Recruiting Uncategorized

How to hate recruiting less

I’ve noticed a significant upswing of emotional posts (rants) on the part of recruiters, hiring managers, candidates, and CEOs all on the subject of recruiting. Having been in all of these roles at one point or another, I can easily understand why. There is a strong perception of a general lack of professional courtesy from all sides that stems from a system that was broken to begin with and only gets worse with a reliance on technology. I recently spoke on the subject of recruiting and hiring best practices to a group of small business owners and entrepreneurs, so I’ve been giving this quite some thought.

There are really two camps an employer can fall into. Those who see employees as valued partners in growing and running a business, and those who think people are expendable commodities not deserving of respect or timely communication. I’ve certainly run into my share of both but actually refuse to work with the latter anymore (and don’t suggest you do, either) so I’ll focus on the former.

Unfortunately, an employer can value employees very highly but come across as though they don’t due to broken or damaged processes. Here’s my experience of how the recruiting process tends to work in small to medium sized businesses. Either an employee leaves, or the volume of work becomes overwhelming and the hiring manager and his/her supervisor(s) agree that another employee or two is needed. A job description is unearthed (or created), which is then copied and pasted onto job boards, and HR (or the hiring manager) begins receiving resumes. These folks typically look mainly at previous titles and tenures, ‘weeding out’ folks based on lack of meeting the criteria.

Then either an HR person, or hiring manager conducts a phone screen or in person interview with a candidate. Not always, but usually this falls to either a hiring manager with no interviewing training, or an HR person with no technical understanding of the job (and sometimes no interviewing training either). This allows for the possibility (probability if we’re being realistic) of illegal questions and improper screening. Candidates who are not selected are rarely contacted again. Candidates who are selected are not always given the time and attention they need during the first month to effectively acclimate to their new environment in order to become as effective as possible.

Frustrating (to say the least), but for most companies, that’s the only way they know.

Often companies and candidates choose the recruiter route. Unfortunately, this often just creates another layer for potential miscommunication, and added expense. Before all the recruiters get mad at me (and I often do serve as recruiter for my clients, so I’m not taking shots at you) it’s very difficult for them to provide service when clients don’t communicate changes in their needs, feedback on candidates, or don’t make decisions.

In all cases, the problems are reduced significantly by instituting formalized hiring processes, holding all parties accountable for professional communication, and ensuring adequate interviewing training is provided.

But I think it goes deeper than that.

The problem with this whole system is that it often starts with when the hiring need is recognized. This means that right out of the gate, everybody’s acting more reactively than proactively. Not many people are able to make good decisions when they’re rushed, fearful, or otherwise under the gun, and hiring is a major decision. A perception of scarcity encourages companies to rush through creating the job description, posting, interviews, etc. Candidates who similarly feel desperate apply for jobs they don’t want or aren’t qualified for just to get ‘something’.

We all know that activity reduces anxiety, regardless of the value of the activity. With both parties in the process doing ‘something’ to alleviate their fear, good decisions don’t happen.

To get out of the rat trap, companies can take the first step by taking time when there aren’t urgent hiring needs to craft their hiring strategy (for more information on this, see Bonus 3 – Designing your Hiring Process, in the Leadership Toolbox on my site).

During this stage, companies should take a thorough look at the current structure with an eye for not only today, but also towards what will be needed in one and five years’ time if anticipated revenue goals are hit. If you’re company is in ‘the zone’ of transitioning from $5 million to $25 million, or from $55 million to $100 million over the next few years, you need to be especially vigilant about creating structures that allow for the communication and handoffs that will be required with the added volume, as well as the need to develop more formalized systems and processes. This likely means that the current positions need to be re-examined.

As a result, companies should emerge with an idea of the responsibilities and skillsets that will be required in the future. This will allow for a proactive building of a pipeline in anticipation of future needs.

At the end of the day, this isn’t ‘science’ or processes. It’s people talking to people. If your employees love working for you, they’ll tell other people. If you love your company, you’ll be excited about it. There’s no shame in meeting people now even if you don’t have a hiring need. If you know who you’re looking for, you can start meeting them. Build a network, make friends, and keep in touch. That way, when it is time to hire someone, you’ll know exactly what it will take to fill the position and hopefully you’ll already know someone. And, if you don’t have the perfect person already in your network, and need to search, at least you’ll be calm and prepared, as will your hiring managers and HR team to competently assess the perfect candidate.

And make sure to let everyone you interview know when you’ve made a choice. That’s just good manners.

Carrie Maldonado is the founder of Today’s Leadership Solutions, a Seattle-based consulting firm providing comprehensive organizational development solutions for companies who are growing and who truly value their people.  With certified Executive Coaches, Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) practitioners, SPHR-certified HR professionals, and Organizational Development Specialists, Carrie’s team brings a unique perspective and a cross-functional approach to providing workplace solutions that work.  Carrie can be reached for consultation at


Adding to your team: 5 bad hiring practices to avoid

When you own or lead a business, you will eventually go through the process of adding to your team. Depending on your business, this may happen often or it may be rare. Regardless of the position, who you bring on board is one of the most important things you will do to your company. If you have entrusted this to your managers, or other leaders on your team, it can be a big mistake to assume that they have the ability, training or experience to do a good job on your behalf. Regardless of a manager’s background, they may very well be falling prey to common bad hiring practices that can prevent making a good hire or can increase the chances of making a bad hire. 

1)      Weeding vs Prospecting

If you are taking a weeding out stance to hiring versus a prospecting for gold stance, you will be screening interviews and asking questions with the goal to trip someone up or find their flaws. The good news with this approach is that you will always be successful. The bad news is you will possibly turn away the best candidate in your life because they had a flaw. In case this is news to you, I’ll say it slowly. Everyone has flaws (even you). Look at the bigger picture and determine if your organization has the systems, training or mentors to mitigate the flaws while capitalizing on the gold. This approach allows you to experience the truly transformational possibilities of leadership.

2)      Talking too much

If you or your managers are really excited about the company or the role, you may easily find yourself talking too much in the interview. This also happens when you just ‘fall in love’ with a candidate and want to convince them why they should work for you. Ironically, I’ve noticed that the managers who tend to talk the most during the interview, also tend to rate the candidates most highly, so really watch out for this tendency as it can waste a lot of time. An easy fix is to write out your questions ahead of time and make sure you get through them all.

3)      Lack of passion for the company and /or job

This is the opposite of the previous point. In my role as recruiter, I have encountered managers who are seriously unhappy in their jobs or with the company and it makes it really difficult for them to add to the company.  Sometimes it’s so bad they actually feel guilty bringing someone else into such a miserable environment, and other times they just project a negativity into the interview that is only attractive to other, equally negative people. If there is a lack of enthusiasm or passion for the role, as a leader you need to deal with it promptly, whether it’s your own or your manager’s.

4)      Interviewing questions without predictive validity

Predictive validity refers to how well the answer to the question indicates how well the person would do in the role. “What kind of animal would you be on a carousel?”, “What’s your favorite color?” are obvious examples of questions with no predictive validity. There are others that are not so obvious. “How would you go about ensuring you resolved a customer complaint” is similarly unhelpful, but a surprising number of interviewers ask situational questions. Although these can tell you some useful information and an argument can be made (although probably not by me) that they serve a purpose, it is important to include at least some questions that will give you an idea of how well a person will perform the role. Since the best predictor of future behavior is previous behavior, this means you will need to find out if they have successfully performed similar or transferrable roles in the past.

5)      Lack of clarity on role expectations

It is incredibly difficult for both interviewer and interviewee if there is lack of clarity in role expectations. This can happen if someone has delegated the interviewing, if it is a new role, if there is lack of agreement in the role or other transitional type circumstances. Not only will it be difficult to determine if someone is the right fit, it will equally impossible for them to succeed without clear expectations. Take the time to vet out the need for the role, the 30,60,90 day accomplishments, how the position fits into the overall structure and vision of the company. Make sure you know who they will report to, hours, compensation, travel, and the knowledge, skills and abilities they need to succeed. In addition, you should have a thorough description of the work environment and what it takes to thrive there. Without this, everyone is operating blind and your chances of making a good hire are very slim.

So if your managers are new to hiring, or if your new hire success rate is about 50/50, consider investing some time into fleshing out the roles and cultural expectations and training interviewers on how to identify the golden candidates who will make your company a more profitable and better place to work. 

Recruiting Uncategorized

My personal interviewing ‘don’ts’

As a continuation of last week’s post, here are some of my interviewing ‘don’ts’.  These are interviewing techniques that, although common, I have not personally found very effective.   I’m willing to bet a cup of coffee that I’m mentioning one of your favorite, ‘go-to’ questions.  That’s okay.  If these work for you, and help you differentiate a strong candidate from a weak one, keep using them.   Some of these are on my list because they used to be very good questions; so good that everyone started using them and career coaches started prepping people for them, so I found over the last few years the answers are a bit ‘canned’.  You can always re-tweak your question to get a more authentic answer.  Some of these are on my list because they prevent you from finding out good information.  Again, find what works for you and stick to it. 

Talk too much about yourself
This is the worst interviewing mistake, and senior executives are just as guilty of this as novice managers.  While it is important for the candidate to get to know you and your company, it is not okay to spend the whole interview talking about yourself and not ask what you need to from the candidate.  I have noticed that people who tend to do this, also tend to like everyone they interview (because they like talking about themselves)

Ask yes/no questions without follow up
This tends to happen when the interviewer has already decided the candidate can do the job (which can be for various reasons).  They will say things like. “Are you good with Excel?” or “This job requires attention to detail, which I assume is no problem for you given your history?”.  Usually when you ask a yes/no question it’s obvious what the right answer is, so if you don’t ask for follow up, or examples, you’re really leaving a lot unanswered.

Ask ‘greatest strength/greatest weakness’
There are people who are very attached to these questions and nothing I say will convince you otherwise but I personally don’t find them very useful.  I’m not sure most people are accurate on their self assessments and/or motivated to share those honestly with their potential employer.  Furthermore, every interview coaching book I have ever read advises candidates to prepare an answer to this question.  You’d have to be born under a rock not to know to answer this either with a strength disguised as a weakness (I care too much) or as a story of personal triumph (I used to … but now I …)

Ask what animal the candidate would be on the carousel…or what animal they would be period, or what kind of tree
People who ask these believe very strongly it can give you insight into a person’s self-concept and values.  For example “I’d be a mighty oak tree because I’m mighty and strong and resist adversity” or “I’d be a weeping willow because I cry all the time” etc.  I’m not sure I know how to interpret the answer and, as above, whether a person’s self-assessment is true.  And because their job does not require them to be a tree, I am skeptical of the predictive validity. 

Ask situational questions as a predictor of how the candidate would do in that situation
This also is a pet technique for many and if you insist on asking it, that’s fine.  I don’t like these questions because I don’t think they have a lot of predictive validity.  Creating an imaginary situation and asking a candidate how they would respond in it just doesn’t make sense.  People who like this technique insist that it tells them how well people think on their feet, are creative, etc etc.  To me, it just tells me how well they respond to imaginary situations.  If needing to respond to an imaginary situation is a job requirement, however, this should be part of the interview

Recruiting Uncategorized

Interviewing Do’s (Don’ts to follow)

I’ve taught classes for managers on interviewing skills countless times over the years.  What I’ve found to be true is that interviewing is like potato salad:  Everyone has their own way of doing it and everything thinks their way is the best.  I know a manager who is adamant that the only question he needs to ask prospective candidates is “if you were an animal on a carousel, which animal would you be?”  I totally disagree but have not been able to convince him to this day.  Making a good hiring choice is so important that most people are highly invested in whatever they think increases the odds of finding a great candidate (or avoiding a nightmare).  I have a personal list of do’s and don’ts that I’ve found over the years to have good predictive validity. Hopefully you have success with them as well.

Absolute Do’s

A job description review for job requirements, competencies and duties
This is probably most important.  Never, never, never interview someone without this.  You’re doing everyone a disservice.  Requirements are your non-negotiables that someone needs in order to do the job.  For example, if you’re hiring an accountant a requirement might be an accounting degree. Competencies are skills someone has acquired, such as proficiency with excel and duties refer to the tasks people will be doing, such as coding journal entries.

Craft behavioral interview questions based on the above
My unshakable belief is that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior and that if someone has successfully executed the necessary components of the job previously there is a high likelihood they will do so again, so the interview questions should ask what people have done, and not what they would or could do.

Create an interview sheet with each question, rating and notes
This is so important because it keeps you objective and fair throughout the process.  We are all going to find candidates we relate to better than others and having an interview sheet ensures every candidate has an equal chance to provide the same information to you.

Ask clarifying questions
I sometimes forget that the candidates can be very good at hiding their nervousness, and so sometimes when they say odd, off the wall things it can take me aback. There is nothing wrong with asking someone to repeat what they said or to clarify.  In fact, imagine in every interview that you will be relaying the interview to a very inquisitive six year old.  They will have no compunctions about asking why, so you’d better not either!

Address concerns
This goes along with the point above, but it cannot be overstated.  If the candidate has said something that suddenly puts them into the do not hire camp, please address it (if appropriate).  For example, if the candidate has implied that they do not like working directly with customers, and that is part of the job, please say so.  On the other hand, if your concerns are illegal, you may need to look at your own biases.  For example, if you inadvertently learn that your candidate is a member of a protected class and it changes your impression of them, you need to look at you and focus your attention all the more on the job requirements and whether the candidate can fulfill them.

Address salary expectations
By now, everyone has chewed on the old chestnut stating that in salary negotiations, the first person to mention a number loses.  I get it but, please!  It makes recruiting almost impossible when candidates are secretive about their salary requirements.  Just tell what the job pays, and let the candidate decide if that works for them or not.  

Mention any background checks or pre-employment drug tests
Different companies have different philosophies on this, but if you will be administering a pre-employment drug test or background check, tell your candidate and let them decide if they want to continue the process. It saves time and money to give them a graceful out.

Again, these are just some things that I have found to have good predictive validity.  There are also some don’ts that I’ve done well to stay away from that I’ll be sharing next week.  Until then, happy hunting!


5 managerial shortcuts guaranteed to make your life miserable

If you’re like most managers, you’ve probably at one point in your career thought “I’d love my job if it weren’t for the people messing everything up”.  I’ve never met a manager who didn’t at one time or another wish that s/he didn’t have to deal with people any more.  All managers get anxiety when their people are not performing, but the great leaders are the ones who channel that anxiety into helping people improve rather than make themselves feel better by unloading on their subordinates.   There are countless books about how to be a better manager and implementing the ideas in them will help. Regardless, there are still some common pitfalls managers engage in that may seem like shortcuts at the time, but end up causing unnecessary time and energy dealing with ‘people problems’.  So here are some common offenders


1)      Not taking the time to understand your own strengths, weaknesses and idiosyncrasies

I’ve spoken previously about common traits of entrepreneurs.  Chances are if you are a manager or leader then you were a great individual contributor with high capacity and are achievement oriented.  You also are comfortable with if not desirous of holding positions of authority.  But what’s it really like to work for you?  Do you like to micro-manage every little detail, or are you more comfortable with a 30,000 level update?  Please take the time to know your own strengths and weaknesses and hire people who complement you.  It is rarely necessary to hire your clone, so please avoid the temptation to fill your office with people just like you.  It rarely works well.

2)      Not developing good behavioral interview questions to use on each potential new employee

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.  I have not been exposed to an argument to the contrary (and there are many, to be fair) that has swayed me from this tactic.  While I understand the theory behind situational questions (What would you do if…) I remain unconvinced of their predictive validity.  If I need someone who can manage difficult clients, I would much rather hear about the most difficult client relationship they managed and how it was resolved than their thoughts on an imaginary situation.  Yes, a terrible answer to a situational question can weed out the horrible applicants, but I prefer to think of interviewing as ‘mining for greatness’ rather than ‘weeding out bad eggs’.

3)      Not having an ‘expectation’ discussion with new team members

This is the ‘culture talk’ and ideally happens before someone joins your team.  It goes along with point one and requires you understand how things really need to work in your department or company.  For example, if you want to create a culture of accountability, don’t ever assume this goes without saying.  In fact NOTHING should go without saying.  Spell out what this is and how it looks.  For example:  ‘Ours is a culture of accountability.  We reward people for owing up to their mistakes and taking action to resolve them.  We encourage risk taking and understand that we all learn from mistakes.  Finger pointing and blame laying are not compatible with this goal and are not tolerated.’  Believe it or not, this can be communicated in a way that is motivating and exciting and not negative.  It just takes passion and sincerity.

4)      Not having regular one-on-ones with subordinates

No managers have time for one-on-ones.  They are all too busy.  You are too busy too.  You are also too busy for ‘gotta minutes’, replacing staff who leave because their career paths aren’t clear and who don’t feel you care about them.  Like it or not, the newest generation of workers wants and needs this and won’t stay around long if they don’t get it.  Even the GenXers and Babyboomers do better with one-on-one time so make sure it happens with all your staff.

5)      Coaching in public and praising in private

Surprisingly, there are still leaders who don’t get this.  Never, ever, ever, criticize, denigrate, humiliate, correct, constructively criticize or any other euphemism for calling out your subordinate in front of his/her peers, subordinates, customers or anyone else.  This is never a good idea, is never called for and will lose you loyalty faster than anything else.  You should, on the other hand praise lavishly in public. 

Of course it is possible to do the above five things well and still experience performance problems but I would wager heavily that you will have much fewer performance problems and by being disciplined at executing the above five you will be much more equipped to deal with any issues that do arise.   At the end of the day, a good manager is well served to remember to be clear and concise about expectations, respectful of others’ time and to be practice the golden rule.  

Recruiting Uncategorized

From the Recruiting Desk – Tips for your job search

Part of the services Limitless HR Solutions offers is recruiting, so part of my job is matching job searchers to people who are hiring.   From a recruiting standpoint, there are really three things to take into consideration: Does the skill set of the candidate match with what the company needs; is the culture a ‘fit’ for the candidate, and lastly, does the candidate demonstrate social/emotional intelligence?  Much of the time, it’s like gold mining, and sometimes it’s like gold mining in reverse.  

As a Certified Professional Resume Writer, I am well aware that a resume is a marketing tool and sometimes it’s not an entirely accurate one.  Behavioral interviewing is my best tool for determining whether someone has actually done what their resume claims.  For example, the resume might say ‘Managed customer accounts worth $250 million’.  Behavioral interview questions will address what specific things they did when they say ‘managed accounts’ and you may find out they did exactly what you need them to do in this role or (reverse gold mining) by ‘managed’ they mean ‘took orders when established clients called them in’.  

So tip number one for job searchers:  You will greatly increase your chance of an interview if your resume makes it easy for me to determine the things you did and the results you got.  I’m sure I’m not the only recruiter who is also a resume writer so please do not ‘fluff’ up your resume to make it sound more impressive.  We can tell.  And do you really want to land a job that is way above your experience level?  

Recruiting for cultural fit is as important as skill (see previous article).  This is relatively easy to get a sense for; and especially when both sides are honest.  I firmly believe that in any relationship-dating or working, there is a lid for every pot.  If not having established policies for things gives you a rash, please don’t say you thrive in chaos.  

Tip number two for job searchers:  If you haven’t done so, please take some time to figure out what you’d really like to be doing.  If you’re feeling desperate to land a job, this may seem like a luxury you can’t afford but trust me.  You’ll stand a much better chance of getting by the me’s of the recruiting world if we sense this is a good fit and not that you’re saying whatever you have to because you’re worried you’ll never, ever get a paycheck again.

The last thing is emotional or social intelligence.  I’m not sure if this can be learned or not.  After some of the candidates I’ve spoken to I’ve wondered if they are playing an elaborate joke on me.  Why would someone go to the trouble of applying for a job they clearly don’t want?  

Tip number three for job searchers:  Unless a recruiter calls you out of the blue, you will be aware that you have an interview.  If you don’t at least do a cursory google search of the company you are interviewing with as well as a review of the job description…of the job you have applied for…you will NOT endear yourself to the gatekeeper…ERRRR recruiter.  

Tip number four for job searchers:  It’s a good idea to be pleasant to the recruiter.  If you berate them for information, or demand a higher salary before the interview has started, or complain about the job description, we will think you are a jerk and will not recommend you for hire.  It saddens me that this cannot remain and unstated rule, but alas, it cannot.

Happy Hunting!

Recruiting Uncategorized

“We Value People” Series Part 2: Recruiting for Culture

In the last post, we discussed what it means for an organization to ‘value people’.   When recruiting for an organization, hiring for cultural fit is arguably the most important factor. Obviously skill vies strongly for number one, but if you’ve ever had a technically brilliant person in a wrong cultural fit, you may argue for culture (I do).  If your candidates are truly great, they have options for employment and I will guarantee that they are hearing from every organization a version of “People are our number one resource,” “We value our people” and “We work hard and have fun”.  Everyone says that.  

Recruiting is a lot like dating.  For example, suppose your idea of a perfect life is living in a secluded log cabin in the mountains, hiking and reading thought-provoking books alone with your spouse.  You get online and start sifting through matches.  You find someone who meets many of your requirements in a perfect spouse. Same career aspirations, income level, geographic location, attractive, and sense of humor.  Sounds good, right?  Then you read that their ideal life is jet setting between New York and Paris attending gala events and social soirees.  Here is a quick multiple choice quiz:  This match is likely to a) develop into a satisfying long term relationship because both people will change and meet in the middle and have the best life ever or b) develop into a swirling vortex of bitterness and resentment where you can’t possibly imagine hating someone as much as this person? In case you are in any doubt, the answer is likely b.  Yes there are exceptions but the reality is YOU probably will not be that exception.  You are only wasting your time and their time even pursuing this match.  This is not to say they are not a great person, just not great for you.   The same is true for recruiting.  Never hide who you are to get what you think is a great candidate.  A great candidate in the wrong culture is just an acrimonious termination waiting to happen.  

Even if you’re a small employer, it’s important to define your ‘brand’ and to articulate your culture.  Don’t worry if, when you do this, you become aware of some disconnects.  At this stage the important thing is to define your culture so that you can attract the people who fit that culture. Next, and in subsequent posts, we can review what to do if your practices are out of sync with your desired culture.  There are benefits to every culture and there is a perfect candidate who will find your culture engaging and stimulating (unless you have a toxic culture.  If you have a toxic culture, keep on the lookout for subsequent posts).  

For example, small companies are appealing because candidates can have a direct impact there.  People who like to effect change and thrive on developing systems and who don’t mind (or like) lack of structure look for small companies.  Large, established companies attract people confident in their ability who appreciate the opportunity to improve their skills.  People who don’t mind (or like) established structures are more comfortable in large companies.  
Hopefully, you believe that you value your employees.  What does this mean to you?  Do you pay above market level?  If not, that’s okay.  Do you encourage open exchanges of ideas and allow people to try new things?  Do you have office events?  There’s probably something you do that you think is different or better than other companies.  Can people bring their pets to work?  Do you let them work from home occasionally?  Will you support their further education?  Do you offer the chance to advance from within the company?  There are literally hundreds of things a company can do that values employees.  Define this and your recruiting just got much more effective.  Now, when you are recruiting, you can give a very factual account of the environment and you can also ask the right question to determine whether the candidate will thrive in this environment or not.  This is a critical foundation to building a great company, vs importing headaches. 

Next, time, Part 3: Cultural Disconnects


Recruiting Uncategorized

Recruiting for your business

So your business has grown the extent that you need to grow your employee base. Congratulations!  This is wonderful, and also not so wonderful. You are now entering the world of ‘why are good people so hard to find’?  If you are on a tight budget, or new to the game, chances are you started with a help wanted ad on Craig’s List or some other relatively inexpensive job board.  You may have even broken out the big bucks and posted on Monster. The results were probably that you got about two hundred resumes in two or three days which fell into two categories: ‘Did they even READ the ad?’, and ‘They’re all equally qualified, how do I decide?’  You probably have no problem weeding out the ‘no way, not even if you were the only applicant’ applicants, and are left with the few who appear to be absolutely perfect, and the bigger pile of people who seem ‘fine’ but nothing really stands out about them.  You then start scheduling interviews and find that of your perfect people, some have already found jobs, and the rest must have paid a lot of money for their resume but it is clearly bogus.  So now you stare with sinking stomach at the fifty or so ‘pretty goods’ on your desk.  Then you get busy.  Then it’s a week later and you can’t even stand the thought of starting to make all these calls.  Ugh.  Did you just waste your time and money even posting the ad?

If this sounds familiar, believe me, you are NOT alone!  Recruiting can be the most overwhelming and discouraging part of management.  Here are a few tips that can help, and we’ll be posting some additional articles on this since it’s such a big topic.  First is resume screening.  Before you even post your ad, make sure you are very, very clear about what the person will be actually DOING.  This should form the basis of your job description as well.  Don’t skip this step no matter what.  Besides the job description, make this a checklist.  It should contain things like, for example, create spreadsheets, call customers, greet clients, send out newsletter or whatever you will have the person be doing.  Then make a second checklist about the traits you’d like the person to have.  Is sense of humor important?  Put it on.  Does punctuality matter?  Get it on there.  What should NEVER be on your list is anything to do with protected characteristics such as age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national origin.  Incorporate both these lists into your ad and make it easy on yourself by asking the candidates to include a cover letter explaining how they meet your requirements.  When you’re screening the resumes, only people who comply make the shortlist.  This also can form the basis of your interviews.  For more on interviewing, check our next blog;  Interviewing’