A Headhunter’s Tips on Hiring Employees

If you’ve been in the business for six months or more, you know that business often is a see-saw. You either do not have enough clients, or you do not have enough employees. If you have employees but not enough clients, your employees won’t have enough hours. If you have an abundance of clients, you can hire more people that will need hours. I much prefer the former since finding dependable people is so stinkin’ hard! You have to hire people without lowering your standards.


I spoke with a headhunter who I met through a virtual networking event earlier this year, and she suggested three tips for initially contacting candidates. 


1. Call them

If you are actively seeking new employees, do not email; pick up the phone and call. Mention that you received their application and that they could be a good fit. Ask questions that will help you understand them as a person; gage their personalities from their answers.

Example: If they mention they left their last job because they didn’t get along with the manager, ask 2 or 3 follow-up questions. 


2. Ask them to send an updated resume.

They may have included their resume with the application, but you want to test your candidates 3 or 4 times before officially meeting them. You want to know that they can follow directions. 

Mention that you will send an email with an address and time for an interview but that you need their most updated resume. 

If they don’t send an email response, it’s a red flag they may not want the job very much. 

This helps to protect your time. You have only wasted 5-10 minutes on the phone rather than scheduling interviews for ten people, 5 of whom you could have eliminated just through some of the interaction before an interview slot.


3. Listen Carefully First

People want to tell you what you want to hear, so asking direct questions about their work summary is critical. 

I will dig around and ask them nonchalantly, “Oh, why did you leave there?” 

You can tell if they are a bad investment, or if it was the nature of the job, or that the person moved a lot. Life happens. But a red flag is if there are gaps more significant than six months if they’re in their mid-20s-40’s.

It matters who you hire to represent the face of your company. Continual turnover will cost you time, energy, money, and team morale. Your clients will notice new faces on regular occurrences, which could reflect poorly on your company.


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