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How to Hire the “Right” Person

KEY POINTS:

  1. BE WELL PREPARED
  2. WATCH AND LISTEN CAREFULLY
  3. SELL THE JOB IF YOU LIKE THE CANDIDATE

IN A NUTSHELL

Interviewing candidates to fill a vacant position is an important responsibility for a manager. When done well, the result will be the successful recruitment of excellent employees.

Think about the questions you want to ask. ( I have a few suggestions at the end of this chapter)Review carefully the papers of the applicant so that you do not have to refer to them in the interview.

Watch the body language, the subtle messages that the person is communicating. They are part of the gut feeling that you have of the candidate.

At some point, you will know that this is a person you want or not. If you are interested, start selling the job. Talk about the attractive aspects of working with the company.

Based on my experience, I will now identify some useful tips on how to conduct professional level meetings with prospective candidates.

BE PREPARED

Review all the materials regarding the candidate beforehand. Have the file with you for reference. Be sure to include any other documents that you need to refer to such as the job description. You may also want to bring some materials for the candidate to review later.

Do not flip through the papers, reviewing the resume, while speaking to the candidate.

THE INTERVIEW LOCATION

Use a conference room or interviewing room if you have one. Do not use your office. It is useful to sit together with the candidate at a table. No interruptions should be permitted. This includes cell phones and assistants pounding at the door.

START WELL

Make the candidate feel welcome. Start with some small talk at first. Explain the process and then start with an open-ended question. “Tell me about yourself” is a very common one.

Ask questions about what he/she says like “Give me some more details on that.” Or “Could you give me an example?”

Strive for a relaxed, friendly conversational environment. I believe that you will learn more  when the candidate is relaxed and comfortable.

ALLOW PLENTY OF TIME

The length of time and the number of interviews depends on the importance of the position. In any case, plan to have adequate time to learn what you need about the candidate. Some thought about the pace and structure of this meeting is helpful.

SELL THE JOB

In the closing part of the interview, if you like the candidate, start selling the position: benefits, work environment, the nature of the position.

Image

Photo by Linked Sales Navigator

Image or how you appear shouldn’t be an issue for a manager.

Logically, ability should be more important than image. Unfortunately, that may not always be true. There is a saying in Spanish “It is not enough to be good, you also have to look good.”
As a manager you will be expected to look professional, be competent, friendly and sincere. If you do, you will have credibility.
Physical appearance includes clothing, personal care, fitness, health and, even, sleep. If you need assistance with any of these things, try to get professional help.

PHYSICAL APPEARANCE


Some of us are beautiful and others less attractive. That doesn’t matter so much. Another aspect of appearance does. This relates to wearing good quality, well-coordinated clothing, appropriate to your status in the company. It should be clean and well cared for. We should look good and smell good.


FIRST IMPRESSIONS


First impressions do matter. So take particular care when meeting someone for the first time. A negative first impression is hard to overcome. When we meet someone for the first time, we want them to see us as professional, competent and friendly.


COMPETENCE


Our image is not only based on appearance. It is also related the perception that we are capable and able to manage the roles of our position. Here are a few suggestions:
⦁ Prepare carefully
⦁ Avoid arrogance
⦁ listen to others
⦁ admit it when you are wrong

FRIENDLINESS


Being able to relate to people in a friendly way is another aspect of how we appear to others. Stop and chat with the people in your company. Be ready to engage in small talk ( the weather, sports, vacations, etc.)


BEING REAL


Sincerity is vital to our standing in the organization. A reputation for honesty is invaluable. Saying something, and not believing it, is damaging because people soon learn that you are not sincere. If you promise something, do it. When someone who works for you really needs your help, do it.


THINGS TO REMEMBER


⦁ How you appear has an impact on your career
⦁ Look like an Executive
⦁ Think about first impressions

Body Language

Photo by Antenna on Unsplash

Moves That Communicate


Body language is the unwritten and unspoken way that we communicate with each other. It comprises the body movements, facial expressions, and gestures we all make.
These reveal, sometimes much more than words, the emotions and feelings of a person. Reading them, therefore, is an important skill for am manager. Observe and learn the language of the body

WATCH AND YOU WILL KNOW


Look. You will see the body position and facial expression of the people that you work with. Words are only one way to communicate. Emotions and feelings can also be expressed by body language. The point is that we often do not see what we need to see. Start looking.


MEETINGS


When you go to meetings, watch the other people attending the meeting.Take in their different body positions, hand movements and facial expressions. Pay particular attention when a controversial issue is discussed. Who is angry, very interested, bored?


ONE ON ONE

The person is seated in front of you. Perhaps he/she is a candidate for an important position in your department. It may be an employee giving you some information. Or it could be someone trying to sell something. If you are listening just to the words, you are missing a lot. What are the hands doing? Are the arms crossed? Is the person sitting rigidly? Is the body leaning forward listening with total attention to what you are saying?


PRESENTATIONS


You are the presenter. Look at the audience. Are they looking back, sitting straight, silent, nodding in agreement, fully attending the wonderful words you are speaking?
Or are they slumped down, no one looking your way, fiddling with their cell phones, some even asleep?
As the presenter, this is valuable information. When things are going good, you want to keep doing the same thing. When things are going bad, you need to make some changes.
Either way, body language is supplying you with valuable information.

Points to Remember
⦁ HELPS UNDERSTAND THE FEELINGS OF YOUR STAFF.
⦁ READING BODY LANGUAGE WILL HELP YOU COMMUNICATE BETTER
⦁ BECOME AWARE OF THE SIGNALS YOU GIVE TO OTHERS

Asking for a pay raise

Cartoon by Larry Pitman


It may well be that you deserve more money than you presently receive. Many factors come into play when you ask your boss for an increase in your salary. Just as with any other business decision, you will have to be ready to prove that you deserve more money. You have to prepare well. Here are some suggestions to consider before you ask.

TIMING IS IMPORTANT


Most companies have a cycle for making annual increases. If you want a pay raise above normal, you need to contact your boss well beforehand.

DO YOUR RESEARCH


Before meeting with your boss, find out what is the going rate for people in your position. You can use resources such as Payroll, Glassdoor and Salary.com on the internet. In addition, you could ask recruiters and others in a similar position.


PREPARE YOUR PITCH

It is important to be ready to make your case to your boss. You need to show that you are producing well beyond the expectations for someone in your position. In other words, you have significantly added value to the company. For example, you earned more profit, cut costs significantly, got a fat new contract, etc. In this regard, it is useful to keep a record of your significant accomplishments to use when you need it.


PRACTICE YOUR PITCH

This is important. You need to prepare by practicing what you will say in this meeting.


ASK FOR A PROMOTION INSTEAD

It may be that you are performing functions well out of the requirements for your position. Therefore, instead of asking for a raise, you could ask for a promotion to a new level or a new position.


KNOW HOW MUCH TO ASK FOR

Find out what is the normal increase that is given every year. This could come from fellow employees. For example, maybe everyone receives a 2% increase. You want to ask for more than this, perhaps a 5% increase depending on the situation.


BE PREPARED TO RECEIVE A “NO”.


There are many reasons why you may receive a negative response to your request. If that happens, don’t argue, but do ask what you need to do to receive a pay raise for the next time.


KEY POINTS:
⦁ Know how to approach your boss.

⦁ Do your research.

⦁ Organize your presentation

Crisis Time

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Be Ready, Be Calm


Managers have to deal with crises. It is part of the risk of doing business. In fact, the whole environment of doing business has gotten so much more complicated in recent times that it is almost inevitable that some crisis will occur in a company.
I am referring to globalization which brings many more complex regulations involving environmental concerns and the threat of terrorism.
Managers must handle a crisis. This is a logical part of their responsibility. Crises that are not well managed will destroy a career. Further, a badly managed crisis can destroy a business. Here are my suggestions on how a manager can help manage a crisis successfully.

The Essentials

Looking at the essentials, it is easy to conclude that good crisis management depends on good communication and preparation. The manager who communicates well, will likely manage the crisis well. Solid preparation leads to a calm and confident attitude on your part which then generates trust and confidence in your ability. A crisis could be related to the business, a natural event or an act of terrorism or criminality.
There are three stages of communication in order to prepare well for a crisis:


Planning For The Crisis


In this stage you will attempt to identify any potential crisis that the company might face. This will require establishing a risk management committee, made up of people who need to take some role during a crisis. They need to meet and brainstorm the various possible trouble spots that might occur. It would be valuable to have simulation and role plays in order to clarify activity during the crisis. They can also establish protocol for communicating during the crisis.


During The Crisis


At this time transparency is essential. Try to provide as much information as possible, at all levels. There two reasons for this: to keep rumors at a minimum and to retain the trust and confidence of all the stakeholders.


After The Crisis


It is important to analyze exactly what happened in the crisis. It is also necessary to review what actions were taken. This information needs to be clearly stated in a report to be reviewed by your risk management committee and other responsible persons within the company. Based on your findings, recommendations for action in the future should be part of the report.

Main Points

  1. Plan for a Crisis
  2. Keep People Informed During the Crisis
  3. Analyze What Happened Afterward

An Important Value

Photo by dane-deaner on Unsplash

Accountability is a core concept In business and government. It is a way of working and living, even a necessary fabric of society. 

 Another word would be responsibility.

The military has developed it to a high degree.The chain of command focuses on accountability. In times of emergency and war everybody must do their jobs or there will be consequences.

It is the same in business and in our lives but with less drama. Nevertheless,, the health of any organization depends on people being accountable. 

What are the characteristics of persons who are accountable?

  • They are concerned for the general welfare and smooth functioning of the organization.
  • They demonstrate an attitude of caring
  • They do their jobs and more
  • They take responsibility for their actions

They notice when something is wrong and they take steps to fix it. 

They want to make the organization better

They will help where needed

They don’t pass the buck

This is a highly valued quality. For instance, it is what the public wants from politicians and stockholders from their companies. 

At its most fundamental point it is admitting that you made a mistake and  taking action to remedy the situation.Rather than hide something, bring it out in the open. 

In a healthy organization, an honest mistake is not punished and the employee does not have to be afraid.  

A healthy organization has this from top to bottom. 

In a dysfunctional organization, others will try to shift the blame.  

“It wasn’t my fault, it was him. He did it” 

A person sees something wrong and walks right by. 

“I didn’t want to get involved.” 

There is a saying “Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.” This illustrates the problem. 

In the American business system, accountability means that one person ( usually) has to take responsibility. It may be the top boss. If a big mistake has been made, an honest boss will take responsibility. 

“The Buck stops here”. 

A sign on the desk of the President of the United States, Harry Truman. He pointed out that he took responsibility for what happened on his watch. 

Other leaders, less courageous,  may  identify and punish a  lower-level individual who actually made the mistake. A CEO will say “ the person who did this has been identified and will be punished”. 

In sum, it is an attitude. It comes from the top. The leader can model and teach this behavior. A manager can instill it in his/her department. 

A good healthy organization has plenty of accountability.

A Presentation, Simple But Difficult

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 A  presentation is a performance.

 It is the same as an athlete playing in a crucial game or a musician with a chance to play for an impòrtant audience. In these cases, the performers may have prepared and waited for years  The time finally comes to act. Will they do their best?

For all of us, it is important to do our best when our critical time arrives. 

The question is how do we get ready to perform when the pressure is really on?

 Some get up to the point and then falter. Their nerves get the best of them. 

Others act with confidence and grace. We all have seen these great performances. 

Maybe they have put in years of work and preparation.

However, with important presentations, we usually don’t have that much time to prepare.  

The time spent, then, is even more precious. 

Hard, intense work is necessary.

The first part is mental: knowing exactly what we want to say and who the audience is. To me, this is the hardest work. After this, everything falls in place. 

Once you know what to say, you can make the slides and write a script or outline. 

Then comes practice, practice, and practice. Have someone who can observe you and make suggestions.

Come to the performance with a good night’s sleep, rested and confident. 

Take a deep breath and get out there and do your best. 

There it is. It is simple. But it is also difficult.  

Just Wing It!

Photo by Wynand Uys on Unsplash

 One day I was walking my dog and came across my neighbor. She stopped to chat and mentioned that tomorrow she was interviewing for an important job with a major company in Peru. She told me that one of the requirements was to be proficient in English and that part of the interview was to be in that language. 

“I’m just going to wing it,” she said. 

With that, she gave a shrug, said goodbye, and went on.

Needless to say, I was surprised. I hadn’t heard that phrase in a long time. It means that I’m not prepared and I hope to fake my way through.

I started thinking about preparation and what it takes to be ready to do something. 

In the case of my neighbor, she is an intelligent and competent person. 

Yet she hadn’t bothered to prepare for an important part of her interview. 

Maybe she really didn’t want the job.

Or perhaps her uncle owns the company.

I don’t know. All I know is that she never mentioned the company again and, as far as I knew, remained unemployed. 

Why don’t we prepare thoroughly for important times in our lives? 

I’m guilty, too.

I’d love to hear your answer. 

Make Your Meetings Work For You

Managers often find themselves leading staff meetings. They are known for not doing it well. A much appreciated skill is the excellent management of meetings. They should be short, well organized and productive. Here are some suggestions on how to do this:

START ON TIME

You need to be there before the meeting starts. Be ready with everything you need. Then start exactly at the time set for the meeting. Those who are not there will realize that they need to change if they want to please the boss. You must do this every time. Be consistent. It is helpful to have the meeting at the same time and on the same day.

HAVE AN AGENDA

Circulate the agenda well before the meeting along with any papers attached. Make it clear during the meeting that you expect everyone to read the papers and be prepared for the topics to be discussed. If there are those who need to report on an action, make sure they are ready by calling them a day before the meeting.

TAKE CONTROL OF THE MEETING

Follow the agenda. Monitor the time spent on each item. Take into account that sometimes interesting information emerges that needs to be discussed. At the same time, gently stop anyone who wants to discuss last night’s football game. Don’t allow any cell phones to ring during this time. At the end of the scheduled items you can ask if there are any other matters. If these topics can be discussed relatively quickly, go ahead. If the topic is complex tell the person to put it on the agenda for the next meeting.

END THE MEETING ON TIME

This will be much appreciated by everyone who believes that meetings are mostly a waste of time. You should order coffee and cookies ( or something else)  to enjoy after the meeting. This allows for a relaxed time when the football game or other matters can be talked about.

KEY POINTS

  1. START ON TIME
  2. BE WELL ORGANIZED
  3. END ON TIME

The Dreaded Financial Presentation

It was the dreaded annual presentation by the Chief Financial Officer. He droned on, slide after slide, never missing the tiniest, most insignificant fact. I looked around the room. Half the people were asleep. The others were working their cell phones.  Absorbed and staring at the screen,   the CFO was oblivious. 

Finally, patience at an end, the Chief Executive Officer yelled out

“Get to the Effing bottom line.”

In response, the CFO started talking faster, whipping through the slides until arriving at the blessed point of the presentation… the bottom line. The CFO was determined to regurgitate all the numbers at his command. 

The audience heaved a sigh of relief. 

Generally, financial presentations are not this bad, but often they are bad enough. 

The sad thing is that they are important. 

The audience, be they senior management, investors, potential clients, or others, need to understand the financial condition of the company. 

They don’t need to be buried in a confusing avalanche of facts or obscured in a cloud of financial jargon.

For the past thirteen years, I have been helping managers in the financial industry and government officials make better presentations. Since I live in Peru, they have the additional challenge of presenting in English, not their first language. 

The good news is that this isn’t rocket science. Still, it takes hard work and determination to come up with a financial presentation that merits a standing ovation. Yes, I know. It is hard to believe but it has happened. 

Tomorrow, in my next post, I share the secrets of making a financial presentation

Reading for Business When English Is a Foreign Language

Reading in English may be necessary to keep informed on recent developments in your field or in your company. Certainly, this can be slow going in a foreign language unless you train yourself in some special techniques.

The goal is to understand as much as possible while using your time as efficiently as you can.

However, keep in mind that your purpose can vary:

You may need only to get a very general idea and can skim the material,

you may need only some specific information and that is called scanning

You may need to get a general understanding of a subject by reviewing some textbooks.

You may need to scrutinize intensively highly technical material .

SKIMMING

In this technique, the eye runs rapidly over the material. Speed is essential because you have limited time. You may have to review extensive documentation, but need only to get a general idea about the contenIn English, often the first sentence in the paragraph contains the main idea. So some people just let their eyes run over that first sentence.

When skimming documents, it might be helpful to write a brief summary when you are finished. Someone might ask you your reaction and you can impress them with your answer.

Busy managers use skimming, even when using the “executive summary”.

Examples of skimming:

A magazine article when you are looking for something to read in greater detail.

Newspaper– for a general idea about the news of the day


SCANNING


This  skill is used when you are looking for a particular fact. You ignore everything but that particular piece of information as you run your eyes over the page. It doesn’t matter if there are words that you don’t understand.

Examples of scanning:

Looking in the newspaper for the price of your stock.

Checking out what is playing on television

Reviewing an airline schedule to get the most convenient flight



GENERAL

Say that you are studying a book on human resources, but it isn’t in your field. You are just trying to get a general idea of the basic concepts. It is an effort to improve your general knowledge. This can also be applied to a enjoying a novel for pleasure.

In these cases it is not necessary to know the meaning of every word. You are only aiming to understand the meaning within the context of sentence or paragraph.

Examples :

Books that expand your general knowledge

Light reading such as novels, adventure stories

magazine articles


INTENSIVE

Sometimes we have to review something very carefully. Contracts and legal documents require this kind of scrutiny. Each word and each figure must be reviewed. Now is the time when you really need a good dictionary.

Examples of Intensive review:

Financial statements

Insurance policy

Technical reports vital to your company

Legal documents



SUMMARY

Reading is time consuming, but a necessary activity. Practice is very important. Non-native speakers will, at first, find it tedious to read in a language not their own. However, the rewards for doing so are rich.

Not doing the necessary work will eventually hurt your career.