Hiring the Right People to Serve Your Customers

Certainly, customers matter, they keep the business running. If we accept the prior statement, have we devoted any time to defining our business culture, team member responsibilities, or understanding customer expectations? Over the past two years, businesses have been challenged in recruiting, hiring and retaining the people who communicate with the customers on a daily basis.

It’s fair to say that not all customer interactions are positive, nor is every person that you hire the right person for your business.  The cost of hiring the wrong person can’t be quantified in dollars although some data would indicate that the cost could be as much as 30% of the annual salary.  We can all agree that it is near impossible to calculate the loss in future sales when a customer interaction turns negative. When you read a social media post unfavorable to your business, there are likely many others reading the same post.

You can significantly reduce the number of negative interactions with customers by spending some time understanding the type of person you want in your team. Be sure to write a detailed job description so that there is no doubt about the expectations of the position. 

Over the last 10 years of my business career, I followed one principle when it came to hiring: screen on competency, hire on values.

When screening the candidate’s technical skills, use the job description for the type questions that you ask. The initial screening could be performed in a phone interview.  If the candidate has the technical skills to be successful in the position, schedule an in-person interview.   Be sure to Include two to three  team members in the interview process  who display the values important to your business success

This process will only be successful if each person interviewing the candidate focuses on a different competency important to your business. I was always the last person to interview a candidate because it allowed me to get feedback from other interviewers. Their feedback determined if I would meet with the candidate. If I met with the candidate, my focus was entirely on their values, and if the candidate a good fit into the business culture in our organization. 

I usually asked three to five personal values questions. There were no right answers although there were wrong answers. Candidates are not usually prepared to answer questions on values. It places the candidate in a situation to answer questions they might not have anticipated. I would ask the question and then remain silent. Usually, the response was the first thing that came to their mind. I always used their answer in a follow-up question that presented a situation in which they would do what they said they wouldn’t. 

Screening on values helps you to understand what is important to the person, allows the interviewer the opportunity to see the candidate in an uncomfortable position wondering if their answer was the right one. What are uncomfortable situations in your business and how can you prepare your new team members to respond according to your business values.

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