Have you ever said these words to a job applicant then come to regret them? If so, you’re not alone!
Your long time assistant is complaining because the newest member of the firm’s team refuses to cooperate. You’ve noticed that yourself lately and also now realize the enthusiastic, highly communicative person you thought you’d found is really way too chatty. And to make matters worse, she seems not only stubborn but also very prone to making mistakes!
The cost of replacing a bad hire is exorbitant and the time spent correcting shoddy work is lost forever. To save expenses, maintain high morale in your office, maximize productivity, and lower the risk of discontent amongst your staff, it’s important to do everything you can to ensure that the person you hire to fill an open slot is compatible with all of your needs. When you guess about your applicants’ work habits or rely solely on references or resumes for direction, expect some unwanted and some very unpleasant surprises.
I often speak to hiring managers who have a clear picture of their ideal job candidates. For example, they typically want receptionists who are comfortable with people, assistants with excellent time management skills, and paralegals with sound analytical abilities. These, or any other traits, can be very difficult to detect in the course of just one or two interviews. If, however, you feel certain your applicant has the qualities you want, try to determine their intensity, as sometimes too much of a good thing can be a liability. A seemingly organized individual can become unproductively perfectionistic; someone appearing to be efficient and time driven may turn out to be annoyingly impatient.
Prior experience in a similar capacity or documented success at another firm does not necessarily ensure that an applicant will fit well in your own unique office environment. Your interviewee may come to you with strong recommendations from previous employers but, if hired, be unable to relate to your style of management, your rules, or your personality! How many times have you found yourself forced to interact with someone you just can’t seem to understand?
No one wants to spend 8 hours a day working with a person with whom they are unable to communicate.
The gratification that comes with management is undeniable – but sometimes, so are the headaches! Everyday stress is inherent to the legal profession and it is indisputable. The wrong person in a job at your firm will add to that stress and eventually disassemble the entire office team. To lower the risk of unwittingly acquiring a nightmare employee, apply these simple strategies:
Know your own needs.
Obtain a clear, accurate picture of each job applicant’s strengths and weaknesses.
Be aware that your own actions can trigger desirable (or undesirable) behavior in subordinates.
Several assessment tools are available to hiring managers and personnel decision-makers. One of these is The Omnia Profile?, a simple, short questionnaire that employers ask applicants and existing employees to complete in order to gain insight regarding overall job and environmental compatibility. As a leader of your firm, you also have the opportunity to take the Profile, view your own behavioral pattern, and let it serve as a benchmark when comparing your subordinates’ work habits.
Take the guesswork out of management, and you should find yourself overseeing cohesive, competent legal support staffers who not only meet your expectations and understand your objectives, but actually enjoy spending 8 hours a day in your office!