Visiting offshore companies

Less Interviewing, More Testing – Hiring Staff on Core Skills

I regularly receive raving comments about the people I employ. Often I’m asked, “How do you get such loyal and focussed people?”

It’s really simple: we create them. In this post, I will tell you about the practical ways that I use when hiring staff.

Of the 300-400 people currently working for me in my furniture removal business, fewer than 4 employees have previous experience in their present employment role. For the trucks, we will NOT EVER hire anyone who has a truck driving licence or has worked in any removal business. We hire people who are – strong, really want a job, can communicate, and are willing to learn. It’s ONLY these FOUR things we test for and assess at the employment interview. The resume is read only to determine where the person lives . No other reason.

It surprises me when business owners want to hire “experienced” people. These people have left the employment of a competitor or similar business for a reason. The odds are that you will discover that reason the hard way after a few months from when after they started within your company.

It also bugs me when businesses “interview” the candidate and base their employment decision on their candidate’s resume and what they’ve said to interview responses. Guess what, – people do not tell the whole truth in their resume or at an interview.

So how do you decide who will suit the role?

I use a two-step process.

Firstly, I think really hard about the “core competencies” needed to be successful.

An example would be the role of my personal assistant. I needed someone who remains calm when the 10 things I’m doing at a time, half of which I’m changing without saying anything, start to fall apart. Someone who is worldly, able to negotiate my complex travelling arrangements, and above all, able to handle the Prime Minister whilst at the same time, dealing with an aggrieved blue-collar worker – In other words, an organised person with outstanding people skills.

Essentially, I wrote a job advert similar to the above paragraph – asking for those traits and not mentioning “experience”.   I then scanned the resumes to see what would catch my eye. Bingo! – An ex-airline hostess who wanted to stop travelling to look after her family.

My next step was to test, test, and test. For example, talking very fast and using almost derogatory language, I explained how a crazy customer was screaming wild accusations against a staff member, and I wanted the applicant to write a letter to get rid of the customer, to stop her from bugging me. My instructions included how this letter was to be saved and where it was to be emailed, and I timed the applicant’s response. Shortly after, I received a letter expressly, to my shock and horror, thanking the customer for raising her concerns, and assuring action would be taken. Bingo! – Just the people skills and reaction under pressure I was looking for.

Interestingly the applicant had no idea how Microsoft Outlook worked. This I fixed in a couple of days with the help of

It’s easier to teach software use than to teach people skills.

Let me guess – When you (and the HR managers you know) write a job advert, you would always say “must know Outlook” in your job advertisement?

Think about this.

Over the past few years, I’ve diversified my business strategies. I’ve grown some new businesses and I’ve made my existing business a lot more profitable and competitive.

This includes hiring a great group of people from the Philippines, to work both in an office and virtually. Remarkably, the employment principles needed in this setup are exactly the same as those needed in Australia.

There are hundreds of services offering to outsource. Almost all business owners do NOT get the “people” aspect. If you want to kick-start your business then I’m more than happy to help point you in the right direction – just ask.

Gain first-hand experience with global sourcing workplaces and staffing within the Philippines by joining us on a 3-day business learning tour.

MikesBusinessTours is about removing the risks and maximising productivity when engaging offshore staff. During this three-day day intensive learning tour, you will learn the 7 different ways to engage people and/or services in the Philippines. The program presents the points for and against each of these methods.

You can read about our typical itinerary by checking out our Typical Agenda page.

Mike O’Hagan – Serial Entrepreneur