By Curt Hensley
To expand substantially, ISOs need a continual stream of talented individuals joining their organizations. Based on eight years of bringing such talent to growing ISOs, I am going to share the 10 issues that are most important in the interview process.
Determining a job applicant's fit for not only the position you have open but also your company's culture is an indispensable task. The more you know about a given candidate, the better equipped you will be to weigh how likely it is the person can become a productive member of your team.
That's why getting to know what candidates are looking for is just as critical as their professional qualifications. Here are 10 crucial points you should investigate for each candidate before making an employment offer. All 10 are critical; they are not listed in a particular order.
Find out how a candidate's current compensation program is structured. This means much more than base salary, which is just a small part of the overall package. Ask if, how and when bonuses are paid out; what stock options exist; whether grants have been awarded; and so forth. Also, find out when a candidate is up for his or her next review because the review process can alter cash compensation.
Compile a comprehensive list of all benefits a prospective employee currently receives, including a description of how those benefits are structured.
2. Type and length of commute
Commuting is a quality of life issue that is often overlooked. Discussing it at length is important. A 10-minute commute in light traffic is very different than a five-mile drive to a train, riding the rails for 30 minutes and then walking five blocks to the office.
If the commute to your organization is longer or more complicated (including more expensive if tolls are a factor) than a candidate's current commute, bring the issue up and see how the candidate responds. Also, don't think a commute doesn't matter to someone who has been laid off and really needs your job. It will matter a great deal in a few months.
In addition, find out how a change in commute time might positively or negatively affect the candidate's personal life. If you can offer a shorter or less complicated commute, use that as a selling point.
3. What candidates want versus what they have
Most candidates do not change employers on a whim. Candidates change jobs because there are critical things missing in their current positions that they believe might be satisfied by the opportunity your company is offering.
This difference between what they want and what they have is the fundamental reason a person changes jobs. If you find out what this difference is, you will understand whether you can offer a given candidate what he or she is looking for. If you ascertain that you can do this, you will be able to develop an intelligent capture strategy when it comes time to close.
4. How candidates work best
Some people work best if left alone, while others work best as part of a team. Some work better when management gives them minimal supervision, while others work better with closer attention paid to their daily activities.
You know your organization's philosophy and the way each hiring manager works. Beware of hiring a candidate who does not fit into the current scheme or doesn't mesh well with a manager's style because, at times, style can be just as important as substance.
5. True strengths and weaknesses
Thoroughly assess a candidate's str-ong points and limitations. All of us have strengths and weaknesses. If you are struggling to understand your candidate's positive and negative attributes, this is where references come in. Try asking references what functions the candidate does not enjoy performing. People are seldom good at things they don't like.
6. What candidates really want
No. 3 in this list is more about what the candidate wants to change about a current job. It is also important to focus on what a candidate wants in an ideal job. Everybody wants something, so find out what that is for each candidate.
Be diligent about getting this information. Ask candidates open-ended questions and pick away at the details you get until you have all of your questions answered. This is another opportunity to see if your position fulfills what the candidate is looking for.
7. Competitive offers
This is an important issue that is often overlooked. I don't like surprises when I'm hiring for our firm, and I'm sure most hiring managers don't either. Don't be shy about asking candidates about other interview activity.
If a candidate is considering other companies and maybe even has a job offer arriving in the mail tomorrow, this is critical information you need to know. Ask for the specifics if a competitive offer is pending, and find out how excited a candidate is about the offer. The more information you have, the more likely you can use it to help you land or steer clear of a candidate, as appropriate.
8. Closing the deal
This is closely related to No. 6, but it is more specific and closer to a "closing the sale" mentality. You already know what a candidate wants overall, but this one quantifies that want. For example, if your candidate wants more money, this is where you will find out how much it will take to close the deal. As another example, you might have previously ascertained a candidate wants to work on different types of projects. Now, find out exactly what those are.
9. Ability to do the job
This can be a difficult one to assess in one interview and is one reason to have promising candidates go through multiple interviews with multiple company executives. This isn't the time to just go with your gut feeling. You need to evaluate candidates based on what they have successfully accomplished and how those achievements align with the needs of the current position.
10. Meshing with your organization
Predicting the future can be very tricky, but you have to do your best to estimate a candidate's chance for success. Not everyone who is capable of doing the job will thrive at your company. Culture does play an important role.
For example, the culture of a buttoned-down bank in New York is very different than the garage culture of a startup ISO in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you have a reason to believe a candidate has the wrong DNA for your organization, it is imperative that you use this information wisely when making the final hiring decision.
There are few things more important to consistently hiring the right people for your growing merchant services company than solid feedback based upon a well-executed interview. Making certain you have the bases covered with these 10 critical items gives you a great head start at becoming a world-class organization.
Curt Hensley is the founder, Chief Executive Officer and President of CSH Consulting, a recruiting firm exclusively focused on the payments industry. He and his leadership team have over 50 years of combined experience recruiting in the merchant acquiring arena. They have placed over 1,200 payments industry professionals since their inception eight years ago. Contact Curt at 480-315-8800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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