Every summer, mid way through the season, I’ve been saying “we have the best staff, we can’t top this team!” but each year we manage to get another batch of amazing guides. Being a small company every person matters and plays an important part in our tours operating smoothly and making our guests happy. It is crucial to have employees who work hard as a team with a smile on their face! Our guides believe in our tour and mission. Last year our Tripadvisor reviews exploded with comments and compliments from our guests about how friendly and knowledgeable their guides were. So how do you find these outstanding employees through the hundreds of applicants? Here are a few things we look for when reading through resumes and a list of tips to hiring super star workers!
Before the Interview:
- Ask for resumes only. If an applicant sends a resume complete with cover letter and references then you know they are serious and care enough about the position to take the time to sit down and put their information together.
- Cover letters are very revealing. In just a short paragraph you can tell a lot about a person by their writing style and what they choose to focus their letter on. Look for why they want to work for your business and why they would be the best candidate for the position. Watch out for sob stories that tell you too much like “It’s been hard finding a job” or blank statements that won’t tell you much like “It would be fun.” Good grammar is a plus too!
- Resumes should have strong customer service background. Even if the applicant has limited experience their training, extra curricular activities, volunteer work or awards/honors might be relevant knowledge to the job. Look for the places they have been employed, how long they worked there, what skills they learned and why they left.
Once you’ve read through all the resumes and cover letters of your potential employees narrow down your list of the strongest contenders for the position to set up an interview.
During the Interview:
- Look for the nicest people you can find. Our motto has always been “hire the friendliest guides – you can train them on the rest but you can’t train them to be friendly people.” When meeting someone for the first time you want them to have personality and feel comfortable talking.
- Ask “power questions.” The difficult questions are often the most telling so don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions during an interview such as “What do you think your weaknesses employee are?” “How do you handle or address stressful situations or conflict within the work space?” or “What are you looking forward to most working for our company?” Giving examples from previous jobs is important to communicating what experience they can bring to the table and how they think through difficult or demanding circumstances.
- Have they done their research? Be sure to ask “Why they want to work for you?” Their answer should demonstrate that they know your business and what you are all about!
- Get a second opinion. Have a manager or partner conduct the initial interview and offer a second interview to only those top-notch applicants. Sometimes you uncover qualities or characteristics in a second interview or a different interviewer will have a varying perspective. Then the two interviewers can compare opinions of the applicant and if they would be a good fit. Two heads are better than one!
Always try to meet for the first interview in person. Skype is an excellent way to have a face-to-face connection with someone even from another location. When thinking of hiring an individual consider how they will fit within the team dynamic. Follow your gut and if you see any red flags listen to the warning signs. Sometimes someone will have a great interview but they will have one unsettling thing that sticks out. From my experience, whenever I’ve gone out on a limb and didn’t heed to my instinct, I’ve struggled with that employee.
After the Interview:
- Be sure to take time to call references. Have what areas you want a previous supervisor or employer to expand upon ready to go.
- Personal referrals from returning or existing staff, friends, teachers or family are a great way to get awesome applicants. However, be sure you treat these applicants just like anyone else who is wanting the job and have them go through the application/interviewing process. Don’t offer handouts.
- Snatch up the good ones! If you have an applicant who hits a home run during the interview process be sue to let them know right away you want them for the position and send an official offer letter. If you wait too long another employer may come along and steal away your potential employee and you don’t want that!
Set your expectations high from the beginning, clearly informing your staff through extensive training and followup meetings that outline the company policies and their specific tasks and responsibilities. Be sure to have a disciplinary plan for any infractions and if there are issues address them immediately and professionally. Provide a fun work environment, people want to enjoy what they do. Offer incentives or friendly competitions to keep your staff motivated and dependable.
Happy hiring! And here is link to our crew that you can check out on our website! We will be getting a bunch of new faces in April so stay tuned!