Friday, October 16, 2009

The Best Applicant Ever!

In the early days of having my first real estate agency, me and my two business partners would conduct all our interviews for new staff.

We’d spend what we thought was an appropriate amount of time with each applicant – about 40 minutes in a first interview. What was strange though was that we loved every applicant, they were all the best applicant ever!

After sitting down to look at our interview process to find out why we loved everyone we found it went something like this:

• Applicant enters the room
• Applicant introduces themselves
• Myself and my business partners proceed to speak for 38 minutes about why our company is awesome
• Applicant nods politely
• We love applicant

We were just so darn excited about our company that we did a sales pitch to the person who we should have been hoping would do a sales pitch to us! When we figured this out and started letting the applicant pitch to us we had a lot more success.

We also discovered some great interview questions along the way, these are a few of my faves:

• What do you know about our company? (c’mon a simple google of your business should give them some great info here if they’ve bothered to take the time)
• Why are you leaving your current job? (as soon as anyone started to have a go at their previous boss, regardless of how justified it might have been, they’ve shot themselves in the foot – after all what will they say about their next boss? Discretion is key.)
• What would you do this situation…? (use a real tricky situation you’ve had happen at your workplace)

Depending on the type of organisation / type of staff member you’re looking for I also love:
• An in workplace trial period (maybe a day where they come and work for you)
• After this ask them what they think can be improved about your workplace, what did they enjoy, is this the type of place they can see themselves working?
• Where you can’t do an in house trial period, set them a task to do between job interviews 1 and 2 such as look at our 3 biggest competitors websites and tell me what they have that we don’t… go to this open home and tell me what we could be doing better… rewrite this piece of literature… (find a task that will give you an indication 1. of their work ethic and 2. of whether they’ll be good at the job you’re hiring them for!)

And above all else, hold off on the sales pitch during your interviews! (I still find that a hard one!)

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