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Hiring Right: What to Look For

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“Hire hard, manage easy.” It’s a phrase that’s often used in recruitment, and in today’s landscape, finding people that are a good fit for your organization is more important than ever. Recruitment is more of an art than a science, and there are a number of factors that go into determining if someone will be successful in the role that you hire them for. Not only does the individual need to have the right skills and qualifications, but they should also have an inherent potential for growth.

So what qualities should you look for when hiring? Generally speaking, you should hire for attitude and train for skill. Of course, this can be slightly more difficult if you are hiring for a specialized position, but even then you want to make sure that that individual has the necessary “soft skills” to be successful in their role. These include things such as effective communication, teamwork, dependability, adaptability, conflict resolution, flexibility, leadership, and problem-solving skills. Hiring an instructor who is great in the classroom but still falls short in these other aspects will leave you struggling to build the culture you want and create a sense of cohesiveness amongst your staff. The last thing you need is a high-maintenance employee who requires an excessive amount of your time and attention.

Past behavior is the best indicator of future performance. Therefore, you want to take a deep dive into the candidate’s experience during the interview process to ensure that they will be a good fit. First, create a job posting and ask the applicant to submit a resume and cover letter where they outline their availability and teaching preferences. If the applicant is unable to follow these directions, automatically disqualify them. Make sure that during this stage, you do not make the application too detailed because most candidates will be scared away, regardless of how awesome your company may be to work for.

Once you receive the prospect’s application (and assuming they have followed all of your instructions and are qualified for the job), schedule a pre-screening with them. This may include a phone call, virtual meeting, questionnaire, or all three. Get to know the candidate and understand more about their background, education, past experience, and
future goals.

During this process, ask them the following types of interview questions:

Skills-based questions that directly relate to the candidate’s past experience and allow you to discern the difference between their theoretical and practical knowledge.

Behavioral questions that show how a candidate would approach a task based on their past experience and will help you learn more about their soft skills, such as their attitude and work ethic.

Situational questions that allow you to understand how a candidate would react to specific situations and show you their decision-making abilities.

If all goes well with the pre-screening process, bring the applicant in for an in-person interview and, if they have applied for an instructor position , have them teach a sample  class. You might even consider a panel or group interview at this point that involves getting feedback from other members of your team. Probe further into the candidate’s past experience and future plans and seek to understand more about what it is that they value in working for a company. Remember, the candidate is interviewing you just as much as you are interviewing them. Interview questions should be tailored to the specific role, so ensure that your questions are targeted so that you get the information you need in order to make an educated and informed decision.

Here are some questions you might consider:

Instructor

  • Explain how you would handle a situation with a child that was struggling to learn a dance step. What would you do to help them?
  • How would you handle a situation where a parent confronts you about their child’s class placement?
  • What do you feel are appropriate student-teacher boundaries to enforce?

Administrative

  • Describe a time that you had to deal with a difficult customer and how you handled it.
  • Talk to me about a time where you didn’t have the answer for a client and how you obtained the information for them?
  • Describe for me how you stay organized and your follow-up process.

Leadership/Management

  • Describe your management style.
  • How do you define success?
  • Tell me about a time that you had to resolve a conflict between employees.

Once you have identified the candidate you want to hire, make sure that upon making them an offer, they understand that it is contingent upon successfully passing any required pre-employment screenings, such as background check, reference checks, drug test, etc.  Additionally, if you require training such as YPAD™ or First Aid and CPR, be sure to disclose that information upfront, including a timeline for completion. You want to clarify all offer details at the onset of hiring so that there are no surprises later on. Establishing a formal onboarding training is another great way of starting your new hire on the right foot and getting them properly acclimated to your company to help to ensure their success.    

Hiring the right people for your organization can seem like a daunting task, but by breaking down the process step by step, you can simplify it and make it much more manageable.  Focus on the individual’s soft skills, past experiences, and leadership potential to ensure that you hire people for you who properly fit within your studio’s culture and future plans. Putting in the hard work during the hiring process will help set your business up for future growth and propel it forward!

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