In a previous article on Computerworld, recruitment expert Phil Sullivan reminded us it's time to get back to basics when hiring new employees. When the labor pool was shallow, it was not uncommon for managers to offer prospective employees jobs right on the spot at an initial meeting. Today, Sullivan says it's time to return to the standards of hiring, and the first step is a detailed reference check.
Here are several other strategies for ensuring you hire not only qualified people, but also those of integrity:
- Ask integrity questions. Ask a candidate what he or she would do if they caught a coworker or supervisor in a lie. Called case study interviewing, the practice encourages managers to ask "What if. . ." questions to find out how the person would handle certain situations. This could be an important part of an interview for anyone seeking a job with security ramifications.
- Verify the resume. Ensure that employment dates and education are valid. "You'll see a lot of resumes that just have years, but you should ask for months, also," Sullivan says. "It's not that gaps are bad, but they need to be explained."
While gaps in a resume aren't a deal breaker, a serial job jumper is someone to look out for. "I would question how much a person really can accomplish if they're in a job for less than a year," he says. "Bottom line: Take the time to pay attention to the body language cues, take the time to ask, 'Why did you leave?' I interviewed a person who had a number of jobs over the past five years and it seemed all of her jobs turned sour at around nine months. There seemed to be a pattern in interviewing her that in the 9- to 12-month mark in every job something was going wrong that wasn't her fault."
- Double check the last salary figure. "Make an offer subject to confirmation of most recent salary," Sullivan says. "That's an area where people do exaggerate a lot in my experience. The people with the most ethics don't lie."
"Right now, you can't afford to have a bad hire, when you could a few years ago," Sullivan says. "[Think about] how much it costs in time, effort and lost productivity."