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Tried-and-true interview techniques to pick the right person for the job

January 22/29, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 6

By Reginald Tucker

 

Finding the right employee for your business—whether you’re looking to bring on new salespeople, installers or even managers—can be a challenging, time-consuming task. First, there’s the creation and posting of the job listing. (Or perhaps you’ve decided to recruit via the networking route.) Then there’s the screening process, scheduling of interviews and, ultimately, the actual hiring and onboarding phase.

But experts in the field of hiring, recruiting and training believe the selection process needn’t be so arduous. Some say it can be an enlightening, eye-opening experience. Following are some trusted interview tips and techniques business owners, managers and consultants recommend in narrowing the search for the ideal employee.

Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions
In a recent CNBC feature titled, “Eight highly successful entrepreneurs reveal their best hiring secrets,” hiring managers and business owners—including

several start-up companies—emphasized the importance of avoiding run-of-the-mill questions during the interview process, such as, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” or “What are some of your strengths and weaknesses?” Instead, experts recommend managers pose more probative inquiries—or a series of associated questions—to illicit more genuine responses and discern the true nature of a particular candidate.

“I’ve found that I learn the most from a candidate when I ask them a bit of an uncomfortable question,” said Liz Wessel, WayUp co-founder and CEO, in the CNBC report. “I like to see how they react and whether they’re able to stay calm. I don’t do this because it’s fun; I do this because I want to see whether can they keep their composure and how they perform when they’re out of their comfort zone.”

John Kelley, CEO of CoachUp, is in agreement. His technique? Pushing candidates to answer the whys. For example, “Why did you choose that college or that course of study? Why that company or that role? Why did you decide to move on? I feel this gives me a deeper understanding of their motivations and goals, which helps me determine whether our company and culture are a good match,” he said.

The more specific the question, hiring managers say, the more meaningful responses you’ll get from a candidate.

In 2010, Jenny Blake, who oversaw Google’s career development and mentorship program prior to launching her own coaching firm, started a global program at Google to provide scalable, drop-in, 1:1 coaching to all Googlers, which involved teaching dozens of senior-level staff members transformative coaching and career development skills. Her new book, “Pivot: The Only Move That Matters is Your Next One,” offers a sampling of meaningful interview questions:

  1. “Tell me about a time when you solved a particularly interesting problem.” According to Blake, this question gets at problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.
  2. “What are you most excited about learning?” Blake said this is a good alternative to the popular five-year question. “I don’t like the question, ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’” she said. “Because things are changing too quickly, it is totally irrelevant.” Instead, she recommends employers get a sense of what potential employees are eager to work on and which skills they want to develop.
  3. “Recall a time when things didn’t go as planned—how did you handle it?” Regarding this question, Blake said, “I do think it’s good to try to frame something up around how someone handles uncertainty or even mistakes.” Missteps, she said, are inevitable; therefore, hiring people who bounce back is critical.

Properly structure and plan for each interview.
Statistics show that nearly 30% of candidates refuse a job offer because of how poorly the interview went. This is why it’s vital for employers to create—and consistently follow—the proper protocol for job interviews. Hiring and recruiting experts like David Romano, currently director of Romano Concepts—creator of six national restaurant models and multiple brands in the Dallas market—is a firm believer in this principle.

As the former owner of Benchmarkinc, which provided consulting services to retail businesses, including flooring dealers, Romano knows a thing or two about developing effective hiring processes. Once a regular columnist for FCNews prior to the recent sale of his consulting business, he continually stressed the importance of following a well-planned interview process.

Step one is to establish an interview agenda. “Build an outline for the entire interview, which should take no more than 45 minutes. Sketch out the framework with a set length of time for each section, covering information about the company, the job scope, position requirements, compensation. Include time to find out about the candidate through probing questions. Reserve a few minutes at the end for question and answer.”

Step two is to focus on the candidate. “Before asking the first interview question, review the job description, especially the hiring criteria, as well as everything the interviewee has submitted: résumé, cover letter, online profile, etc. This allows you to hone in on what you’re looking for in candidates.”

Romano advises against improvising during the interview process. While this might seem counterintuitive, it helps to keep the interview on track. “Prior to the actual interview, write down questions you intend to ask based on key areas of the candidate’s background,” he stated. “While it’s a good idea to have a core list of questions that you ask every candidate, it’s also helpful to jot down some targeted questions for clarification as you review the job description and résumé.”

Romano suggests managers ask more open-ended questions, as they require more thought and will help the person speak openly. Ask two or three hypothetical questions framed in the context of an actual job situation. More important, he said, it’s essential that hiring managers pay particular attention to the candidate’s answers. “Don’t rehearse your next question in your mind. Although you have your questions written down, don’t hesitate to veer from those if you want to reword or follow up, or eliminate questions already covered.”

Step three is closing the interview. After the candidate has had a chance to ask questions, end it by thanking him/her for his/her time and tell him/her when to expect to hear from you. “As soon as the candidate leaves, collect your thoughts, write down your impressions and summarize your notes. Get feedback from the other interviewers while the interview is still fresh.”

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Mohawk Industries to create 200 jobs in Dalton

Mohawk_Industries_logoDalton—Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that Mohawk Industries, the world’s largest flooring manufacturer, will expand its existing vinyl flooring operations in Dalton-Whitfield County. This project will significantly increase the company’s current U.S. luxury vinyl tile (LVT) manufacturing capacity. The $100 million capital investment in infrastructure and equipment will generate approximately 200 jobs for the region.

“Mohawk’s continued expansion in Georgia underscores how a premier flooring manufacturer helps Georgia’s entire floor covering industry remain competitive,” Deal said. “This is a great indicator of the resilience of the carpet and floor covering industry. We look forward to Mohawk’s continued job creation and investment in our state.”

The project will increase Mohawk’s production of flexible and rigid LVT (WPC) products for both residential and commercial applications. Mohawk currently employs more than 34,000 individuals worldwide and approximately 10,250 in Georgia.

“Mohawk currently is starting up its Dalton LVT plant, which will be operating at full capacity by the end of 2016,” said Brian Carson, president of Mohawk Industries’ Flooring North America segment. “This major investment to expand our U.S. LVT production will meet increased demand for our unique products and enhance Mohawk’s position as the global leader in LVT, the world’s fastest growing flooring category.”

Mohawk acquired the IVC Group in 2015, positioning the company at the forefront of the global vinyl flooring market. The acquisition added state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities in both in Europe and North America, including the world’s largest, most efficient LVT production lines in Dalton-Whitfield County.

“As the flooring industry leader, we will bring the same exceptional design and performance features to the LVT that we have in our other product categories,” Carson said. “Combined with our industry-leading national distribution system, this expansion will provide our customers with the broadest product offering and the highest level of service in the LVT category.”

“This is the third major investment on this site and this expansion will complete the build-out of the property that we prepared for IVC back in 2010,” said Whitfield County commission chairman Mike Babb. “This is proof that the economic development process works and that the effort was worthwhile. We are very pleased that the company continues to grow and thrive and we appreciate all that Mohawk does to help our community.”

Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) regional project manager Stephanie Scearce represented the Global Commerce division in partnership with Mohawk Industries, Dalton-Whitfield Joint Development Authority and Dalton Utilities.

“We are excited about Mohawk’s choice to expand their operations in Dalton-Whitfield County,” said GDEcD commissioner Chris Carr. “Existing industry accounts for a major portion of the state’s investment and job opportunities, and we look forward to working with Mohawk and our partners in Dalton-Whitfield County to ensure they have the resources they need to continue to deepen their

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Beaulieu announces closure of Riverbend facility

DALTON—Continued reduced sales brought on by a struggling economy has led Beaulieu to cease production by year’s end at its Riverbend facility here. The Riverbend plant has been in operation by Beaulieu since 1988, employs 170 associates, and produces tufted and finished carpet for the industry’s top carpet-only manufacturer. Continue reading Beaulieu announces closure of Riverbend facility