Finding the right person for the job

Hiring the right person for the right job can make all the difference for a business, but the process of finding that right person must be rigorous.

Kris Pruismann, manager for Human Resources and Training for facilities planning and management at Iowa State University, presented her knowledge on how to hire the right person at the last spring session of “From How to Wow,” hosted by the Webster City Chamber of Commerce. She presented her program “Hire ’em Right Toolbox,” to about 15 people on Wednesday in the Sampson Room of Fuller Hall.

Many of the attendees are involved with hiring at their respective businesses, and Pruismann said those people are well aware of the consequences of making a bad hiring decision.

“You can interview people, and then two weeks later, wonder how did this person end up here? I’m sure we’ve all been there before,” Pruismann said.

The first step in finding the right employee, according to Pruismann, is to pre-screen potential employees with the initial job advertisement.

“You get what you ask for, for the most part, you need to draw in the kind of people you’re looking for,” Pruismann said.

Rather than posting just a hiring notice and a call number, Pruismann said that considering the qualifications the job needs, posting physical or drug screenings that are required in the ad and generally what kind of person that a business is looking for is good when making an advertisement.

Using the right job application is also important. Verifying the information on an application is important, but it is also important because the application process can give a business an impression of an employee before they sit down for an interview.

“There are so many venues of applying for a job,” Pruismann said. “You’ve got electronic, you’ve got phone calls, you’ve got mail, you’ve got stop-ins. Use those to your maximum ability. If you tell people to stop in and drop off their application, make sure the people who are greeting those folks know what you’re looking for.”

The interview is a crucial time for a business to get a feel for a potential employee’s demeanor and how well they might fit in at the business. Open ended questions, having more than one interviewer, following the 80/20 rule, where the interviewee talks about 80 percent of the time and asking questions until you find out what you want can help an interviewer get the best picture of a potential employee.

“I have been in interviews where people are just interested if a person can do the technical aspects of the job. Then, you get the person on board and you find out they can’t get along with people, they don’t own an alarm clock, they don’t have a way to get to work in the morning. It’s worth the half-hour to spend and get your interview questions in.”

Pruismann also advised the seminar’s attendees to not try and hire someone just like themselves, but instead try and find the person they think will be the best fit for the job.

At the seminar, she also advised people on how best to go about reference and background checks, and how the law affects their hiring of people with convictions. Pruismann said that a business can not, by law, have a blanket policy on not hiring people with certain convictions. They also cannot choose to not hire someone based on physical ability alone.

She closed the seminar with tips on orienting new employees. Among the things mentioned, Pruismann said that she now believes in a “bring your own device” policy, because trying to make employees not bring a phone or electronic device into work is a battle that the employer can’t fight anymore. She also said to consider a probationary period for employees as a test-run to make sure they are a good fit.

While Pruismann’s seminar was the last of the scheduled “From How to Wow” sessions, the Chamber of Commerce is considering more sessions over the summer.