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Hiring Smart

By Marty Nemko

The best way to avoid problem employees is to hire good ones to begin with. One hiring tool that has become less and less useful is references. To avoid lawsuits, many employers won't provide references for their former employees. Here's a simple yet effective reference check recommended by Pierre Mornell, author of Hiring Smart. Ask finalist candidates to provide ten references. Call the references at night when they won't be available. You want to reach voice mail. Just say, "John Jones is a candidate for (Insert the position) in our company. Your name has been given as a reference. Please call me back if the candidate was outstanding. Mornell says, "If the candidate is excellent, I guarantee that seven out of ten people will respond."

What can you do today?
Use the above method to screen your finalist candidates. Also, de-emphasize flawed hiring tools such as resumes and canned interview questions. Instead, use simulations of situations that the new employee will face on the job.

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