Many attorneys and other business owners start interviewing people for a job without clearly understanding what kind of person would best fit into the organization. Hiring is often done out of desperation. The attorney or business owner has a large amount of work to complete and knows he/she can’t get it done on time alone so he/she looks for someone to help. Good hiring decisions are made with planning. Your goal is to find someone who find the job meaningful and will be happy at work. Here are some ways you will want to prepare before the interview.
- Make sure that you are hiring for the right job. Take an inventory of all the necessary tasks in your office or department. Ask each person to initial the tasks he/she is responsible for. Make sure that the attorney is responsible for the tasks that only an attorney can handle all other tasks should be done by the person who is paid the least and is capable of doing the task. Where are the gaps? Often times you think you need someone to cover one group of tasks when in fact you need something quite different.
- Identify the skills and competencies required for the job you are hiring for.
- Rank the order of importance of the skills and competencies from most important to least.
- If there are others in the firm that will work with the newly hired person get their input on the skills and competencies required and their rank order. Come to some sort of consensus on the necessary skills etc and their relative importance.
- Write a clear job description based on what you have learned from your research in the first four tips on this list.
- Create an interview evaluation form for each candidate. Use a separate form to rate each candidate on whether he/she has relevant education, necessary experience, the identified skills and competencies as well as communications skills, motivation, initiative and appropriate presentation (dress and appearance).
- Prepare some key questions that will allow you to make a fair evaluation. Be sure to ask each candidate the same questions.
- Determine what assessment tool you will use for the candidates you are seriously considering hiring so that you are sure that they will have a behavioral style that fits the job and the team. (DISC behavioral style is an excellent assessment tool for this.)
- Determine the salary range for the position you are hiring. Think through whether you are willing to take a weaker candidate and train them in exchange for a lower salary. Do you have time to do a good job of training the employee? What is the cost of your time to do the training? Is it worth it? How are you as a trainer?
- Learn to listen carefully. Give the candidate plenty of time to answer. Have your questions sheet ready so that you are not thinking about your next question while the candidate is answering the one you just asked. Take notes. Allow for silence during the interview. It will give the candidate time to think. Candidates often fill the silence with some worthwhile ideas because they are given the time.
Alvah Parker is a Practice Advisor (The Attorneys’ Coach) and a Career Changers’ Coach as well as publisher of Parker’s Points, an email tip list and Road to Success, an ezine. Subscribe now to these free monthly publications at her website
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Parker’s Value Program© enables her clients to find their own way to work that is more fulfilling and profitable. Her clients are attorneys and people in transition who want to find work that is in line with their own life purpose. Alvah is found on the web at
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