LIMA — Managers are up against several trends — a tight labor market and shifting attitudes in the workforce — that are making it harder to find reliable employees. The solution, according to management expert Glenn Shepard, is to “hire for attitude” and “train for skills.”
“You can teach people to do just about any job,” he said. “You can’t teach them to care and you can’t teach them to want to belong.”
Shepard shared this advice and other tips with Lima-area business owners and managers at The City Club on Wednesday.
How can hiring managers find qualified job applicants in a tight labor market? Shepard recommends recruiting early and focusing on those candidates who are currently employed. For small business owners, Shepard suggests observing candidates on the job when applicable.
“Every time you do business with a company, start watching their employees when they don’t know anyone is paying attention,” he said. When an employee stands out, “hand them your business card and say, ‘You impress me,’” Shepard said.
That cuts down on a common flaw in the hiring process: candidates who perform well in an interview only to disappoint on the job.
“People change their behavior when they know somebody is watching and not watching, which means the job interview is the worst place to find out what somebody is really like because they know you’re watching,” he said.
To avoid unintentional bias in hiring, Shepard recommends asking job candidates a few questions over the phone first. That gives hiring managers a blind first impression of prospective candidates before the in-person interview.
Peer to peer interviews, or interviews in which current employees talk with job candidates, are another technique Shepard suggests managers adopt.
“They don’t necessarily get veto power, but sometimes the people who are not in management who are going to be down in the trenches working with employees can pick up things managers miss,” he said. “And by getting everybody involved in the recruiting and hiring process, it helps with the teamwork. If you hire somebody who your employees say, yeah they’ll fit in, that’s kind of a compliment and validation for them as well.”
Reach Mackenzi Kleman at 567-242-0456.