If you follow our blog, you may have caught part one of our, “Now Hiring” series. If not, be sure to check it out here.

The hiring process is a difficult and pretty in depth process; which is why we broke it up into two steps. In continuing our 5 Best Practices for Hiring Employees, here are numbers 4 and 5.

4. The Interview Process

Interviewing a job candidate takes up serious time and mental energy. It’s also time you spend away from running your business and attending to other tasks. That’s why it’s best to ask useful, pointed questions.

It also helps to assemble an interview “team.” That might be a project manager, an officer staffer, and yourself; or it might just be you and a few longtime crew members. Regardless, assembling a team helps you ask better questions and notice different aspects of the candidate’s answers and overall behavior.

An interview team also works much better if everyone’s on the same page. You should all be looking for the same attributes in your interview candidate.

During the interview process:

Ask each potential new hire the same basic questions

Hit on their skills, knowledge, and ability level with specific questions

Know the exact purpose behind each question you ask

Listen to your candidate carefully and observe their mannerisms

Asking questions with easy, yes-or-no answers never helps you learn anything about your prospective new employee. Instead, ask more open-ended questions. Ask hypothetical questions about their future with your business.

IRMI has some great example questions for contractors to ask potential employees:

Tell me about some of the times you have had to work under pressure or had to meet difficult deadlines.

Discuss a time in the past when you have failed to meet an objective or goal. Why did that happen?

In your previous jobs, have you ever been confronted by management because of an error you made? How did you handle this situation?

Has there ever been a time when you were asked to do something that challenged your integrity? What was your response?

Would you describe yourself as someone who enjoys taking risks? Tell me about a situation in the past in which you had to take a risk.

Remember: just because a person is great in an interview situation doesn’t mean they’re a great fit for the job.

This is where you can apply behavioral tests or simply test their skills in the field. You can’t expect them to do too much work without paying them, but you can definitely see if they know the proper way to nail in a shingle or put together an Excel spreadsheet.

5. Culture Fit

When you’re trying to figure out how to hire new employees, a culture fit might not be the first thing on your mind. You are, after all, a contractor and not the owner of a tech startup. But culture fit is still important. What’s the point of hiring someone if they make you and the rest of your employees totally miserable?

There’s a monetary cost associated with poor culture fit, as well. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), turnover due to poor culture fit can cost you as much as 60% of the “poor fit” employee’s annual salary.

From The Harvard Business Review:

“Cultural fit is the likelihood that someone will reflect and/or be able to adapt to the core beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that make up your organization. And a 2005 analysis revealed that employees who fit well with their organization, coworkers, and supervisor had greater job satisfaction, were more likely to remain with their organization, and showed superior job performance.”

When an employee’s values differ from your business’ values, they might not feel accepted, satisfied, or happy. It can ruffle your other employees’ feathers, too– especially if the employee who isn’t fitting in is part of a job crew.

You can always teach an employee better installation or office admin techniques, but you can’t force them to gel with the rest of their team. That has to come naturally.

HBR suggests asking the following questions during the interview process:

  • What type of culture do you thrive in? (Does the response reflect your organizational culture?)
  • What values are you drawn to and what’s your ideal workplace?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • How would you describe our culture based on what you’ve seen? Is this something that works for you?
  • What best practices would you bring with you from another organization? Do you see yourself being able to implement these best practices in our environment?
  • Tell me about a time when you worked with/for an organization where you felt you were not a strong culture fit. Why was it a bad fit?

Obviously, not all of these questions might make perfect sense for your contracting business, but they’re important to keep in mind. Prospecting candidates based on their skills and their culture fit helps reduce two big risks: turnover and low employee morale.

When you’re hiring a new employee, there will always be some amount of “trusting your gut” involved. No interview question or background check can ever guarantee you’ve found the perfect employee.

If you set a repeatable hiring process, you can greatly reduce the risk of on-boarding a bad hire and eliminate some unpredictable variables. You’ll have to tailor it to your specific needs, but you can learn how to hire new employees if you follow these five best practices.

Building the best,