Do you hire for social, technical or organizational skills.

After assessing my new helpers’ skills, I see that hiring is not so simple. To be a good worker, you need to be strong in many types of skills. I hire people to do phone work which involves a lot of interaction skills. Americans tend to be best at interaction although many back offices tend to attract those who aren’t. However, the other skills such as showing up on time, knowing how to keep information straight, or understanding technical terms can get in the way.

Keeping it Straight
The types of jobs I hire for do not have a pool of ready-trained people. I rely on people who know nothing, but learn fast. I am more interested in tracking your learning curve and attitude that seeing what you already know. For the last year and a half I have been training a lady who learns fast. After three coaching sessions she can master any of the tasks that I have her do even better than I can do them. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have the time to put in the hours I require, but at least she can get the job done. I hired another person who gets very upset whenever she has to learn anything new that she doesn’t understand. Any time there is a small confusion, she blows her top. Working with me involves a lot of changes in pace, and there are always new things to learn. I am not an expert at training people as I only train one new person every 18 months. I am good at what I do daily, but not good at what I do year-and-half-ly. Can’t my trainees just understand that I can’t possibly foresee every possible situation that they might be in or every possible word a client might use with them that might be hard to understand? Just write down your questions and ask. When in doubt, have the client email me. Solutions to unforeseen problems are easy, so why get upset?

Technical Understanding
But, some people can learn technical terms well, and understand technical situations well while others remain confused for the rest of their lives. I had to teach many people about loan documents. Most people cannot keep track of the various attributes of the various documents. They always get the documents confused. Unfortunately, if you are giving tests on loan document knowledge, you need to know the basics, otherwise you can’t give the test!

Then there are others who can’t display their data in an organized fashion. The commas are never where they are supposed to be. Nothing lines up. Unnecessary information is always added, and critical information is systematically omitted. If I am reading a report, you will be wasting my time if the information is not orderly, and complete.

If you hire new people, you might be very smart to test them on organizational skills before you officially hire them. Have them do some small projects. See if they actually finish the project without whining about if they are going to get paid. See if the data is arranged properly in a data output assignment. See if they can handle snags during customer service phone calls. Train them on technical terms and see if they can get them straight after an hour or two of training without getting upset. Most people cannot handle a task that is technical and that involves organizational and social skills. Some people might be good in one department or the other, but to line up all three in a row is hard to find. One solution is to simplify the types of jobs you give to others so that anybody can do it. That simplifies the hiring process and makes it easier to outsource work too. Idiot-proofing is one of the best strategies a business can have if you have trouble finding people who can be as smart as you!

This entry was posted in Hiring & Firing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *