Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Finding Out If Your Potential Candidate Is a Problem Solver

Give me an example of a problem you faced on the job and tell me the steps you took to solve it.

Simple problem resolution skills are always good to expose and explore with any potential new hire at any level. As is the case with many interview questions, this one gets interesting in the follow up and probing you do based on the initial answer. Listen carefully for indicators that problem solving may be stressful or challenging. Also look for the candidate that gives you 2-3 similar types of problems they had to solve, which beg the question as to why the problem keeps coming up.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Has Your Potential Candidate Helped Prior Employers Reduce Cost?

Have you helped to reduce cost at your previous organization? How?

A very critical question in today's market. Separate those that followed the lead of others (e.g. I was asked to reduce my use of paper and work on documents electronically more often ---so I did) versus those that led (e.g. I presented 5 ideas and 3 were adopted). Look for creativity while keeping the overall goals tied to quality of service and product intact. Lastly, look at why the "waste" existed in the first place, insuring that the candidate wasn't the initial source in some egregious way. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Determining the Best Severance Policies for Your Company

What can you tell me about formal severance policies and practices? What is the norm?
- Director, Administration; Insurance

While there are multiple variables, such as the nature of the terminations and size of workforce being reduced, the general consensus seems to be that 2 weeks per year of service is the norm. The range we've seen for the upper side of the scale is one month per year, with the low end being one week per year. Benefit continuation for the resulting severance period in many cases these days is also included, although you need to insure that the continuation is on the basis that the coverage comes on COBRA vs. as if the former employee was still employed.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Asking a Potential Candidate What They Would Change at Their Former Position

If you could change one thing about your last job, what would it be?

Great question that should give you a window into what may bug this candidate, with the goal being to red flag a response that is likely to also be present at your place of business. For example someone saying they wish it was less intense, and your environment is very intense, is telling you they are not a fit. Always probe to ensure that you understand the response, doing so without tipping them off to the idea that you don’t like their answer. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

How to Ensure Employees Read Your Electronic Employee Handbook

Our firm has our Employee Handbook posted online. What can we use as a receipt for an employee viewing the book?
- Accountant, Retail Services

You have several options. Check with your IT person to see if they can provide a report that shows when the handbook is accessed and by who. That report can provide some coverage for you. Ideally, you should incorporate a button on the last page that has the reader click to signify they read the book, agree to the terms, etc. Whatever online method of tracking you pursue be sure to print out the report and place it in the employee's file.