Picture this. You’re in an aeroplane, ready for takeoff. The pilot comes on and announces this is his first flight. In the back of your mind, you hope this pilot is pretty terrific. Imagine if you discovered that the airline’s hiring practices included two interviews and a reference check?

It’s comforting to know that a pilot is put through real world scenarios that not only ‘say’ his or her skills; they ‘demonstrate’ it.

The most expensive mistakes a company can make occur at the hiring table... expensive for the applicant who may move self and family to a new location for a new job... expensive for a company which advertises, sifts through, develops the team, and spends countless hours interviewing and assessing, hoping to get the ‘right’ person.

It can cost as much as 200% of an employee’s annual salary to replace them. A hiring mistake can be expensive, never mind devastating for the business when you consider missed opportunities, plus the long term impact of your tarnished reputation. As well, there’s lost time, time to advertise, interview, hire and train. The new person takes up the time of other staff as s/he ‘learns the ropes.’ Then there’s the severence when it doesn’t work out. There’s no return on investment when you hire the wrong person.

Mike McCarthy and Lighthouse Consulting is out to change all that. Mike works with business owners and human resource managers to assist in the selection process for any employees. And he does it by working with key staff to develop a flight simulator for your business. It’s a novel idea, effective, and almost 100% foolproof!

Ian Pavlik should know. He called on Mike to help in a recent hire for a sales person for Pavliks.com, a company offering full service technology, software systems, computer network setup and support as well as website services. Ian is thrilled with the results. So is his new employee. In fact, Ian says he’ll use Mike’s simulation services from now on.

This is how it works...

Using a selection of final job candidates, Mike emails to each an assignment that’s realistic. In Pavliks case, it was to assume you’ve been a sales rep for Pavliks for the past two weeks. You’ve familiarized yourself with products and you know the company has expansion plans for the Newmarket/Bradford area. Put together a 6 month sales plan to demonstrate how you’ll help take the company to the next level of sales growth. Mike then highlights expected contents of the plan and gives a two-day deadline.

The potential ‘hires’ get to work, emailing in their plans when complete. Mike and Ian work through plans, assessing levels of skills in a number of areas. Ian gets to see how the potential candidates communicate; he’s able to look at thought process as well as written skills. The candidate gets to express him or herself in their own style, comfortable and unstressed.

Second simulation is the Telephone Sales Plan Walk-Through. Assignment is to phone the company president and go over the emailed sales plan via telephone. They’re to explain their thinking for their plan plus recommendations. You can quickly see the benefits here.

Mike calls this a win-win-win, and for anyone who’s been through the microscope team interview, you can see how different this is. The candidate gets to research, interact with other employees in the company, talk, think, present, write, and express their creativity in a number of ways. The hiring agent, or owner, benefits too. They see their potential candidate in many lights, are able to assess their ‘fit’ with the company and they do it under five different ‘flight’ simulations.

Mike McCarthy says his hiring experience is virtually guranteed to select the right person for the right role in the right company and everybody wins. And whether it’s a company with 10 employees, or 200, the selection process is equally critical. “We want to bring out their core abilities and their core attitudes. We know their experiences; we want to drill inside to find out what’s there, he says.”

Mike spends time prior to designing simulators, discussing with a company its hiring mistakes, its goals and then moves into the selection process. The entire simulator experience takes 3 to 4 days.

“Staff can be your greatest asset or your greatest risk. The whole concept is risk management for small business hiring practices. I believe that real life examples with the stress built in sure outweigh the two-interview-reference-check-method.

“By the time the job offers comes, your risk and their risk has been diminished.”

This is a whole new approach to finding the right people for the right opportunity. It sure beats the meat grinder, pressure cooker method.

Thanks, Mike.

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