Eric Jacobson

Archive for the ‘Hiring’ Category

Interview Questions To Identify Cultural Fit

In Cultural Fit, Hiring, Hiring Great People, Interviewing on December 31, 2015 at 6:44 am

If you are leading an organization and are the last person to interview a candidate, focus your questions more on trying to see if the person is a cultural fit. Here are a few questions to pose to potential new hires (from the new book, Advisory Leadership:

  1. What motivates you?
  2. What are you passionate about? (Finding out what people are passionate about and why is a great window into someone’s personality.)
  3. What are you telling your family/spouse about our company? (This question often takes candidates off guard and results in some often very honest answers.)
  4. What did you enjoy most/find most challenging in  your last position? (There are no right or wrong answers, necessarily. This question is a great assessment of the candidate, especially when considering certain roles.)
  5. What opportunities do you see for yourself here?

7 Must-Ask Questions When Hiring

In Eric Jacobson Leadership, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Hiring on November 20, 2014 at 9:44 pm

Hiring

Awhile back, the Harvard Business Review published some great questions that Gilt Groupe CEO Kevin Ryan asks when he is checking references.

Ryan serves on the board of Yale Corporation, Human Rights Watch, and INSEAD, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.  He holds a B.A. from Yale University and a M.B.A from INSEAD.

His main seven honest-feedback-extracting-questions (and follow-ups) are:

  1. Would you hire this person again?  If so, why and in what capacity?  If not, why not?
  2. How would you describe the candidate’s ability to innovate, manage, lead, deal with ambiguity, get things done and influence others?
  3. What were some of the best things this person accomplished?  What could he or she have done better?
  4. In what type of culture, environment, and role can you see this person excelling?  In what type of role is he or she unlikely to be successful?
  5. Would you describe the candidate as a leader, a strategist, an executor, a collaborator, a thinker, or something else?  Can you give me some examples to support your description?
  6. Do people enjoy working with the candidate, and would former coworkers want to work with him or her again?
  7. In what areas does the candidate need to improve?

Hire To Complement Your Skills

In Hiring, Interviewing on July 2, 2014 at 7:18 pm

Despite the temptation to hire someone like yourself, hire someone to complement your skills –not to duplicate your skills.

Managers often find it easier, more comfortable, or less threatening to hire someone with similar skills and work habits. But, to build a well-balanced team and to achieve maximum success, you need to have employees who can fill in your weaker areas.

So, if you are a great idea person, but a poor communicator, hire someone with strong communications skills. Similarly, if your team excels in sales but lacks organization, add an employee who leads in organization.

This may all seem like common sense. And you obviously need to hire someone to meet certain/minimum skill sets and who will be a good overall fit. But, do what you can to avoid the trap or temptation to hire someone just like you.

The 7 Questions To Ask When Checking References

In Checking Referecnes, Hiring, Interviewing on June 8, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Eric Jacobson Kansas

Awhile back, the Harvard Business Review published some great questions that Gilt Groupe CEO Kevin Ryan asks when he is checking references.

Ryan serves on the board of Yale Corporation, Human Rights Watch, and INSEAD, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.  He holds a B.A. from Yale University and a M.B.A from INSEAD.

His main seven honest-feedback-extracting-questions (and follow-ups) are:

  1. Would you hire this person again?  If so, why and in what capacity?  If not, why not?
  2. How would you describe the candidate’s ability to innovate, manage, lead, deal with ambiguity, get things done and influence others?
  3. What were some of the best things this person accomplished?  What could he or she have done better?
  4. In what type of culture, environment, and role can you see this person excelling?  In what type of role is he or she unlikely to be successful?
  5. Would you describe the candidate as a leader, a strategist, an executor, a collaborator, a thinker, or something else?  Can you give me some examples to support your description?
  6. Do people enjoy working with the candidate, and would former coworkers want to work with him or her again?
  7. In what areas does the candidate need to improve?

How To Get Good At Hiring

In Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Hiring on May 10, 2014 at 3:52 am

Here are some great tips for how to get good at hiring from the May issue of Inc. magazine:

  • Identify your star employees and use their characteristics as a guideline for your next hires.
  • Hire people for their potential. Don’t focus so much on resumes.  Otherwise, you may get someone who fulfills your current requirements but isn’t able to meet your company’s future needs.
  • Go for quality.  Hire fewer employees but of a higher caliber.
  • Carefully define the role.  Be specific about what you need.

3 Best Places To Interview Job Candidates

In Effective Communications, General Leadership Skills, Hiring, Hiring Great People, Hiring Older Workers, Management on September 6, 2012 at 5:14 pm

One of the reasons you want to interview people in three different places is that candidates will usually be at their very best in the first interview (likely in your office).  After that, if they are pretending, the veneer will come off in subsequent meetings in out-of-the office locations.

Also, because most employees can only be successful in their jobs in different locations as well, it makes sense to witness your candidates in different settings.  So, consider interviewing the candidate over a lunch at a nearby restaurant.

And, finally, consider interviewing them in a group setting where you invite a variety of your employees to be part of the group.  If you do this, be sure to let each employee voice their “vote” regarding the candidate after the meeting.

There are lots more great tips like this one in Thompson’s and Tracy’s book, Now…Build a Great Business!

Work Reimagined Connects Experienced Workers With Interested Hiring Businesses

In Collaboration, Corporate Culture, Engaging Employees, Hiring, Hiring Great People, Hiring Older Workers on August 21, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Older displaced leaders seeking work have a new online resource to help connect them with businesses with a special interest in workers with long experience.  AARP launched a new website in July called, Work Reimagined.

The site is powered by LinkedIn, the career-oriented social media site.

Work Reimagined is the first talent exchange dedicated to helping companies find experienced workers and to helping experienced professionals connect to more satisfying careers.

For businesses hiring, Work Reimagined helps them target the most appropriate, experienced workers.

For people looking for work, the site lets you access unique, personalized job leads from employers who respect depth of knowledge and experience.

The site also is a place to share experiences, challenges and dreams for the future via groups and discussions on LinkedIn.

Working with AARP, participating companies have signed a pledge to level the playing field for experienced workers.  Employers who sign the Pledge agree that they have:

  • Openness to the value of mature workers
  • Nondiscriminatory HR policies
  • Immediate hiring needs (at the time of Pledge signature)

What Customer-Facing Employees Do

In Customer Service, Employee Engagement, General Leadership Skills, Hiring, Leadership, Management on June 23, 2012 at 9:47 am

According to author Micah Solomon, to ensure you have customer-facing employees, help them to:

  • Display simple human kindness
  • Sense what another person is feeling
  • Have an inclination toward teamwork
  • Be detail oriented, including having the ability and willingness to follow through to completion
  • Bounce back and to not internalize challenges

Why Experience Should Come Last When Hiring And Promoting

In General Leadership Skills, Hiring, Leadership, Leadership Books, Leadership Education, Leadership Skills, Management, Promoting on April 28, 2012 at 2:53 pm

In Leigh Branham’s terrific book, The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave, he quotes these sound insights from Dee Hock, the founder and former CEO of Visa:

  • Hire and promote first on the basis of integrity; second, motivation; third, capacity; fourth, understanding; fifth, knowledge; and last and least, experience.

Hock explains that:

  • Without integrity, motivation is dangerous
  • Without motivation, capacity is impotent
  • Without capacity, understanding is limited
  • Without understanding, knowledge is meaningless
  • Without knowledge, experience is blind

She concludes that experience is easy to provide and quickly put to use by people with all the other qualities.

Book Review: The First-Time Manager, Sixth Edition

In Effective Communications, Employee Satisfaction, General Leadership Skills, Hiring, Leadership, Leadership Books, Leadership Education, Leadership Skills, Leadership Training, Leading By Example, Listening Skills, Management, Mentoring, Motivating Employees, Soliciting Feedback, Team Building on February 26, 2012 at 7:15 am

Amacom (of the American Management Association) has just released the sixth edition of the best-selling book, The First-Time Manager — originally published in 1981.

The book covers eight core responsibilities of a new manager, including:

  • Hiring
  • Communicating
  • Planning
  • Organizing
  • Training
  • Monitoring
  • Evaluating
  • Firing

Expert advice is additionally provided regarding:

  • Using Your New Authority
  • Managing Your Mood
  • Building Trust

One of my favorite sections of the book is the one about class in a manager:

  • Class is treating people with dignity.
  • Class does not have to be the center of attention.
  • Class does not lose its cool.
  • Class does not rationalize mistakes.
  • Class is good manners.
  • Class means loyalty to one’s staff.
  • Class recognizes the best way to build oneself is to first build others.
  • Class leads by example.
  • Class does not taken action when angry.
  • Class is authentic and works hard at making actions consistent with words.

The First-Time Manager is an excellent how-to guide for anyone new to managing people.

Other books for new managers include any from the Top 20 list of Leadership Books, as voted on by LinkedIn Linked 2 Leadership group members, who were asked the question:

  • What’s the first leadership book you would give to a new manager?
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