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Intentional Hiring Practices: Looking Beyond Finding the Right Candidate

Intentional Hiring Practices

Meredith Rosson shares intentional hiring practices from beginning homework, the interview, the offer and an overall framework for training.

Due to the impact of COVID-19, many companies are on a hiring freeze, which is the ideal time to hone your intentional hiring practices. Taking the time now to revamp these skills can pay off for years to come. As clubs begin to reopen and membership levels return, we as managers will be on a fast track to fill positions based upon new demands post-pandemic. What positions will you prioritize?

Your primary goal in the interview process should include intentional questions to help set you up for success well beyond the initial interview. Intentional hiring will allow you to morph your standardized processes into personalized training objectives you can reference in quarterly or annual reviews.

The path of an intentional interview process should include homework, the interview itself and an offer (or not) — and potentially result in the framework of a training plan:

Pre-Interview Hiring Practice: Doing Your Homework

I send each candidate a full job description, our company core values and mission statement, as well as a link to our website and ask them to review these items before the interview.

I also do some homework of my own by making a list of skills and qualities that both helped and challenged prior teammates in the same position, a list of goals for the department/position and any challenges therein. Taking the time now to create this tool will benefit you for all future interviews.

The Interview: Intentionally Hiring the Right Fit is a Two-way Street

This part of the process is typically a hiring manager’s focus, but sometimes lacks specifics to create personalized training objectives for the future new hire.

Begin by asking:  

  • Which of our core values do you most closely identify with?
  • Which of the core values would you need the most coaching?
  • How do you like to be led?
  • How do you like to receive coaching?
  • What motivates you, and what demotivates you?
  • How do you like to be recognized?

From these questions, two objectives can be achieved:

Learn about individual traits:

  • How much the candidate cares about being hired based on their preparedness
  • Who they are as an individual and how they could align with the company culture.

Future learning objectives gained:

  • Skills and Drills: My homework sheet comes into play here. I ask situational questions of former challenges in the position/department. This could result in a future training objective for the individual.
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: The viability of a candidate is evidenced not only by their reactions to these situational challenges but also if they offer solutions.
  • The Nuts and Bolts: Next, I choose to discuss schedule and compensation. Oftentimes hiring managers leave this until the end, but I prefer to bring it up early on when discussing responsibilities and goals of the role to avoid wasting anyone’s time.

The Offer Itself: Reviewing the Hiring Process

At the time I offer someone the position, I like to review what he or she shared in the interview that made him or her stand out as the best candidate. I do this for four reasons:

  1. By acknowledging their statements, it shows I have confidence in them for the position.
  2. It encourages them to want to live up to qualities I see in them.
  3. It creates accountability on their part to put their best foot forward.
  4. It gives me the opportunity for one final verbal confirmation from them they are ready to take on the responsibilities and challenges of the position.

Establishing an Intentional Framework for Expectations and Goals

I use the interview process as a needs analysis and am constantly observing and noting each candidate’s strengths and weakness. Based on my notes from the interview, I construct a growth plan to capitalize on their strengths and use them to improve their weaknesses. 

  • Customize your future training based on the needs of a specific candidate. This ensures your training time is spent on reinforcing the behavior or skill you need.
  • Tie job duties with values and goals you gleaned from the interview. This will help the candidate find purpose and place importance on their performance.
  • Publicly share the qualities you valued most from the interview process in front of your entire team. This creates additional accountability regarding the behaviors/qualities they said they would exhibit.

Learning to use intentional hiring practices to find the right candidate will set both you and the candidate up for success, as a team overall, and for the long haul. I encourage you to take advantage of the time you have now to revamp your interview process to best position yourself and your club for the next round of new hires.

Meredith Rosson

Meredith Rosson is the assistant general manager of Cooper Fitness Center, a 50,000-square-foot lifestyle, wellness and fitness facility located in Dallas, Texas. Meredith studied Exercise Physiology at University of Texas at Austin and has held integral leadership roles that have developed success in more than 13 departments since 2006. She is a member of The Women in Fitness Association and a former personal trainer. She can be reached at: mrosson@cooperfitnesscenter.com.

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