6 questions to ask yourself before your next hire

By Mel Kleiman, CSP

Just as you should consistently ask applicants questions that get you all the information need, so should you question yourself every time you consider hiring a new employee. These six questions will help glean valuable company information and ultimately save time and money.

1. Can we do this job differently or can we do it without people?

Pay at the pump initiated the trend of providing a service without people. It also changed the nature of convenience store service forever. Once computers gave customers the ability to pay for their gas without coming into the store, many of them simply drove away.

This presented a two-fold problem for convenience stores. The first part is how to get the customers to spend more money, which means they have to enter the store. The second is how to hire higher quality employees, for as the number of impersonal transactions increases and the number interpersonal transactions decreases, interpersonal transactions become more important.

One of the products getting customers in the door these days is foodservice, which is often computer-driven. Made-to-order kiosks allow customers to sculpt orders without an employee interface, yet customers perceive it as better service. Technology is driving the increased productivity in our economy, which is why labor costs haven't risen along with the astronomical productivity increases we've seen.

2. Is management really committed to putting "A" players on the team?

Because technology has also made interactions between customer and employee more important than ever before, many companies are consciously working to hire better people.

Where in the pecking order do you want to play? "A" players don't have to play on "B" teams.

This also opens a large subset of important questions. Do you provide salaries and benefits that will keep "A" players on your team? Have you looked at what hiring "B" and "C" players actually costs you? Remember, three poor employees equal one average employee. Three average employees equal one good employee, and three good employees equal one great employee.

To get and keep "A" players, you must become an employer of choice. This doesn't always mean paying more money, but it does mean understanding that the way employees treat customers reflects the way their employers treat them.

3. Why should "A" players want to play on your team?

When I asked how many of attendees at a recent conference could list reasons why "A" players should want to play on their teams, only one hand went up. Having done this survey with more than 1,000 companies, I can tell you that fewer than 50 of them have such a list.

Developing a list of reasons why people should want to work for your company gives you a tremendous competitive advantage. Do you have a worker-friendly culture? Is your workplace a fun place to work? Almost everyone has benefits, are yours great?

4. Would you work for you?

It's an old saying and a very true one: People join companies and leave managers. You can hire great people even if you don't pay top dollar by putting them under great managers

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