By Bobbi Palmer

1.  What type of person fits best with my business? 
You really can’t answer this until you articulate your ideal business culture. If you have not yet done so, start by defining the core values (three or four at most) you feel must be represented in everything you do in your business. Anyone you bring into your business community should sincerely share and appreciate these values. For instance, if one of your core values is delighting every customer, only hire people who believe in this and demonstrate the personal qualities to deliver it. Keep in mind that this isn’t about finding people with personalities like you – there is little advantage to hiring carbon-copies of yourself. This is about identifying, and then demanding certain personal characteristics and beliefs in anyone who will be representing your company.

2.  What exactly do I expect them to know and be able to do?
Identify all the knowledge, skills, and abilities the ideal candidate should possess. Then, consider each and break it down by “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves.” Be realistic. A must-have means that you will not hire them if they don’t have that knowledge or skill.  A nice-to-have means that you are willing to train this or direct the work elsewhere. Be sure to include everything! If you expect your accounts payable clerk to sweep the floor when needed, include this in your list. (You’ll use this later in job descriptions.)

3.  How will I know they possess what I am looking for?
For must-have characteristics, knowledge, and skills create specific interview questions or techniques that will allow your candidates to clearly and behaviorally demonstrate that they have these critical factors. Don’t just accept the candidate’s word that they believe something or can do something. Ask them to demonstrate the skill, solve a problem, describe their feelings, show or talk about prior accomplishments, or write or create something. Requiring this will provide you with proof you need to make an informed decision. Don’t be too narrow in your requirements; consider associated life-skills and experiences. And don’t be afraid to test! It ensures they have what you require, as well as shows that you will hold your people accountable for performance.
To read the other seven tips, check out the Fall Issue of WE Magazine for Women