Having a top-notch job assistant can turn mission-impossible into a job well done, but how can you find someone with the qualities you're looking for? This guide will introduce several psychological insights and interview tips you need to find the best sidekick and transform your business goals into accomplishments.
Things You Will NeedPatience, an interview schedule, a clear mission statement which lays out your plans for your business in a step-by-step manner.
Step 1Define what you are looking for, to yourself.
Before you are going to be able to get anything valuable out of interviewing potential hires, you need to have already defined to yourself your personal areas of slack; those aspects of the job you are either incapable or unwilling of handling. Your potential hires should be able to ask you what will be expected of them and you should be able to provide them very specific and concise responsibility list without hesitation. Their success and your satisfaction with your job assistant's performance both depend on your having a clear idea of what they will specifically be doing to contribute to your business.
Step 2Start your search with a concise description of what you expect.
When you start posting in the paper, on the web or on bulletins for a new job assistant, lay out all the qualities and qualifications you are looking for at the outset. This is your first line of filtering and will give you some leverage toward dismissing unqualified candidates down the road, as long as you have been upfront in specifying what your successful candidate will have in terms of work experience, education and personal capabilities.
Step 3Don't be afraid to put a little pressure on your interviewees.
Ask your potential job assistants to supply you with three personal weaknesses they know of. If they are unwilling or unable to describe three personal areas of weakness, they are not likely to be forthcoming with important but potentially unpleasant information when something goes wrong; this type of job assistant might be more likely to sweep problems under the rug or attempt to pin responsibility on someone else. Additionally, anyone that can't supply three personal weaknesses in a job interview might truly believe there is absolutely nothing wrong with them, which is perhaps an even more frightening possibility. Imagine how easy someone like this will be to work with down the road, especially when you're the one trying to issue them instructions and tasks...
Step 4Solicit insight.
Once you have described your business's daily operations and the position's requirements, ask your prospective job assistants what they feel they could contribute to it. Ask them to identify the personal strengths they have and how each would match to specific job tasks. If your interviewee is forthcoming with such connections, if they can rapidly identify how their typing skills, for instance, would help you put an end to your mountains of note pads as they digitalize all your important information, they are likely to be a great asset to your business.
Step 5Check in early and often.
When starting work in a new environment, it is often difficult for an employee to know how they are doing. They simply cannot read your mind, so check in early to provide positive feedback and encouragement. Tell them you are happy to see they are taking to their work with gusto and energy, and after that you can tactfully steer them more toward procedures and techniques your business uses. Especially if you are careful to explain why things are done in a certain way, you are likely to get the results you want out of your employee without engendering unnecessary resentment. Everyone feels better about being asked to change something when they are provided with a solid rationale. Otherwise, your telling new employees to do something differently "just because" is the beginning of a lose-lose power struggle.
In short, a lot of the success your potential job assistant will have at your business depends on you, the employer, taking your responsibilities toward them seriously and professionally. You have a responsibility to clearly lay out the tasks expected and the type of person you are looking for EVEN BEFORE the interview process begins. You have a responsibility to check-in with your employees and provide constructive and hopefully positive feedback while they are learning the ropes. If you really want your business to succeed, you will realize that success in business is always due to the hard work, innovation and creativity of employees, and you will keep this in the forefront of your mind. If you can make yourself approachable to employees, and can give them enough space to learn and initially make mistakes, you may be pleasantly surprised by how your appreciative employees reward you by always going the extra mile.
Tips & WarningsOne of my previous employers, who is still one of my close friends, once described "the representative syndrome" to me. The representative syndrome comes about when a new and excited employee shows up and sparkles during the interview, comes in early for the first two weeks and kicks butt all day long without even taking a lunch break. They are perky, agreeable, easy going and they jump at every chance to please the bossman. Unfortunately, this condition of hyper-self-over-extension is not humanly sustainable beyond the two week mark. Inevitably, after 2ish weeks the same employee starts coming in a little bit later, starts taking long lunches, is caught now and again messing around or staring into space when they should be working, etc.
Everyone wants to put their best foot forward, and that's understandable. But for business purposes, it's often a good idea to wait about 2 or 3 weeks before deciding how valuable an employee actually is. As my old boss always told me, "give it a little bit longer until the representative leaves and the real person comes out."