CEO’s Corner: Employee Focused

CEO’s Corner: Employee FocusedCEO’s Corner will be a regular feature featuring a Q&A with The Chamber’s President & CEO, Larry McElwain. Have a small business question for Larry? Let us know! To see the CEO’s Corner Welcome, click here

What do you look for in a person when hiring an employee?

Everything begins with a good hire. You look for a person with either the skill sets that are necessary to do the position that you are hiring for, or previous experience in the field. Previous experience is a good basis. Look for a person who has a positive attitude and someone who presents himself or herself as having a consistent teachable attitude. They must have a desire to improve their performance and skills. They need to have a realistic opinion of their skills and where they need to be improve. During the interview, look for a demonstration of their pride in how they work and live life. Look for someone who can demonstrate a willingness and desire to provide good products of services. Customers first. Look for someone who values the team and wants to be a part of something larger.

From the perspective of a potential employee, what are some things to do to have a positive interview?

– Be a good listener.
– Do not be afraid to ask for clarification on something that you do not understand.
– Do not be afraid to say that you do not know the answer to a particular question.
– You can always offer to get back with the interviewer with an answer, if need be.
– Answer all questions politely and succinctly. Do not appear to enjoy hearing yourself speak.
– Be dressed appropriately for the position that you are applying.
– Learn as much ahead of time of the interview about the company, management, personnel, etc., via word of mouth, articles, their website, etc. In other words, be as informed as possible.
– Be prepared with a question or two about the company for use during the interview, if time permits. Good questions to the interviewer shows your interest in understanding what they do and shows your interest in joining their team.

From the perspective of a potential employee, what are some things to never do in an interview?
– Never dominate the discussion.
– Social media can be good, but it can also be a detriment if it exposes lack of discipline or poor character. Be conscious of what the company culture is likely to be.
– Never use words or phrases like “uh uh” or “ya know.”
– Never use swear words or talk in slang to the interviewer.
– Never focus on pay and benefits. Those need to be in the discussion, but do not make them the central issue during the first interview with the interviewer.

What traits are important for an employee to have when it comes to training?

– Be an exceptional listener and create good questions.
– Without saying it, demonstrate your willingness to be a lifetime learner.
– Always be on time for training sessions.
– Develop a plan for implementing on the job what you have learned. Communicate that to your employer and express value received during training.
– Be gracious and thankful to management for the opportunity to train and to be better at what you do.

What are your methods to retaining quality staff members?

“Seek first to understand before being understood.” – Dr. Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Hire quality staff members. It begins with the hire.
Have frequent informal visits with employees to judge their satisfaction with what they are doing. Always make sure to reward them as much as possible through pay and benefits. It is one component of helping them feel valuable to the team. Give them plenty of training to make them better at their job.

Always do what you say you will do. Never send double messages.

Always make the effort to create an environment where the employee feels valued and needed. In the coaching world, as in the business world, the creation of a good family values system works.

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