Category: Promotion

EDITORIAL by Mårten Runow

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At Performia, we have consistently seen the importance of evaluating productivity thoroughly whenever or wherever you hire. This is actually the single most important factor, and if you manage to get it right you will solve a very big part of the “hiring equation”. If you look at all the people you have hired successfully – isn’t it true with those individuals who had already been productive in the past, it did not take very long before you could actually see and experience that your company really got help?

I am not saying that this is the only criterion in hiring but it is a very, very basic one. If productivity is “missing” you are normally in for some very real problems. Fixing no or low productivity in existing people is not a simple task, but it can certainly be done if you are very persistent and skilled enough. However, what is a bit amazing is that it is normally a lot simpler to increase the production of those who are already getting a lot of things done.

In this issue of TEAMS, we will look more closely into the huge importance of PRODUCTIVITY in hiring.

The main criteria in recruitment

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In recruiting new people there is one factor that you have to firmly establish before you can safely decide to bring a new person on board.

Production record?

The first and by far the most important factor in hiring is to establish and understand a candidate’s PRODUCTION RECORD.

A “product” can be defined as the valuable final result of a directed effort to get an item or activity fully completed. And the fact that it is really completed, it is valuable, it works and it also needs no further attentions are all attributes of a product.  You buy a drilling machine, and when you get home to use it you realize that the drill is not stable but vibrates a lot and makes drilling nearly impossible. That machine was simply not a good product. It needs more attention before it could possibly become one. To deliver things that are fully working and completed is the key responsibility of leaders. The same is true for all the staff you have. Each and every member of your organization is supposed to deliver value through providing “products”.

Definition of a product

A product, in order to be called a “product”, doesn’t have to be a physical object; it could as well be a completed service. In today’s society, we have, in fact, a tendency to develop and deliver more and more products that are personally- or machine-assisted services. These could be cleaned windows, repaired teeth, a consultation resulting in a suitable and viable business plan, access to the internet, etc. These are all products in the sense in which we are using the word here. And they should also be needed and wanted. The delivery of a company’s products is the only reason for its existence.

Understanding your company’s products is vital

This might sound too simple and unnecessary to bring up but, if this concept of product is not fully grasped and applied to both management and staff, you will not become as successful as you potentially could be in hiring. Not only understanding what different products your organization has but also what products each of its staff members are supposed to deliver is vital, if you want to get the full benefits of this hiring system.

To deliver lots of products with high quality and enough volume requires staff that are willing, skilled and interested enough to make it happen. And that is why you ideally should have a verified production record from every person you ever intend to hire, or at least investigate the area carefully for new candidates.

Stay with the company for a long enough time

The second prerequisite that needs to be considered is that you are dealing with a person who is able and willing to STAY WITH THE COMPANY for a reasonable length of time. Unfortunately, there are many people who change positions and companies as soon as more money is offered somewhere else, or who leave when some unexpected problem occurs, or who just simply lack persistence.

To establish what the chances are that a candidate is willing and able to stay for a longer period, you will have to look at a couple of factors. One is the candidate’s background regarding length of employment with previous employers, and the other is personality. Certain personalities are very definite about wanting to learn a job thoroughly and then experience the satisfaction of having complete certainty in how to do the job, and thus they have little to no urge to change just to get into something new. Others are mainly interested in further levels of the same or a very similar job, while some people get bored when they feel they “know it all” and thus prefer to change and get involved with a completely new or different challenge. This is an area where Performia’s personality testing really can provide vital information on what you can do to deal with staff individually, in order to increase the possibilities of keeping them longer.

Functioning within a group

The third area that you need to consider before making your final hiring decision is to evaluate the person’s ability to FUNCTION WITHIN A GROUP, and thus the ability to create decent and lasting relationships with other people. Sometimes (very rarely, however) you will find a person who is actually productive while working on his or her own, but has a problem cooperating with others to such a degree that it ruins the overall productivity of the group. If so, it becomes a negative recruitment, or in other words, a person you should not hire. We, at Performia, consider it vital to understand this last factor before you make your hiring decision.

Knowledge about a person’s personality

It is a fact that the more knowledge you have about a person’s personality (both positive and negative), the easier it is for you to take responsibility for utilizing that person correctly, and thus make sure the company takes advantage of his or her abilities, while avoiding putting that individual in situations where weaknesses will come “alive”. Thus, ideally, you should have enough information that you, as a manager, can predict potential negative scenarios where production could be hurt, and instead create possible solutions for both the individual concerned and the group. Indeed, such scenarios should and can be reduced, and ideally eliminated. The more you know about a person’s strong and weak areas, the better you can take responsibility and make sure things will go right for the company, as well as for you and the new employee.

The worst combination

The worst combination of these three factors is naturally a person who is neither performing well nor being productive, and who has big problems cooperating with others but will absolutely stay and never leave. Unfortunately, this is the reality that you as a manager will sometimes find yourself up against.

Attracting the right people

Performia specializes in educating businesspeople around the world, not only on how to detect and hire those high-quality, productive, loyal and cooperative individuals who can help your business grow, but also on what you need to do to convince those kinds of people to actually apply to your company.

There are certainly more criteria that can and should be considered, but those are normally subsections to the three areas above. For example, the level of technical skill. In some jobs that is the most critical point to consider, in order to ensure the possibility of any productivity. An example of this could be advanced computer programming. In order to have the slightest chance to be productive in that role, you normally need quite successful experience. How long does it take for a person with little or no knowledge about programming to be able to really function and thus individually contribute on a really high level in an advanced programming position? Most of us know it could take years. And without that specialized experience it does not really matter how social, service-minded and rational the person is generally.

We sometimes see companies that have their programmers located in some high-security area of the premises, and often we don’t see much of those people during business hours. Still, they might be one of the keys to the success of the entire operation. Their personalities are often not “ideal” and you might not want them to speak directly with your clients. However, to find what needs to be fixed and corrected within your system, they might be crucially important.

However, our need to find actual valuable results produced in the past never gets reduced by someone having some “specialized knowledge”, because if that knowledge has not really resulted in value and production thus far, it is utterly unlikely that it will happen in the future. You should at least know that you are taking on an enormous risk when you hire based on hope – which is simply not recommended – rather than on observable facts and proven results.

Mårten Runow
Founder of Performia International

How to prepare

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I have noticed during my 30+ years of experience in recruiting new personnel how important the interview can be if you want a really successful recruitment process. I will give you some advice here on how to prepare for such an interview with candidates.

Preparation:

  1. Read the candidate’s CV to quickly get an idea of what the candidate has been focusing on in his/her working career.
  2. Be prepared to take notes and do that, and simply that, throughout the interview.
  3. Note down all questions you might have from reading the CV. These questions can be a good warm-up to make the candidate comfortable, and it also demonstrates that you have an active interest in this particular person.
  4. When the candidate arrives, be ready to make things comfortable for him or her. Offer something to drink, demonstrate respect and decide to give your full attention to this individual. No company can afford bad manners on their hiring lines. The PR and word of mouth about your company depends on it to some degree. Have something to write down the candidate’s answers on. Be prepared to take notes.
  5. Decide to focus on getting a clear idea of the candidate’s actual past production and be willing to ask “dumb” questions in case you don’t understand something.

Interview:

  1. Realize that any candidate, whether great or not, has in fact taken the time to send you an application and travel to your office, and that demands some respect, no matter what. Just because there are few jobs available at the moment and lots of applicants, there is no reason to become arrogant. In a year from now the situation might be reversed. I repeat: It is much better to treat all candidates in a very respectful manner.
  2. Carefully observe the candidate and be interested in what the candidate is talking about; make sure you understand what is being said and acknowledge each answer after you understand it.
  3. Find out what the main reason was for applying to this position. (Was it personal interest or the need to do or learn something new, the urge to make more money, or any other reason, or is it a combination of different factors?)
  4. Give the candidate a quick orientation regarding your company and the position you are hiring for, and ask the candidate if he/she has any questions at this point.
  5. Ask some straight questions regarding his or her current job situation. Be curious and interested and focus on finding out about his or her production. What was contributed, how much and in what time, and who might be able to verify it.
  6. Avoid using questions that direct the candidate to an expected answer such as: “We are looking for someone who is quick, effective and service-oriented. How would you describe yourself?”
  7. If any question crosses your mind, or you start to become aware of something regarding the candidate during the interview, just ask about it. For example: If the candidate is nervous to the point where you notice it, just ask him “are you nervous?”; this should help to relieve the tension, and the candidate won’t have his attention focused on whether or not you have noticed his nervousness.
  8. If you have done a test and already have the test results, you can definitely ask questions based on that information. In the Performia hiring training, you can find lots of advice on how to do this effectively.
  9. Maintain a friendly yet professional attitude throughout the entire interview, and if you say you will get back to him or her with some information, make sure to keep that promise.

 

Before making a decision focus on what is important

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It is important to take into consideration a candidate’s previous results before you decide to hire him. The fact that a candidate has produced before and can prove it is VERY valuable in order to avoid severe hiring mistakes. This does not mean that a formerly productive person cannot become a failure in a new position BUT, and this is important, he or she is normally as interested as you in resolving a situation, and you will seldom experience complications in case you need to part ways.

Who wants to get a striker who has never scored a goal onto a football team? Who wants to hire a director of a sales department who has never increased the sales of a group in any area? Or who would hire a director of manufacturing who never started or stably increased production anywhere?

Even though most people agree that it is important to know about past production, many managers and executives sign employment contracts without even looking at or verifying the results given by the candidates. This could lead to VERY expensive and completely unnecessary mistakes.

Areas that one preferably should pay some attention to during the hiring process include:

 

Positive:

  • Candidate has no problem proving his or her high production in a previous job(s).
  • Candidate can prove that his/her results in a previous job(s) were above average.
  • Production increased through the years and, if this was not always true, the candidate can talk about it and tell you what happened when it went down.
  • Candidate was in a difficult situation and he/she managed to resolve it.
  • There are no “holes” in the candidate’s CV that could not be easily explained.
  • Candidate showed a clear interest in the part of the interview related to production and results.
  • Candidate does not have the slightest problem giving you contact info for people who should know his or her level of production.

 

Negative:

  • Candidate is not able or, worse, not willing to provide the production records from a previous job.
  • There was a lack of obvious value-creating results in previous jobs.
  • Production through the years has been decreasing. The candidate doesn’t seem to think that is a problem.
  • Candidate has a big problem defining what valuable results he/she produced in previous jobs.
  • Candidate doesn’t seem to have resolved any difficult situations.
  • There are “holes” in the candidate’s CV that cannot be explained in a simple way. That a candidate was not successful in one of his earlier jobs does not necessarily disqualify him or her.
  • Candidate showed very little interest in the part of the interview related to production and results.
  • Candidate is hesitant to give the contact info of his/her former employer for reference.

 

Performia recommendation: While making your decision whether or not to hire someone, we urge you to focus on the above-mentioned statements. Do this until you know. And if this is very complicated, realize that that is a bad indicator all in itself, drop that candidate and look for another one.

Linda Steele & Steve Hansen: If you have productive, honest, and loyal staff, you can train them in anything you need

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Linda and Steve met at River Rooster / CHOOKS fresh & tasty in 1997. Steve was the owner of the brand and growing a new franchise, and Linda started to help him with her expertise in advertising and marketing. Soon she joined the company as General Manager until Steve sold this network of 43 stores in 2010. During this time, Linda was awarded with the 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2012 FCA Excellence in Franchising Woman in Franchising award for Western Australia. Steve was the President of the Western Australia Chapter of the Franchise Council of Australia from 2003 – 2008, and both Linda and Steve have been state committee members of the Franchise Council of Australia for many years.

Now they are partners at Think DONE Management Consultancy full time. Steve is the “King of Strategy” and Linda is the “Queen of Efficiency”. What do they do? Help executives to get things done. Here we present an interview with Linda and Steve.

Linda, could you give me a short summary of your company and what you do?

DONE is the most powerful word in the universe, and everything we have developed is around that one word. When we first started consulting, we were called “Think BIG”; but not everyone wants to be big – they want to be solid and get stuff DONE, so we changed our name to better reflect our philosophy. Our business is helping businesses to become more efficient from an organisation point of view; to get them to think strategically and tactically: all the little things that have to be done. We also specialise in franchising.

Steve, tell me how Think DONE is unique for your clients? What do you offer that other companies do not?

What I find with every company is that there are two things missing or not done as well as they could to be. No or illogical planning and bad organisational structure often results in the inability to get plans fully executed.

The challenge is said to be the failure to implement whatever the plan might be. Consultants say this is the owner’s problem, and we say it is the consultant’s issue.

What we do is find out what the issue is at the time, what’s needed, and what’s also needed long-term, and then get our clients to accomplish what is needed.

Steve and
Linda with the
fabulous CHOOKS
management
team, working
through their
weekly plans.

 

Steve, what are some of the biggest challenges that business owners have in your experience of working with them at Think DONE?

In most cases, the biggest challenge and the problem is the owners. Owners tend to do what they know and like. The biggest challenge, they say, is people and their problems.

They will say finance, lending; can’t get a loan, can’t find the right people. All those come along if they don’t have systems and procedures in place to know what they are actually looking for. They don’t have the organisation in place to know what they need.

But it goes back to the business owner first and understanding first that they don’t know. They also tend to make reactive decisions, whereas decisions need to be commercial and proactive.

Linda, how many staff did you have when you first started working with Performia in CHOOKS fresh & tasty and how many were there in the final year?

We started working with Performia in 2006. We had 19 stores and 300 staff. By 2010, when we sold, we had 39 stores plus 4 being built to make a total of 43. We had roughly 700 staff at that point.

Steve, what was your first experience working with Performia?

I first had a Performia evaluation on myself. We all think we are better than we are. I took notice of some of the things mentioned and was able to improve with training. I enjoyed the training and could easily relate to it.

Before you started working with Performia, what problems did you encounter regarding personnel?

We had big problems in the franchisee area. We were taking on franchisees who were good people, but we didn’t know how to manage them. Some were not suitable for franchising, some not suited to running a business. We took them on in the early days because we thought we could get on with them… if they had a heartbeat we would consider them, but that’s not how you do franchising. We learnt the hard way.

Linda, was it hard to find productive people for CHOOKS fresh & tasty?

It was hard to find the right franchisees. We were not just looking to find someone to cook chicken. We were looking for people we could train to look after their team. Being able to find franchisees was the reason we went to do the Performia training.

Linda, the company grew significantly. What do you think is behind this success?

We had a fantastic team at the head office. The team we had were very cohesive, worked together, and we were all on the same page. When we sold in 2010, I hadn’t had anyone leave our team for 2 years. Staff retention was very high. This was obviously from choices we had made using Performia and the training that went with it. We also had a fantastic bunch of franchisees.

Steve, before you started working with Performia, what problems did you encounter regarding personnel?

When I had 5 stores and 120 staff, I was powerful as a franchisee. The reason I became a franchisor was because people wanted to use my brand. I had an idea that we wanted 15 stores, but we made all the mistakes that we possibly could. We had 15 disasters.

Even when we were trained and licensed to use the Performia hiring system, I went against the recommendation on 3 cases, and those 3 decisions cost me one million dollars. I went against the recommendations of Performia and our entire team. I thought I was trying to be nice to somebody. I thought I could help them, change them. And I did this three times.

Linda, has measuring productivity in your company changed interactions within the team?

It can be absolutely fantastic. Productive people love it; it gives them that new challenge. Up is good, down is not good, and they want that graph to go up. When they learn it’s about getting production increasing, they produce more, they start playing the game and start being a team.

Linda, what do you think is the biggest advantage of using the Performance check?

The certainty you would get that the person could understand what production was and play the game to improve and succeed.

Can you imagine hiring people without checking productivity or without measuring it?

SH: Wouldn’t even consider it. We wouldn’t take anyone without some good evaluation and knowing and understanding they are about production, incentive, reward for production, and understand the penalty for no production.

LS: I cannot think of any other way of doing it. I have seen some clients hire in the most unusual way. It is a waste of time and a waste of personal energy. You place your heart and soul in someone and think they will be fantastic.

Performia can give you such valuable information, to know what are the true colours of any employee before they’re hired or interviewed.

Would you recommend checking and measuring productivity to others? Why?

LS: I would. It saves you time, heartache, money. You have better things to do with all your resources than devote them to a maybe/average candidate.

SH: Yes! Businesses need good, honest and loyal staff who are ethical. If you have this, you can train them in knowledge they might lack. When hiring in this form, your values and culture will come through.

Emanuela Wasinski: By measuring productivity we are transparent and that’s why we work so well together

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Her role began in Customer Service and Contact Centre Management. She later headed the Operations Division and is currently the head of Talent and Quality Control. She wanted to move into this role because she loves to see people grow and develop. Why are Emanuela Wasinski and imei, a big Australian communication technology company, so successful? Find out here.

How is imei unique for your clients? What do you offer that other companies do not?

Our niche is Mobile Intelligence, Connectivity, Security and Management, and we have three unique features: proven exceptional customer service, proof we can be trusted by countries’ most security-conscious organisations, and intelligence, connectivity, security and professional management skills.

How many people were working there when you started and how many do you have now?

The company has gone through a period of evolution and change, initially starting from Tim’s second bedroom unit on his own in 2000, to 30 when I started in 2011 and 70 staff in 2019.

 

Emanuela is going through
a Performia Assessment with
a manager for a candidate
who was interviewed for
the manager‘s team.

 

 


Before you started working with Performia, what problems did you encounter regarding personnel?

Whenever we have had issues with performance, we always refer back to their Performia evaluation. When we checked these individuals, we saw that they had never been through the Performia process. They had not done the evaluation and had never gone through the same process. It made sense why they had not worked out.

So it changed after you started to cooperate with Performia?

The Performia evaluation has always been very successful for us. It works very well. The results of the evaluations give us guidance on whether we should progress further with someone, and it also assists with compiling second-interview questions, where we check productivity further. We al

so use the information for our reference checks.

Has measuring productivity in your company changed interactions within the team?

Yes. It holds everyone accountable. Gives everyone goals – especially our customer service team, who receive a monthly bonus based on statistics and productivity. It gives them visibility. We also share statistics with everyone in the company. Everyone sees where we are headed and everyone is on the same page. We are very transparent and that’s why we work so well together.

What is the biggest advantage of using Performance check?

There are multiple advantages. The biggest is that it provides very good insight into how productive they will be in the future, how effective they can be and whether they are the right person for the role you are hiring for.

Can you imagine hiring people without checking productivity or without measuring it?

Definitely not. Now that we use it, it is almost like, “how did we ever hire before?” It is the first thing we think about. It would not make sense to hire without checking this first.

Would you recommend checking and measuring productivity to others? Why?

Yes, definitely, saves you time and money. After all, a company’s productivity and profitability depend on the quality of its workers, so by ensuring we have the right tools to do so, i.e. Performia, I know we can hire top talent.

The theory is great but how does it work in real life?

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We can find a lot of articles and reports on production and productivity on the internet, in newspapers and magazines. But how do you connect production with your employees directly? Should their work be measured or not? If yes, will it contribute to the overall production of the company or not? Will it help you to have a better team? We decided to ask our clients in Slovakia how they see it and what helps them.

  1. Do you measure individual production in your company? What is the biggest advantage of knowing each
    individual personal production?
  2. Did you encounter any situation where you did not measure production, and what was the difference?

© L. Pazderová


Name: Mgr. Ľudmila Pazderová

Position: HR manager
Company: CDCP SR a.s. Slovakia

They measure individual production by statistics, which deflects fulfilment of the determined targets and production of the company. Each employee has within his job a description where the final result of the job is directly defined. Management sets the goals and standards for divisions, as well as for the whole company, and regularly monitors their fulfilment through key indicators in the graphs.

  1. The biggest advantage is the ability of management to respond immediately to fluctuations in efficiency and adopt flexible measures. But there are several other advantages:
    ■ clear overview of whether the products of the job and the employee are going up or down. This indicates in advance whether the company is expanding, stagnating or contracting.
    ■ direct connection to a reward system, which considerably influences motivation
    ■ better measurement of the effectivity, i.e. whether the results correspond with the amount of work assignments for the job and whether the workload corresponds with set requirements.
    ■ any sensible person enjoys self-motivation
    ■ visual quantification of results (stats, graph) is like a shield that an employee can use as an argument when discussing his production with his superiors. No assumptions, only facts.
  2. Yes, we can see the difference. It is similar to driving a car without the dashboard. It is possible, but you do not know whether the engine is overheated, or you have enough petrol, or are staying within the speed limit or not. Before, we had a problem identifying weak and strong spots in our processes. We could not make decisions quickly and effectively, and we had a problem recovering from long-term losses. After implementing several important decisions, including the measurement of production, we showed more than 5 years of profit and got into a good condition.

 

© M. Holenda

Name: Ing. Martin Holenda
Position: ED
Company: Proreco, Slovakia

They measure individual production in the company by assigning personal statistics to each employee.

  1. The main advantage is that we have factual data on the production of our employees, departments, and the whole company, and we can exactly determine the condition we are currently in. Because of the statistics, we have our company under control. The other advantage is that when we want to motivate and reward our employees, one part of the salary is connected to their personal statistics and thus to real production.
  2.  The situation, before we implemented the stats, was a bit unrestrained; we were making decisions based on guessing rather than based on the actual facts. Of course, we had the data about production, but only the overall data, mainly based on our own production, accounting or sales records. Determining the trend was strenuous because we had to obtain the information from various sources, process and evaluate it. Now we have it faster, and the data are easy to get and thus the decisions are made faster.

 

© L. Antalikova Archive

Name: Lucia Antalikova
Position: Owner
Company: ANT, Slovakia

They are a trading company and thus the production in sales is very easy to measure. If overall production is not following the targets, they immediately see which employee has a problem reaching his target and is causing the whole company to be behind schedule.

  1. The biggest advantage of knowing each individual personal production is that I can see whether the employee is managing his job or not. Whether he is contributing or is a burden for the company. Many times, production is the reason why the person was hired for that job, and thus the company should monitor their investment in this person. We monitor investment revenues on capital markets/stock markets, so why would we not do it with employees? On one hand we can see whether the person is an asset and, on the other hand, we can monitor his potential. In our company we have a natural pressure on production, because in a small company one position is closely following another, and people are “chasing” each other when one has a delay with delivering his or her product. We strictly make sure that sales targets are met in our company, which also creates a natural pressure to fulfill individual plans.
  2. We have measured individual production for a really long time and I, personally, do not recall a time when we did not. I could imagine that some companies operate without doing this, and I could assume that in bigger companies they do not have enough capacity to measure production for each individual. Such a situation could have two effects – either there is an individual holding the job who is not capable and nobody notices it, or there is a very capable person but because nobody measures his production, he goes by unnoticed whether he is producing a lot or a little. Not measuring production could discourage productive people, and for unproductive people it would be convenient. Our well-trodden path is to already start measuring production with each individual, continue with groups and up to the whole company. Our reward system is based on production as well.

The first impression is seldom the most important

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Predicting future impressions, however,
is a key to success in hiring

Some recruiters pay a lot of attention to the first impression they get from a candidate. Sometimes this could be a huge mistake. This does not mean that the first impression never matters, but it is often overrated.

Maybe you met your husband or wife and fell in love right away, and then got married and all worked out fantastically well and you have lived happily ever since. Or you could possibly have met a person many times over time and, one day, you found yourself in love with a person you have known for a long time. Without having done any extensive research on the matter, I have concluded that marriages or relationships that are quickly formed based on a very good first impression seem to be short-lived, more often than not. The same in sales. You might have met a salesman who made a fantastic first impression but, as you encountered him over time, you became slightly less amazed the more times you met him.

This does not mean that the first impression can never be vital. It really can be. In some jobs, you simply don’t get a second chance if you did not make a good enough impression in the first meeting. So yes, first impression can be extremely important in certain jobs and situations. But as a recruiter, you should generally be a lot more concerned with the 5th or even the 50th impression when you want to hire to build a real and productive team. When looking at this, think about a really good friend of yours who was not very outgoing or “PRish” the first time you met, but then started to “win over” or impress more and more, the more times you met. In hiring, you are often better off with this second scenario.

Some people are not good at all at generating an amazing first impression, and they often know it. Thus, they tend to hate situations where the first impression is considered “everything”, and unfortunately hiring is an area where it is often considered “very important” to deliver a great first impression. Now, you need to understand that there are people who deliver a beautiful first impression, and the 10th impression is still as great or even better. There are people who give an awful first impression and, after 10 impressions, you see the same awfulness. But then there are those who cannot easily make a good first impression, but then improve the more times people see or deal with him or her.

This leaves us with a simple idea: In hiring, the first impression is NOT super important unless the actual job requires that ability. Many companies miss out on hiring some amazing people simply because they pay too much attention to the first impression.

In hiring, a good first impression generally does not compensate for a bad 10th, unless it is a person who will almost exclusively deal with brand new people. In some other jobs, the first impression is crucial, such as in a busy reception, in some management positions, in a PR representative, in some sales jobs, etc. So in those jobs we have to consider what people will receive and think about from the first contact. But when it comes to people you will work with over time, and eventually meet hundreds of times, the first impression is rarely a good guide to what hiring decision you should take. That is why meeting a potential candidate several times gives you the chance to observe how the impression changes over time, and with more meetings.

Some quite productive people have problems presenting themselves in a “PR-way”. That is why they might not look so very interested when we ask them to “present themselves” or if we ask them to describe “who you are”.

Candidates who do not care about the first impression

  • Some people do not care about the first impression. They are often a bit dispersed, impatient, and they do not care much about “details” such as modern-looking clothes or self-confident behavior.
  • If something is really important, then they do it, but they are definitely not precise in details.
  • However, sometimes these people can still be productive in certain areas.
  • All factors are not equally important. When it comes to evaluating people for hiring, few things are as important as the level at which a person can produce or deliver. And that is why you should always care about production.

Why is production so important?

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The key factor for making people happy at work

Anna Matusova is a co-owner and co-founder of Performia Slovakia. Her professional career in the HR field started in the 1990s as an HR manager at Eurotel (today Telecom) and then at McDonald’s. During her 20 years of work at Performia, she has interviewed thousands of candidates and, at the same time, has trained owners and managers in new perspectives and methods for professionally building a team. Thus, we decided to ask her for her viewpoint on production.

I have been representing Performia in Slovakia for more than 20 years now. We try to inform the current business world about a few basic factors that are part of our technology, and that are important not only when doing hiring but also when building a good team.
One specific, stable type of data that you can always count on when working with personnel is PRODUCTION. In other words, THE RESULTS of any activity. What you need from employees is simply to get the job done. If this takes place, you will avoid a lot of problems. What I say might sound a bit harsh, but you should pay your employees for their actual production.
To understand this better, it is good to look at the origin of the word PRODUCTION. It comes from Latin and consists of two parts: pro and ducere. (Pro-) is a prefix that means forward, to move something forward. (Ducere) means to lead or to carry. In the figurative sense, we could say that a “product” is something that we made somewhere behind the scenes, and only once it was fully complete was it brought forward with pride and put on display. We see this often in restaurants, where what we get on the table is nothing else but a completed product. A product is something for which you do not need to add or improve anything.
I have already mentioned that employees should be paid for their actual production. If an employee is getting paid for something that he is not really producing, the consequences over time would be a decline in willingness, responsibility, respect for the company, respect for managers, worsening quality of his work, etc. Such a person will most probably spread his dissatisfaction to others in the company, and it could then continue to spread like a plague. Eventually, even the people who were once on your side will start to resist and revolt.

A product is something for which you do not need to add or improve anything

The main role of an executive is actually to bring his juniors to the successful creation of a product, in a high quality and an amount that follows the standards of the company. If you want to retain the right people, you have to be able to give them real challenges in the form of achievable results at work, which you then have to be able to verify as well. The best index for measuring results is a statistic. Every type of work can be measured. The results either exist or do not.
Statistics are a very useful index of production and can be used to make conclusions and decisions that improve a company. Although the world is not run by numbers, statistics can show us whether or not it is run well.

So how do you set up a remunerative system then?

One of the possible solutions is to ask yourself, “What do you actually pay your employees for?” The ideal scenario is if the pay truthfully reflects the production of each specific employee.
A reward system based on the precisely calculated, valuable, completed result of work done in good quality and produced by the employee, works the best. This is because production and visible results give a person more desire to improve. It is the basis for the continuous growth of success at work, as well as for having a strong and effective team.
I am convinced that the thing behind high production is the person’s motivation. The employee that does not create and produce anything is struggling and cannot experience long-term happiness. Grant joy from production, and fulfillment from work, to the members of your team.

PhDr. Anna Matusova
ED Performia Slovakia