Calling all hiring managers / people who hire people! I run a small business in the creative / advertising world with around ten staff, and we are about to embark on hiring one of the most crucial people you can have in this business, which is a receptionist / office manager. What are some effective and/or magical questions we can ask as part of the application process that will separate the wheat from the chaff?
The company is very highly regarded in our field as being a 'cool' place to work at, and previous hiring processes have been very challenging in terms of attracting people who wanted to be associated and in the business, but were actually poor fits in the end in terms of not having the right personality to gel with the rest of the team, or simply losing interest and or not being able to meet expectations when they realise that we are actually running a real business, and it's not fun and games all the time.
Those who stay with us, stay a long time and have grown with the business. It's been a very organic process, but a bit of a boom in work has required us to take a more aggressive approach to finding new blood.
I realise that much of this comes from our own lack of experience and skills in the hiring process, (and I'm also not discounting other deeper company issues that may cause this) therefore we are brainstorming how we can ensure our criteria and first point of contact can weed out these sorts of people and avoid wasting both our time as well as job-seekers.
I've listened to hours of Manager Tools, read How to Move Mt Fuji, almost every page of askamanager.org - but nothing seems to really answer the question, especially in a very small and tight-knit business, and even moreso for a relatively entry-level and junior position.
Leaving aside the actual job description, salary, benefits etc, what are some effective ways of screening candidates and/or attract the right sort of personality and skill set for the task?
Some added notes:
-We never actually advertise for our positions, everything has either come from word of mouth, or have hired from our work experience program.
-We use WuFoo for our application process. My initial thoughts were to put some sort of challenges in the form, such as 'There is one spelling error and one grammatical error in this application - what is it?' - This is inspired by the recent site advertising for an assistant
for Rich Silverstein. We often receive a high number of applications, and one of the worst parts of my job is rejecting applicants, so I want to use the questions or requests on this form to try to get a solid shortlist together.
-The ideal candidate would be a psychic extrovert with a photographic memory. I think our specific list of qualities is pretty broad, but I suppose the most important qualities that we are looking to gauge before we sit down with someone would simply come down to:
If anyone has any direct experience or stories in terms of what systems / questions / tests they used in similar circumstances, I would be most grateful to to hear :) Thank you!