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A new hire is a big deal. A piece of an unfinished puzzle. A chance to add valuable skills and great energy to your team. Meeting a candidate in an interview is a great first impression, but let's be real: you're meeting their Best Self, not necessarily their Real Self. A potential hire will tell you everything you want to hear, but trying to cut through the fluff can be a challenge.

Enter: the reference.

A reference, usually a former boss or coworker, is your key to getting the real story on your potential candidate. They have shared workspace, email correspondence, and project managements with them, and probably know a thing or two about what makes them tick. With such a valuable resource at your fingertips, make sure you use your time wisely – asking them these questions will offer a glimpse into this new hire.


1) What motivates them?

Are they driven by deadlines? Pushed by penalties? Encouraged by esteem-boosts? Find out what gets them going from someone who knows, and ensure you're pushing your new employee to their full potential in a way that works.

2) What was their role on the team?

In this case, we aren't talking about their technical role, but more or their social role. Every workplace has its own dynamic, and employees naturally find their place from the start. Are they the idea initiator or more likely to let the brainstorm session sit and simmer? Maybe they keep the mood light in meetings. Maybe they're a bit of a morale drag. Who knows? You'll have to ask.

3) In what area would they need support during their first few months?

This is a crucial question for planning your next quarter. Get a sense of your potential hire's problem areas and you won't be caught off-guard when some subpar skills show up later.

4) Can you name a situation when this candidate has gone above and beyond?

The answer to this question won't be as revealing as the speed at which it is answered. If an instance is recalled quickly, you can assume the candidate goes beyond their expected duties fairly often.

5) Would you hire them again?

Perhaps the most important question to ask, the answer to this sums up the reference's overall impression of the candidate and indicates whether this person is worth hiring or not. Whether the answer is yes or no, be sure to press for an explanation.

6) What conflicts did they have? How were they resolved?

As they say, "beautiful sunsets don't exist without cloudy skies." There's a chance even the most attractive candidate has had some clouds in their professional past. Learn more about how your candidate responds to pressure and conflict with a question that's bound to get an interesting response.

When dealing with a potential new hire, don't make any assumptions. Put some effort into your discussions with references, and get the valuable information for making your decision!

Posted: 9/24/2019 12:29:26 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


This week, media outlets announced that unemployment applications are at their lowest since 1969. With sluggish consumer and business spending, this is a promising sign, suggesting companies are retaining employees.

In a market that leans heavily in favor of candidates, companies have to sell themselves as a desirable place of employment. Stocked fridges, company outings, and above-standard benefits are one thing, but there are better ways to attract top talent than throwing perks in their direction.

attracting_top_talent_handshake

Know what you want from a candidate.

If you want employees to be in it for the long haul, offer benefits that reflect this. Incremental increases in vacation and sick time, generous parental leave (or any parental leave, these days), and opportunities for candidates to advance at the company all favor a longer term employee. Mile marker incentives can also be very effective: try a bonus week of vacation for the fifth year of employment at the company, or something similar.

If you're in search of a continuous wave of fresh-faced innovative candidates, emphasize the importance of their role in current projects. Offer opportunities to travel and tell them about your post-work happy hours.

Be good at what you do.

The best way to attract the best people? Be the best company. We know, we're oversimplifying, but having a successful business will attract better candidates than adding ping pong tables to your break room. Simply put: people want to work at companies that are doing well. If you're the best that's out there, you won't have to work hard to emerge as a frontrunner for top talent.

Be straightforward.

A job posting should be detailed, clear, and concise, putting all requirements and responsibilities at the forefront. The actual position should meet any expectations made from the job description, to allow candidates to identify opportunities for their skills to really shine. They know what they could bring to the table, and being aware of all facets of the job beforehand means they can provide insight into their purpose and strengths in the role.

Check with your own Top Talent.

You know who's perfect for bringing in great candidates? Great employees! Offer a referral bonus to your team and have your best people scour their networks to fill the open position. They're aware that any referral reflects on their judgement, so no worries about your team suggesting just anyone in hopes of bringing in some bonus money – only their top choices will make it to your desk. Asking them to connect you shows you value their opinion, but compensating them somehow shows just how much. Plus, you'll be hiring someone who already gets along with at least one person on your team!

It can be a challenge to attract stellar job candidates, but we'll help you make it easier! Have you tried any of these tips?

Posted: 4/11/2019 11:25:25 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments