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close this bookHundred Tips for a Better Management (Aga Khan Foundation, 1993, 70 pages)
close this folderStaffing
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View the document51. Seek out those rare individuals who are truly committed and build around them
View the document52. Put the person you interview at ease
View the document53. Hire team players
View the document54. Make the most critical interview the job interview
View the document55. Don't delay tough personnel decisions


What you manage in business is people.
Howard Geneen, CEO, IT&T

51. Seek out those rare individuals who are truly committed and build around them

[References - 41]

The most important function of management is the personnel function. And the most important personnel function is identifying and assigning staff. So one of your top priorities will be to constantly assess individuals inside and outside of your programme, to find those rare individuals who are committed to success, and then to build your programme around them.

Provide them with opportunities for growth and responsibility within your organisation. Take advantage of their strengths and exploit them. Avoid assigning them to tasks that display their weaknesses. Don't become a prisoner of personnel classification systems. Don't try to make the man fit the job. Make the job fit the man.

52. Put the person you interview at ease

[References - 42]

People you interview for a job are probably going to be somewhat nervous or anxious. They may stumble through an interview, not because they lack the kind of skills and talents you need, but because they are too ill at ease to show what they are really capable of doing. You can help to put someone more at ease and, thus, get the most out of the interview by doing the following:

Greet the people you will interview at your office door
Shake hands or welcome them in a customary way
Seat them in comfortable surroundings, preferably not directly in front of your desk
Offer refreshment
Use their name often
Smile occasionally
Describe how the interview is to be conducted
Tell them something about yourself
Compliment them appropriately
Be a good listener

53. Hire team players

[References - 43]

Although skills and experience are important when selecting new people, it is also important to hire people who can work well with others, and who are not always looking out for themselves.

54. Make the most critical interview the job interview

[References - 44]

Selection of the right people to do the job is the most important decision a manager has to make. One question in a job interview that will tell you almost everything about an applicant is, "What was the worst mistake you ever made; and what was the worst damage you did to your employer?"

You immediately learn three critical things about a person from the answer, i.e.

First, the magnitude of the mistake tells you how high that person was in the organisation. Big mistakes can't be made at low levels.

Second, few people make the same mistake twice, so you learn about the applicant's experience.

Third, the answer will tell you a lot about the applicant's character (who the applicant blames for the mistake; what he or she learned from it).

Take the time to get to know your top applicants. Don't rush through the interview. Make sure the applicants understand the job and your expectations. Then make sure you have what you want.

55. Don't delay tough personnel decisions

[References - 45]

Not all of your employees will be high producers. Some will not be successful.

If you have been clear and straightforward in hiring and assigning staff, then they will know what the job requires, what you expect, and what the consequences are of poor performance.

If an individual is not achieving results, not only that person will know it, but so will other staff. If you keep that person in that position, you are telling your staff that it is all-right to perform poorly.

This could have serious consequences, i.e.

1) overall performance of staff can decline, since there is no penalty for poor performance; and
2) your best performing staff could look for other jobs where their performance will be recognised.

As a manager it is your responsibility to take action. Work with low performers to help them improve; revise their jobs to take advantage of their strengths, if you can, but if you can't, don't hesitate to replace low performers with high performers.