No-hitch hiring tips to get ready for the summer season

Since many of our area businesses are related to tourism, this is a good time to review hiring practices to reduce the risk of selection mistakes. Even though the person might only work for the busy summer season, you obviously want people who are right for the job and the business you are building.

Reduced customer satisfaction, lower employee satisfaction, lack of teamwork, and a negative impact on revenues are all costs that can affect your bottom line. Putting in a well thought out approach to seasonal hiring just makes good business sense – especially when you are under pressure to find people and fast! Use these helpful tips when recruiting for your next position.

What is the job? Many of you have probably written job descriptions that describe the key duties, tasks and responsibilities of the position. You may want to consider "kicking it up a notch" by adding what I call "critical success factors." Take out a pad and jot down notes to form an ideal candidate profile. Perhaps it is someone who did a great job for you in the past. Examples of critical success factors could include having a passion for what your business does or a deep interest in working with your particular type of customer of industry. Perhaps it is the ability to relate to a wide variety of customers or the ability to change priorities on a moment's notice. The important thing is to find someone who not only can do the technical aspects of the job, but also brings a level of customer focus and energy to help your business succeed.

What is it really like to work there? Research has shown that giving people a realistic picture of what the actual work is like will reduce turnover and increase job satisfaction. Reducing turnover is critical since you don't want to start the recruitment process all over again at your busiest time of year when the best candidates may already be working elsewhere.

Where can I find good people? Ask yours! One way to find great people is to ask your successful current and past employees for their recommendations. Some organizations provide financial rewards to employees after a successful applicant completes at least three months of work. An employee referral program can be very cost-effective since the cost of an employee reward could be less than running ads or paying recruiters to find good candidates. Your own people know what it is like to work in your business, so they would likely refer people who would fit in. Finally, it is a great feeling for your employees to see that they can contribute to the success of your company by helping bring in great people. It shows that their input matters and makes a difference.

Hire for attitude. You have to define the right attitude for your business, know it when you see it, and explain how the right attitude translates into successful employees. You have probably had some great employees work for you in the past. Write down some situations they handled with your customers, and pose those situations as questions in the interview to a prospective employee. If you are interviewing experienced applicants, you can ask them to give you an example of how they handled a difficult customer. Use questions that start with: "Tell about a time when…." or "Please give an example of a situation that…" What you are looking for in their answer is how their attitude helped them successfully deal with and (hopefully) delight the customer. If you are interviewing applicants who are relatively inexperienced, simply give a common hypothetical situation that they would run into as an employee and ask them how they would handle the situation.

By incorporating these tips into your next hiring process, you will be on your way to finding great people who will help you be even more successful this year!

Bill Hendry, SPHR, is owner of Bill Hendry Consulting (www.billhendry.com), specializing in team effectiveness, customer service and management training and organizational effectiveness. Reach him at (231) 883-7646 or bill@billhendry.com.

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