The B-Players and C-Players will struggle more with them. On the Threat of the Reference Check question, most candidates answer honestly about how their manager would rate them. In my experience, if the average rating is 6 or lower, you are probably talking to a B or C-Player not an A-Player. If they have a 6 or lower, it is likely to be the exception and they will have a very clear explanation for it. If another outcome you want is to lead the release of a major software product launch, then you ask the same types of questions about that.
At this point, you and the candidate are starting to envision the actual work you would be doing together and the conversation should be quite natural.
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If a candidate makes it past the minute screening interview, you are now ready to take on the biggest step in the hiring process: an in-depth interview. You should select a set of questions that feel right for you, and then keep them standard for all candidates. This type of topgrading interview should take about anywhere from 2 to 4 hours depending on how experienced the candidate is.
In my experience, you may need to do anywhere from 1 to 7 or 8 topgrading interviews to find your A-Player. But this is well worth your time given that you will increase the liklihood of hiring the right person who perform for your business for years to come! The connected problem, obviously, is that good work is not directly rewarded. This explains why the seniority system seems especially suited to production line jobs or any kind of labor where experience is more important than analytic skills, high-level training, or creativity.
THE HIRING AND FIRING QUESTION AND ANSWER BOOK
A weak seniority system considers time with the company as a positive element, but only as one component in evaluating candidates for a promotion. The advantage of this kind of system is the encouraging of worker loyalty. The retention of good workers is nearly the highest human resources priority of any company, and rewarding seniority plus performance gives good workers a reason to stick around. A tool used by companies to groom young people for future leadership roles, the escalation normally goes to highly qualified individuals currently working at a level beneath their ability.
For example, a health insurance company may hire a college graduate with a strong premed profile and hope to keep that person out of medical school by pulling her up the career ladder at a crisp rate. In order for her to play a leadership role in the future, she does need to be familiar with how the company works at every level, including the lowest.
That means spending some time on the front lines, say, manning telephones, answering questions from frequently frustrated or angry customers. Other employees are going to be tempted to resent the rapid ascension since many of them have done just as well at the same job for a longer time.
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Within the narrow view of performance evaluation your job performance equals how well you do the work their resentment is justified. The rule of equal treatment is being severely broken. And you need to face the problem that highly educated and qualified young people have options. Arguably, retaining them is a higher priority—not just financially but also ethically—than keeping more replaceable talent content.
No doubt private-sector firing is below optimal as well since firms are under threat of expensive wrongful discharge lawsuits. For managers to perform well—for them to serve the interest of their enterprise by maximizing workplace performance—the skills of discharging employees must be honed and applied just like those of hiring and promoting.
On the ethical front, these are the basic questions:. Within this scheme, a clause is written into the contract offering employment only as long as the employer desires. Stated more aggressively, managers may discharge an employee whenever they wish and for whatever reason. The legal parameters for firing seem clear.
Things blur, however, once reality hits. As the Cato study authors note, simply the fear of a possible lawsuit does impinge to some extent on the freedom to fire, especially when the discharged worker fits into a protected group. This means older workers, foreigners, or disabled workers may protest that no matter what reasons are given for termination—assuming some are given—the real reason is their age, nationality, or disability. Further, gender protection may be claimed by women fired from largely male companies and vice versa.
These varied and frequently changing legal protections are the reason managers are typically instructed to keep detailed records of employee performance. If those can be produced to show a pattern of incompetence or simply inadequate results, they can justify a dismissal before a judge, if it ever comes to that. One way to see how tilted the table is toward the employer and away from the employee is to compare the American at-will firing system with the European model, where a reasonable cause for termination must be demonstrated.
The Hiring and Firing Question and Answer Book by Paul Falcone
In the United States, employers may more or less fire anyone for any reason, and the burden of showing the termination was illegal or unfair falls entirely on the worker. In Europe, by contrast, the legal burden falls largely on the employer. Instead of the worker having to show the firing was wrong, now the company has to show the firing was right. This is a big deal. Just cause firing The doctrine that employers have a responsibility to demonstrate that dismissed workers were failing to fulfill their duties adequately.
As opposed to the European reality, the conclusion is, employees in the United States hired at will have few recourses against a company that wants them out. Sometimes firing is unavoidable. Economic slowdowns Slowdowns in the general economy. There are three broad philosophies:. Inverted Seniority occurs when the last worker hired is the first released.
This works especially well for assembly-line-type labor where one worker can replace another easily. As long as replacement is possible, dismissing the most recently hired allows clear and impersonal rules to make downsizing orderly. Workload firings focus the pain of job cuts on that part of the company suffering most directly from a falloff in business. This may mean losing workers with higher seniority or better job performance, but it minimizes cash-flow disruption.
Recovery preparation takes the long view on an economic slowdown: firings and layoffs are executed not so much to compensate for the present downturn but to sharpen the company for success when the economy bounces back. Staying with the office furniture supply company, the owner may see better long-term opportunities for profits in the nonhospital units, so the downsizing may occur across the board.
The idea is to keep those slow-moving units at least minimally prepared to meet new demand when it eventually comes. For example, the popularization of digital photography has shrunk the market for old fashioned film. Seeing this coming, what can a company like Kodak do? This is potentially unfair to terminated workers because they may be doing exemplary work. Still, it would be unfair—and financially disastrous—to the company as a whole to not change with the times. Rank and yank The management practice of ranking employee performance and dismissing those near the bottom even when they are fulfilling their duties adequately is a management philosophy promoted by former General Electric Company CEO Jack Welch.
There are two main criticisms of this practice. Here, the ethics are relatively clear. Standard definitions of misbehavior include. There are nineteen people at the meeting. Unfortunately, people have written into the CNNMoney.
All these are inhumane firings in the sense that no flesh and blood person took the trouble to present the bad news. On the ethical level, however, firing an employee is no different from working with an employee: as a manager, you must balance your duties to the company and the worker. First, to the extent possible, the fired person should leave with a positive impression of the organization. That means treating the employee with respect.
No mailed notices of termination, no embarrassing lockouts, just a direct, eye-to-eye explanation is probably the most reliable rule of thumb. Second, the terminated employee should not be allowed to disrupt the continued work of those who remain. If deemed necessary, security personnel should be present to ensure the ex-worker leaves the premises promptly. Also, if the worker is involved in larger projects, a time for severance should be found when their contribution is minimal so that other members of the team will be able to carry on near normally. It may be recommendable to arrange the termination to coincide with the finishing of a larger project so that everyone may start fresh with the new, substitute employee.
Third, the financial costs of the termination should be minimized. This means having clear reasons for the termination and documents pertaining to worker performance or behavior supporting the reasons to guard against lawsuits.
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Also, there should be clear understandings and prompt payment of wages for work done, as well as reimbursements for travel expenses and the full satisfaction of all monetary obligations to the employee. This will allow the human resources department to close the file. Consultants—both legal and ethical—typically share some bullet-point answers. First, the employee should be addressed honestly and directly with a clear explanation for termination. Further, the termination should not come as a total surprise.
Previous and clear indications should have been given concerning employee performance along with specific directions as to what areas require improvement. Second, getting fired is embarrassing, and steps should be taken to minimize the humiliation. The employee should be the first to know about the discharge. Also, the severance should occur in a private meeting, not in view of other workers. To the extent possible, the employee should have an opportunity to say good-bye to workmates or, if this is the preference, to leave discreetly.
For this reason, a meeting late in the day may be chosen as the appropriate time for notice to be given. Third, to the extent possible and within the boundaries of the truth, an offer should be extended to provide a recommendation for another job.
Fourth, make sure the employee gets all the money coming for work done, without having to jump through hoops. Two strategies serve this purpose: actions can be implemented to minimize the occasions when firing will be necessary, and steps can be taken to reduce the severity of the firing experience for employees when it happens.
In her book Men and Women of the Corporation , Rosabeth Moss Kanter generates a list of measures that corporations use to diminish firings, and reduce the professional impact for those who are let go. Not many.
So she starts trying to figure it out with questions like these:. Which of these might be used to winnow out applications for a job as a clothes designer? Explain in ethical terms. How could you respond in terms of. The person who currently holds the In God We Trust Professorship has, by all accounts, been doing a mediocre to poor but not directly unacceptable job.
Right now the In God We Trust Professor of ethics is down the hall lecturing to seventy-five undergrads. You sneak to the door and listen from outside.