Hiring staff is as entertaining as it is painful

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Once again I’ve been a slack blogger, so over the next few posts, I’ll hopefully be able to fill you in on all the boring stuff that’s been taking-up my valuable blogging time 🙂

So a few weeks ago we decided it was time to look for a new staff member. We put an ad online and literally within an hour we had received a bunch of resumes. After a few days and about 50+ responses later, we started culling the applicants – and let me tell you, there was quite a cross-section of skills…

One guy was from India, which was fine, however he was still living in India at the time of applying and offered to work ‘remotely’ for us… another person didn’t have a strong grasp on the English language and said in their list of ‘skills’ that they had ‘extraordinary talents’… yet another applicant said they were willing to service us in any way we desired if they were selected for the role. I’m hoping that last statement was my dirty mind interpreting their email in ways that the applicant didn’t really mean, and either way, it would have made for a more interesting working environment, but unfortunately they didn’t make the short-list.

Even though the role was aimed at someone with admin/accounts skills, given I run an IT company, one of the desired traits was (at the very least), some knowledge/understanding of technology… so yet another applicant that didn’t quite make the cut claimed they were highly proficient in “The Microsoft Product”. Given they started the sentence with “The” and didn’t mention products plural, I can only assume they think Microsoft only released one application (I only wish that was the truth sometimes).

I was honestly amazed at the number of applications / resumes / CV’s that came through with misspellings and/or obvious errors. For instance, one person claimed they worked for a firm between the years 1897 and 2001… now that’s an impressive employment streak 🙂

Sadly, even after culling a lot of applications and speaking with a few potential employees over the phone to arrange an interview, it’s still possible to get a completely incorrect impression of someone.

When one seemingly ok person turned-up for the interview, she looked like she had stepped straight out of a Tim Burton claymation film, had a nervous twitch and over-accentuated random words for no apparent reason. While there are heaps of articles, books, websites and information for job seekers on how to prepare for an interview, there’s very little information for us employers on what to do when you discover someone who looked good on paper makes the lesbian love-child of Bjork, Amy Winehouse and Susan Boyle look like the perfect picture of sanity… actually, come to think of it, if that love-child did exist, she’d had a brilliant musical career… although not the ideal person for an admin assistant… but I digress.

Luckily, after a few interviews, we finally found someone who seemed perfect (and given the poor quality of the other applicants) we decided to hire her on the spot. Although a little brash, it seemed to make sense at the time and we really didn’t want to go through any more painful interviews.

Until the next morning when a second perfect applicant contacted us.

So, after much deliberation, a few emails, phone calls and an interview, we’ve decided to possibly hire her as well.

Luckily, the second applicant wasn’t ready to start work straight away and will probably come on-board in 6 weeks (which will hopefully give us the time to create enough work to justify hiring her). Besides, both new staff members only want to do part-time hours, so it should all work-out fine.

The first applicant has now been with us for a couple of weeks and is fitting-in really well.

That’s enough boring work stuff, the next couple of posts will be about the stuff that’s happened on weekends and in-between all these crazy work changes.

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