Hiring the Right Person
Getting It Right
You have decided that you need to hire someone. Depending on the size and structure of your business, there may
be several "next steps". If you are a hiring manager in a mid-size or larger company, you may have to get a budget
variance, convince upper management of the need, and maybe even write the job description (and get approval for
that, too). If you are the owner of a small business, it may just be a matter of putting the job posting
No matter how many intermediate steps there are for your particular situation, eventually you come to the point
of trying to define who you are looking for.
What qualities and skills does this person need to have?
In order to answer that question, you need to think about the things this person is going to have to do in his
day-to-day role. Take a moment to imagine the activities and the interactions that will be happening. From that
view of successful interactions, work backwards to discover the skills, the aptitudes, and the attitudes
For instance, someone to greet customers as they enter the store and to ring them up on a touch-screen cash
register will result in a very different set of requirements than for someone to program the register. In the first
case, you might be expecting a friendly, outgoing person. Limited technical abilities are acceptable since the
touch-screen register will walk them through the process every time. Since it is a cash register and handling
money, a higher attention to detail may be required than someone who unloads boxes from trucks or greets people and
helps them find their way around the store.
Dealing with the public may dictate a certain attention to personal appearance (depends on the store-Nordstrom's
or Neiman-Marcus implies a different look and attire than Mad Dog's Dungeon-Clothing and Accessories for
..."if someone showed up with the must-haves (and nothing else),
would I hire them?"
In the case of the programmer, you would expect him to be familiar with computers of all sorts; able to type;
knowledgeable about the specifics of your computer hardware and operating system; able to communicate well enough
that you and he will be able to discuss what you want and how it should work; and probably several more things.
Attention to detail will be important, but personal fashion tastes may not be.
Now that you have an idea of what attributes will make a person successful in the job, you can begin to work
towards the job description and the job posting. I know. Many of you just flinched when I said job description.
Don't worry. Unless your company requires a formal job description, you don't have to do that. But it really is a
good idea to have some notes (at least) on what you will be expecting from this person. Those notes will help in
What can those notes do for you?
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