Monday, November 17, 2008

Some thoughts as I look forward to hiring in the near future

What is wrong with business employees in America?

I could go one and on about the many things and why other country’s especially Japan seem to kick out but however I can best sum it up with a question/statement – what are the lyrics of the songs or their titles that deal with work in America?

Top 10 '80s Songs About Work (source

1. Huey Lewis & the News - "Workin' for a Livin'"

2. Bruce Springsteen - "Working on the Highway"

3. Loverboy - "Friday Night"

4. Billy Joel - "Allentown"

5. Donna Summer - "She Works Hard for the Money"

6. Bruce Hornsby & the Range - "Every Little Kiss"

7. The Bangles - "Manic Monday"

8. Sheena Easton - "Morning Train"

9. Members - "Working Girl"

10. The Alarm - "Devolution Workin' Man Blues"

Need I say more – what do these songs say about our collective psyche regarding work?

Let me ask you a question – when you meet an American what is the first thing you typically ask them? Did you know that in Japan the first question is what company do you work for?

Wonder why it seems so difficult to find a good employee who is as committed to the company as you are to their well being?

I will offer this advice also, I know it sounds cruel yet do not make the mistakes I made. My personal weakness often is I am too nice and let people in the past take advantage of me and have many stories about that very fact. It took me a long time to learn that the purpose of the business is to serve the client first and then employees. That said if you in your firing screening or while doing work find you have an employee that lies (regardless of the reason) fire them. A lie is actually the highest form of selfishness and disrespect. Further if a person will lie you cannot count on them to satisfy the needs of your client in a professional or timely manner and when they fail to do so you will loose that client. No client no revenue. Additionally it has been my experience that a person who lies will also steal. As such it is just best that you fire them but do so in a professional manner – gather the appropriate documentation. Simply put a liar will pull you do, they will use you and destroy your company’s reputation and any good will you may have. They will selfishly take your resources and expect you to tolerate their behavior and want you to continue to reward their negative behavior. It is easier said than done though because as people we tend to not want to cause anyone harm and yet in perspective this person is causes us great harm and if our company folds we will be in no position to help anyone or serve clients.

I bring this up because once upon a time I had quite a few employees who lied, abuse the company and took advantage of me and like a fool I let them come back or rehired them and you know what – they did it again – not much different from the national financial bailout. What I find in business and person life in times of crisis is when people shoe their true nature. If they exploit you that is what they will do when given the opportunity again, if they abandon you – guess what, if they seal from you or a client because they want it and that justifies their action – guess what? Lets even be less harsh – what about those employees who refuse to learn because they know everything there is to know?

I am discussing these things because soon I will be looking to staff up once I am done with some other changes in focus and direction. So how do you avoid allowing things to get to that point. Selectively higher people. You want people who work for you who share your values. These people do not have to agree with you in fact you never want employees or suppliers that agree you want people who will challenge you and offer you better or alternative solutions. You want people who are solution oriented and have high levels of integrity and commitment and loyalty. People who understand what it means to serve not be served.

When you higher someone a good place to start is not so much in talking to them but with their resume. Here is how

1) Look at their education – it is a good indication of their drive, commitment and ability to defer gratification

2) Look at their civic involvement – this will give you some idea of their desire to serve, give back and/help and notice were they members of leaders

3) Look at the awards they received – it is an indication of their drive

4) Look at their GPA with respect to the above often a C or B student is better than an A because they had to work for it but you will also have to talk to then to gauge if they are not slackers

On a site I found these Sample Interview Questions – all very good

Personal Motivation and Traits

· How do you feel about your present workload?

· What motivates you to do your best work?

· How can we best help you get your job done?

· Tell me about a time you went "out on a limb" to get the job done?

· What are the disadvantages of this line of work?

· What do you find most frustrating at work?

· Tell me about a project that got you really excited?

· How do you define doing a good job?

· What makes a job enjoyable for you?

· Under what conditions do you work best?

· What is your greatest strength/weakness or deficiency?

· Tell me about a work task you enjoy.


· What are your 5-year goals?

· Tell me what "success" means to you.

· What does "failure" mean to you?

· Do you consider yourself successful?

· Do you set goals for yourself and how do you do that?


· Tell me about a work situation you had that required excellent communication skills.

· Do you prefer to speak directly with someone or send a memo?

· How would you grade your ability to communicate with upper level management, customers, and peers?

· What was more important on your job, written or oral communication?


· Tell me about the last change which occurred in your office. How did you handle it?

· I'm interested in hearing about the last time you took a risk. What was it and in retrospect, was it the right decision?

· How important is communication and interaction with others on your job? How many departments did you deal with? What problems occurred?

· Tell me about a time when a work emergency caused you to reschedule your work/projects.

· Give me an example of the last time you went above and beyond the call of duty to get the job done

· In what areas do you typically have the least amount of patience at work?


· Tell me about a deadline you had to meet. How much advance notice did you have?

· You have worked in a fast paced environment. How did you like the environment?

· What kinds of decisions are most difficult for you?

· What is the most difficult work situation you have faced?

· What types of jobs do you have the most difficulty with?

· What do you do when you're having trouble with your job?

· What do you do when you have a great deal of work to accomplish in a short period of time?


· What do you do when you're having trouble with a boss?

· If your boss knew you were interviewing, what would he say?

· What do you feel an employer owes an employee?

· Your supervisor tells you do to something in a way you know is dead wrong. What do you do?

· If your supervisor unfairly criticized you, what would you do?

· Would you like to have your boss's job? Why or why not?

· Tell me about a time when your manager was in a rush and didn't give you enough attention.

· What are some of the things about which you and your boss disagree?

· What are some of the things your boss did that you disliked?

· In what areas could your boss have done a better job?

· I would be interested to hear about an occasion when your work or an idea was criticized, what was criticized, who criticized you, and how did you handle it?

· Describe the best manager you ever had. The worst. What qualities did each of them have?

Just remember your employee is the expression and representation of you and your company to the client – there are your public face, make sure you are conveying the positive message you want about yourself and your company.

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