Posts Tagged ‘Interview’

5 Factors of Successful Recruiting

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If you are a business owner or manager you’ll be very much aware of the need to:20130628-1652591

  • Find new customers
  • Hold onto the ones you have, and stop them buying from your competitors
  • Get them to buy more of your products or services

You obviously can’t do all this on your own so it’s vital to have the best people working for you.

However, many business people seem to believe that they can employ almost anyone and train them or control them to do the job.

Can you imagine a manager or coach of a sports team employing almost anyone for their team – of course not! They’ll always pick the best person to score the points, work well with the team and help win the championship.

Only when you have the best people, can you train and motivate them to achieve the three outcomes at the top of this page.

Know what you’re looking for

The time will come when you need to interview someone to join your business or your existing team. If you work in a large organisation then this could be someone from inside the company. You might even be the owner of a small business and about to start your first employee. Whatever the situation, you’re going to have to make a decision about whether this person is suitable for the job or not.

1. Can they deliver?

This is the number 1 factor of successful recruiting. It is absolutely vital that anyone you employ can deliver the outcomes you need.

These could be more orders, or more happy customers, or fast maintenance turnaround; it’s what you and your team are judged on. You need to be clear in your own mind as to the outcomes you need.

2. Will they fit the culture?

You need to think about whether the person you interview will be happy in your company and your culture. Some people who move from a large company to a much smaller one often find it hard to adjust.

Some years ago I moved from a large international organisation to a small local company. I went into the job with my eyes open and had three successful years. However I often felt frustrated in the smaller company mainly by their culture and the way they went about their business; I was glad when I moved back to a bigger organisation. I just wasn’t a “small company” person.

3. Will they fit with the team?

Will the job applicant fit well with the existing team? Maybe your team are a group of loners who don’t communicate with each other but it’s unlikely. You can’t pick people who are all the same; you don’t want a set of clones in your team. However you need to pick someone who is on the same wave-length as the rest of the team.

Perhaps you could involve a team member at a second interview, they might have a better feel for whether the person would fit or not.

4. Can they fit with your style?

How will the person respond to you, will they be able to work with your style of management.

I’ve had applicants complain about their existing boss – ‘Do you know that he expects me to do such and such.’ And I’ve thought to myself, ‘That’s exactly what I’d be expecting as well.’

You’ve got to have a good connection with this person that you bring into your team. That doesn’t mean to say that you’re going to be best buddies but you’ll need to be able to work together.

Consider if you’re the kind of manager who likes to work closely with your team and regularly check their progress. If so, you’ll need an individual who wants structure and detail and is comfortable with close monitoring.

If on the other hand, you’re the kind of manager who sets outcomes and leaves the team to get on with it without much help from you. Then you’re going to need someone who’s happy to work with minimum supervision.

5. Will they be happy?

Job applicants don’t know what they’re getting into when they start a new job. They might think they know, but how can they when they’ve never worked in your team or your company before. Just as it’s a risk for you when you start someone new, it’s also a risk for them. You’ll never totally eliminate the risk but it’s your job minimise the risk for both you and the applicant.

I’ve seen too many people start a new job and then find that it doesn’t suit them, they don’t like it and they want out. It causes problems for you as the manager; so I suggest you do every thing you can to avoid it.

It’s not easy

Picking people for your team is one of the most challenging and important jobs you’ll ever do. Use every bit of information you can get your hands on, read their resume and study any psychometric test that’s been done. However be as good an interviewer as you can be.

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Employ People Who Think

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Old style management doesn’t encourage employees to think.not sure

That was certainly the case when I started work back in the bad old days, however it’s still prevalent in many businesses today.

It’s evident in many of the organisations that I work with that there’s a culture of – ‘I’m the boss – I tell you what to do – you don’t question it.’

The successful manager doesn’t react that way; he or she employs people who think!

They pick people with a mind of their own who aren’t afraid to say what they think and feel.

You need people who question, who challenge you as a manager.

If you want the job done…

I remember sitting in on a second interview with John, a manager client of mine who was interviewing candidates for a sales job. One of the candidates was a guy called Phil. He was a very strong character, full of questions and suggestions on how the job should be done.

John turned to me when Phil left the room – ‘That guy’s good, I reckon he’d be a good salesman for us, but I don’t think I could handle him.’

John was a much quieter type of person than Phil and I knew he felt uncomfortable with his style.

So I asked John – ‘What do you want this new salesman to do?’

‘I want him to bring in new business’ said John.

‘Do you think he can do that?’ I asked.

‘Of course I do, I just think he’ll be difficult to handle.’

It all comes down to outcomes. As a manager, what are you trying to achieve? What does your organisation and your boss want from you?

Don’t be scared

Of course you must consider how you’re going to work with a new team member, but you sometimes need to get out of your comfort zone and take a risk.

John hired Phil and he brought in the new business that John needed. Phil was always a handful and a challenge for John but they learned to work together.

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8 Tips for Successful Job Interviewing

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1. Relax the applicant20130628-165259.jpg

This is nigh impossible to do because almost anyone being interviewed for a job will feel nervous. However, don’t make it harder for them by creating some kind of pressure chamber or interrogation room.

Be warm and friendly and welcoming however, don’t get into too much small talk or before long they’ll be telling you all about their last vacation in Florida.

2. Set the scene 

Let the applicant know that you want to find out if they have the talent to do the job you need. Make it clear that you will be asking some structured questions and that you want them to say how they feel and what they think. Explain that it could be different from any interview they’ve had before and that you want to make a decision that is best for both of you.

Make it clear that you’ll allow time at the end of the interview for them to ask any questions they have. However, let them know that if they’re invited back for a second interview then that would be the best time for them to ask questions.

This interview is where you will decide whether this person has the talent to do the job; it’s not where you talk about the duties involved, the benefits or the salary. You can get to all of that at a second interview. If they ask any questions about salary, (if hasn’t already been made clear) then there’s no reason not to tell them. In fact, I quite like people who want to know what they’re getting paid.

3. The questions

Based on the talent you’re looking for you need to have prepared questions before the interview. Do not interview by the seat of your pants and ask questions as you think of them. You could then end up just having a chat and you will never uncover the talent you’re looking for.

You’ve heard all the stuff about open and closed questions; what you want in an interview is open questions that allow the person to go in various directions. You want them to reveal how they would respond if faced with the situations you know they’ll encounter every day on the job.

Be careful that your questions don’t give the applicant a clue as to the information you want.

You have to be careful of questions that telegraph the answers you want. ‘What do you enjoy most about being a maintenance engineer?’ is going to get you answers like – ‘I enjoy the challenge of solving customer’s problems.’ – Yuck!

4. ‘Tell me about a time’ questions are good

If you were looking for a customer service person who you wanted to build good relationships with your key accounts, then you might ask a question such as – ‘Tell me about a time when you built a relationship with a customer.’

If the individual is good at building relationships then they’ll immediately respond with a case history. If they ask you – ‘What do you mean?’ simply repeat the question. If you start to prompt them or put the question in a different way, then you’re in danger of telegraphing the direction you want the applicant to take.

5. Listen for specifics

Some applicants will answer the above question with something like – ‘I have good relationships with all my customers, it’s difficult to give you a specific example.’

The reason they say that, is because they don’t have a specific example. They may just be a processor of customers and don’t really build good relationships.

The good guys will tell you stories such as ‘I’ve dealt with Susan at the Acme Tool Company for the past two years. We didn’t get on too well when I first made contact because we’d let her down on deliveries a couple of times. So I decided to set up a system whereby I’d contact Susan once a week and discuss the order situation with her. We get on really well now and she’s even asked me to come and visit her company.’

6. ‘How do you feel’ questions are also good

You might ask an applicant – ‘How do you feel when a customer is angry about the service from your company?’ You may get the response – ‘It’s no problem to me, I can handle it, water off a ducks back, I sort their problem out.’

If you were looking for someone with the talent to empathise with your customers, then you’re not getting it here. The response you’re looking for should be something like – ‘I feel really uncomfortable for the customer when we don’t get it right, I realise that it must be very frustrating for them. I listen carefully to what they have to say and make it clear that I do care about their situation and tell them what I’ll do to resolve it.’

7. ‘What gives you great personal satisfaction’ is another good question.

Every individual is different and what is personally satisfying for one may not be for another. I’m sure there are many jobs that you wouldn’t think of applying for no matter how much they paid.

I find it hard to understand what anyone would find satisfying in being an accountant or a dentist; however many people do. Some people find it really satisfying to turn round a difficult customer or negotiate a loan. Finding out what an applicant finds satisfying will give you clues to their talents.

8. Keep thinking

The benefits of having structured questions prepared beforehand means that you don’t need to be thinking about what to ask next. You can devote all of your time to listening for the information you need.

It’s also important to keep your thinking brain engaged, don’t let your heart rule your head. If they were to say – ‘I hate customers who don’t know what they want.’ Don’t think – ‘It’ll be okay, they probably don’t mean that.’

The thing is, they probably do and it may cause problems with their ability to build the customer relationships you need. The trick is to believe what the applicant says and don’t put your own interpretation on the answer.

Too often a manager will interview someone and realise that they may not quite have the talent they’re looking for. The manager then thinks – ‘It’ll be all right, once they’ve started in the job I’ll train them, or I’ll sort them out.’

You’ll only be able to bring out a talent that’s there in the first place, so you’re going to have to be sure that it’s there.

As long as the applicant is talking and you’re carefully listening and thinking then you’re more likely to pick up the information you need.

 

 

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The Five Factors of Successful Recruiting

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Are you absolutely sure you know what you’re looking for when you come to recruit a new member for your team?

1. Outcomes

This is the number 1 factor of successful recruiting. It is absolutely vital that anyone you employ can deliver the outcomes you need.

In a previous ‘Motivation Shot’ I wrote – Recruit People Who Can Deliver the Outcomes You Need. If you haven’t read it, go check it out and come back here.

There are four other factors you need to consider

2. Company structure

You need to think about whether the person you interview will be happy in your company and your culture. Some people who move from a large company to a much smaller one often find it hard to adjust.

Some years ago I moved from a large international organisation to a small local company. I went into the job with my eyes open and had three successful years. However I often felt frustrated in the smaller company mainly by their culture and the way they went about their business; I was glad when I moved back to a bigger organisation. I just wasn’t a ‘small company’ person.

I’ve interviewed people in a similar situation. I remember one lady who I interviewed for a sales agent’s job at one of my clients. She was keen to get the job, she had loads of experience, all the skills required and I was confident that she could do it. However, when describing her current job with a large company it became very apparent that she wouldn’t fit into this smaller one.

She kept talking about all the things they did in her present company and how she went about her daily duties. I knew that this job she was applying for was totally different from what she’d been used to. If I had employed her I believe that she wouldn’t be happy, would end up not doing a good job and would probably spend her time trying to find a new position.

3. The team

Will the job applicant fit well with the existing team? Maybe your team are a group of loners who don’t communicate with each other but it’s unlikely. You can’t pick people who are all the same; you don’t want a set of clones in your team. However you need to pick someone who is on the same wave-length as the rest of the team.
Perhaps you could involve a team member at a second interview, they might have a better feel for whether the person would fit or not.

4. Your style of managing

How will the person respond to you, will they be able to work with your style of management.
I’ve had applicants complain about their existing boss – “Do you know that he expects me to do such and such.” And I’ve thought to myself, “That’s exactly what I’d be expecting as well.”

You’ve got to have a good connection with this person that you bring into your team. That doesn’t mean to say that you’re going to be best buddies but you’ll need to be able to work together.
Consider if you’re the kind of manager who likes to work closely with your team and regularly check their progress. If so, you’ll need an individual who wants structure and detail and is comfortable with close monitoring.

If on the other hand, you’re the kind of manager who sets outcomes and leaves the team to get on with it without much help from you. Then you’re going to need someone who’s happy to work with minimum supervision.

I once made a mistake with a guy I appointed into a field sales job. Because he was a college graduate I felt that he would be able to pick up the knowledge and selling skills really fast.

I’m the second type of manager I described above. I tell people what the outcomes are and let them find their way to achieving them. I keep in contact and give feedback when they do well and also when they need to improve things.

However this guy was at me all the time – “What do I do next, where do I go now, how do I do it?” This of course took up too much of my time. The others in the team made decisions themselves and regularly checked with me. This guy was a ‘bad fit,’ it didn’t work and he left very soon of his own accord.

5. They need to be happy

Job applicants don’t know what they’re getting into when they start a new job. They might think they know but how can they when they’ve never worked in your team or you company before. Just as it’s a risk for you when you start someone new, it’s also a risk for them. You’ll never totally eliminate the risk but it’s your job minimise the risk for both you and the applicant.

I’ve seen too many people start a new job and then find that it doesn’t suit them, they don’t like it and they want out. It causes problems for you as the manager; so I suggest you do every thing you can to avoid it.

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