Tony’s Musings

Nov 2015
Tony’s musings…HIRING

The hiring process is very complicated these days.
It’s important to follow some type of script so every applicant gets the same questions/information.

Be Courteous and Respectful

Conduct the interview in a private place away from distractions.
Begin the interview on schedule.
If possible, conduct the interview without interruptions.
Allow sufficient time for the interview.
Appreciate the candidate’s accomplishments.
Do not patronize the candidate.
Do not argue with the candidate.

Thank the candidate for his/her time and interest.

Facilitate Open Communication

Immediately attempt to establish a rapport with the candidate by breaking the ice; for example, ask about their experiences in a particular industry or geographical location (refer to his/her resume).
Promote a relaxed environment with free-flowing conversation.

Do not dominate the discussion by talking too much.
Many experts use a 80/20 rule – you talk 20% of the time and the candidate talks 80% of the time.
Politely probe the candidate for information by asking open-ended questions that will provide insight into the candidate’s values and traits.

Ask structured questions that will require some thought on the part of the candidate.
Listen carefully to the candidate’s answers. If they do not provide you with specific results, probe until they do.
Explain the selection process to the candidate. Offer realistic time frames and stick to your word!

The Successful Interview – What NOT to DO

The following list is comprised of subject matter that is widely regarded as “off-limits” for discussion in an interview by employment experts. Most of these subjects relate directly to federal and state employment laws. Legislation covering equal employment opportunity is extensive and complex.

Check not only federal laws, but also your own state’s laws and guidelines. Remember, state laws vary! Consult an attorney for legal advice (before you begin the search process for a new employee).

In an interview, or on an employment application, do not ask any questions;

concerning the age of the candidate. Be careful using the words “over qualified” with older candidates.

about their arrest record (this is different from convictions – in most states, it is permissible to ask if the candidate has ever been convicted of a crime)
about race or ethnicity

concerning the candidate’s citizenship of the U.S. prior to hiring (It is permissible to ask “Will you be able to provide proof of eligibility to work in the U.S. if hired?”)

concerning the candidate’s ancestry, birthplace or native language (it is permissible to ask about their ability to speak English or a foreign language if required for the job).

about religion or religious customs or holidays.
concerning the candidate’s height and weight if it does not affect their ability to perform the job.
concerning the names and addresses of relatives (only those relatives employed by the organization are permitted).

about whether or not the candidate owns or rents his/her home and who lives with them. (asking for their address for future contact is acceptable).

concerning the candidate’s credit history or financial situation. In some cases, credit history may be considered job-related, but proceed with extreme caution.

concerning education or training that is not required to perform the job.
concerning their sex or gender. Avoid any language or behavior that may be found inappropriate by the candidate. It’s his/her standard of conduct that must be met.

concerning pregnancy or medical history. Attendance records at a previous employer may be discussed in most situations as long as you don’t refer to illness or disability.

concerning the candidate’s family or marital status or child-care arrangements (it is permissible to if the candidate will be able to work the required hours for the job).

concerning the candidate’s membership in a non-professional organization or club that is not related to the job.
concerning physical or mental disabilities (asking whether the candidate can perform the essential job duties is permitted.)

The ADA allows you to ask the applicant to describe or demonstrate how they would perform an essential function (s) when certain specific conditions are met .
Check the law or consult with an attorney before moving forward.
Remember–When in doubt, ask yourself if the question is job-related; if not, don’t ask!
Until next time.

Nov 2015-Difficult Customers

Difficult customers in retail businesses come in many forms.
They can be, among other things, demanding, impatient, abusive, insulting and loud.

Such customers should never be handled by front end people, checkers or box people, depending on the size of the company they should always summon the owner or store/department manager.

As an owner/manager you can only control your own actions/emotions, how you answer their actions may have a big influence on the customer’s actions.

Never argue with customers displaying the emotions indicated above,otherwise you are allowing them to goad you into the same emotional state as they are.

Stay calm, look them steadily in the eye and hear them out, let them vent without responding in any way until they finish.

Never take it personally.

When they finish begin by briefly starting with “I want to be sure I understand your complaint” then repeat back to them a short summation of what you think their complaint is and what they want.

Show them you care by your calm demeanor and moderate speech volume, your voice and body language can go a long way to reduce the volume in a conversation.
Ask quietly “what can I do to help you with this”

Never blame your company/store, just calmly explain the company policy regarding the issue(s), request more information, if applicable, and indicate you will get them an answer.

Finally, don’t make promises you can’t keep.

“The customer is always right” sounds good but is not always true.

Helping customers is an essential ingredient in retail, do your best in that regard, having said that, there may come a time when a decision has to be made about an ongoing situation with an abusive customer.
Such a decision needs in depth discussion and consensus agreement within mamangement.
Fortunately such extreme customers are rare!