|Residential Lighting: How would you characterize the current job market?
Nancy Ahlrichs: Employers are frustrated with the quality and quantity of people applying and tend to think jobs are not glamorous enough to attract quality people. But every job is perfect for someone. You just have to be very clear about who you want.
RL: Where can good employees be found?
NA: Try the places most overlooked. A “No. 2” got through the interview process, but you passed them over for another candidate. We tend to dismiss them, but we [should] instead consider them for future positions.
“Declines” are people you hoped would take your offer, but they had other options. The tendency is to throw away their paperwork and move on. Well, don’t. One in four jobs accepted doesn’t work out. Plus, if you’ve been gracious, you have an opportunity to get a referral from them. They know your company and what you’re looking for.
The strongest that I personally have used are “References From Great Hires.” The people who encouraged you to hire your star employee are themselves potential hires. Invite them to interview. Good people, after all, like to work with good people.
RL: What shapes a successful interview?
NA: Don’t ask, “Do you think you can handle difficult customers?” The answer, of course, is yes. Frame your questions as, “Tell me a story about a time when you dealt with a difficult customer. What was the situation? What was the outcome?” You’ll hear how they really handle problems, deal with people and get things done.
RL: What keeps employees happy?
What are your thoughts about compensation?
RL: And reviews?