Do you really know what you’re looking for when you interview someone for a job? Let me suggest to you; it’s not about their knowledge, experience, or their intelligence; it’s about their talent to do the job.
Let me ask you another question; how do you like your coffee? I don’t know if you’re a fan of the ‘bean’, but I’m very partial to Starbuck’s Tall Americano with ‘no room for milk’. I’ve been hyped up on it all over the world and it always tastes the same, which is great!
Outlets like Starbucks are successful because they provide a consistent experience across the board. We all know where we could purchase a cheaper cup of coffee, but the Starbucks experience draws us in. I also have to say, that the coffee serving process is usually excellent; happy, smiley people and fast service.
The other day, I experienced ‘Mr Grumpy’ coffee person. He was slapping down coffees at the end of the counter and grunting out their contents. I asked him which coffee was mine (I’m not scared) and he growled his response. I had to ask him again, before politely pointing out the error of his ways (I told you I’m not scared).
This guy shouldn’t be there, and I don’t necessarily blame him for his poor customer service. I really don’t believe he should be in a customer facing job, and no amount of training will help. My question is – ‘Where is the person who put him in the job?’
If you’re a business owner or a manager then I’m sure you’ve interviewed people to join your team. Are you absolutely sure you know what you’re looking for when you interview someone? Let me give you an example of what I mean:
I’ve just read a job advertisement for a Sales Manager for a soft drinks business. It says – ‘We are looking for someone with excellent relationship building skills, vision drive and energy. They will be results driven and be able to demonstrate leadership and highly developed inter-personal and management skills.’
Now that’s all fairly standard stuff and what I’d expect to see in a job advertisement. But if I was trying to find someone for that job, what I’d really be looking for is - ‘someone to increase sales of soft drinks.’ Now I’m not saying you put that in the advertisement, but let’s face it; that’s the outcome you really want. It’s great to have all the qualities listed above, but at the end of the day, can this Sales Manager bring in the business?
Back to the coffee shop; if it was your business and you needed to employ someone to join the team, what qualities would you look for in a job candidate? You might say – ‘Someone with a bit of experience in a coffee shop, someone who looks clean and tidy, and who’s a nice pleasant person.’
All of this is great, but what I’d look for is – ‘Someone who would make the customers want to buy some more coffee or food; who’d make the customer want to come back, and who’d probably recommend my coffee shop to other people.’
Now you may think that the characteristics you described above would bring the results I’m looking for, and you may be right. However; when you’re preparing to interview someone, be absolutely clear in your mind what outcomes you need from this person. It’s not about their experience or their intelligence; it’s about their talent to do the job.
It doesn’t matter what kind of business you’re in, talent is what you’re looking for. It could be
The talent to sell
The talent to treat guests warmly and efficiently
The talent to produce meals that keep customers coming back.
I’ve seen lots of sales people who had great relationship building skills, vision, drive and energy, as described in the job advertisement, but they couldn’t bring in the sales because they didn’t have the talent.
Picking people for your team is one of the most important jobs you will ever do. Use every bit of information you can get your hands on; read the CV, and study any psychometric test that’s been done. However, be as good an interviewer as you can be – good questions – good listening – good watching.
About the author
Article by Alan Fairweather, International Speaker and the author of, 'How to be a Motivational Manager, ‘How to Manage Difficult People' and ‘How to Make Sales When You Don't like Selling'. Visit: www.themotivationdoctor.com, for more information.