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How do I find reliable and competent employees?

I'm in the executive training business and I need really competent people who have talents in teaching as well as a good acumen for managemnt contents. But it is hard to find such people. Is there any proven way to find such people?

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Write the ad targeted at personality they need to have, then at skills. Sure, sounds counter intuitive, but you need the right person not just any warm body with the knowledge. Then make them jump through some hoops to get to you. This ensures that only truly interested people talk to you.

Or if you are actually asking about recruiting people, finding employed people and luring them away, think of it as any sale. What is unique about you/your business? Why would they "buy from you", ie come work for you, instead of your competitor? What are the characteristics of your target audience? Where do they hang out?

We have what we call the 4 hour hiring process that uses these techniques (obviously much more detail) and gets great candidates.


Looking for good people is not easy but finding them can be way more difficult. Both short-term and long-term hires. Looking and finding good, excellent, long-time employees is difficultt. It;s a skill.

It's like an triangle. You may only hire one who is at the top, but you have to create awareness for the position. That's the bottom of the triangle. Asking your existing employees are a major plus and then you need to interview. it may take a few hundred resumes to interview 10-15 possible candidates. . Ususally on the phone first . Then maybe five in person. Look for a good backgound, working and education experiences and accomplishments, plus great references. I have a working/interviewing document called "Looking for a Job"--it may help in interviewing.

Very few have ever taken a class or a seminar in interviewing techniques. That's too bad. People need to train to be the interviewee. Hope this helps.


I totally agree with Michael. Particularly in small business, my observation is that the cause for the vast majority of employees that don't work out is NOT that they can't do the job... it has to do with style, attitude, core values, etc. Particularly if the job can be learned reasonably quickly, hire for the type of person and train them.

As to the mechanics... I agree with others. Always ask in-house first - for people they know that might fit. If it's a small business, work out some technological mechanics if there is expected to be a lot of applications, such as an email address to send answers to basic questions or a phone mail number. You can then do a preliminary screening at your convenience and not have to waste time on the first pass.

I strongly suggest that, for the important jobs, when you get down to the final 2 - 3 candidates, do some standardized testing/analysis of personality and/or behavioral style (for the reasons stated above) to provide that most important element of input to the final decision. (I use and recommend DISC, but there are a lot of different ones.)


I agree with Robert Bob Cox -- doing a great job interviewing is key. But looking in the right places for talent may also have impact on your success in finding this kind of talent. For example, if you haven't already done so, you might check out the Association for Talent Development and/or do some google searches on leadership and management training consultants, for instance. I agree with you -- there are some great trainers out there -- they may not be looking, but the needles are in the haystack.


Hi Daniel, As a recruiter I would say the best way to find good employees is to ask any current employees that you have that are reliable and competent if they know other like minded people. The other method is to post online I am a firm believer the better the post the better the candidate. I highly recommend spending a great deal of time and effort on the post. The interview process is critical you need to be transparent and explain to the candidates what the process is so they are aware and ideally engaged the entire time. There is not enough space here to get deep into the process. Treat every candidate with dignity and respect. Place a great deal of importance on attitude it is far easier to train a candidate for a skill then it is for energy and attitude. Ask yourself would you like to have lunch with this person once or twice a week. If the answer is no they may not be the one. Liz Ryan has several great posts on interviewing. Good luck.


Other than interviews and evevaluating their Emotional Intelligence....no. Just getting a personal perspective grind it out ....our belly never lies


Your competency requirements are a little vague and I am not sure what “managemnt contents” means. That being said, I am not sure teaching competency is measured the same by two or more people; regardless of metrics. What you see as an asset I may see as a deterrent. The effectiveness, and therefore the competency, of teaching is subjective. Every student learns different – even working professionals.

In my experience, I’ve found I need to trust my gut during the interview process and like what I see in person as much as what I see on paper. Often, I’ve found, our expectations as hiring managers can be unrealistic. Everyone has a learning curve in a new organization and position; even if they’ve done the job somewhere else before.

A lot of times, hiring managers/bosses claim to have “an open-door policy” and want to hear new ideas…but in reality its only on their terms. With/without realizing it, they have a prejudiced to how things are done in their organization. That’s a sure fire way to claim incompetency and set someone up for failure.

Most of the time, new hires have a more difficult time acclimating to the culture than anything else. Patience goes a long way; so does setting realistic expectations and boundaries. Don’t set these things to create a negative barrier but to encourage a positive environment so everyone can learn – including you and other managers.

Anonymous User

In order to find reliable and competent employees, first you have to analyse the nature of the job and set the challenges a teacher can face before, during and after his/her lesson. Write down the steps or processes that it takes to get the advertised job done. This step is really important to identify what exactly you need. Then you can determine the skills and traits needed to for the job. There are different personality tests that you can do to know whether a candidate is the right person for a job. For example, you can try Myer- Briggs Type Indicator to test the prospect personality.
Second, the design of the interview questions can help a lot to identify whether a candidate is competent enough or not. Again brainstorm challenges and opportunities that a teacher or trainer can face and put questions and cases related to the job. Try to avoid generic interview questions which mostly people can find generic answers to. So in your case, your questions will be around teaching and management skills, i.e. lesson planning and management, pedagogy skills and knowledge, communication and interpersonal skills.
Third, you can use LinkedIn to advertise and announce your job vacancy. I think LinkedIn is one of the best business platforms to search and find candidates based on their competency and skills set. You can view their professional and educational background, their recommendations and endorsements, which adds credibility to a candidate. Your LinkedIn network can help you with reposting your advertisements and/or sending it to people who they think might be good for the job.
Best wishes.


Yes, there is. When I ran my own conflict managment training firm I asked the students I taught in the graduate program to become my trainers. I was well aware of their abilities and acumen because I was their teacher. I'd recommend connecting with a university or college that teaches your topic to find suitable candidates. Good luck


Hiring for personality is key. When interviewing, I always spend much more time delving into what makes the person tick personally - using resume reviewing and phone screening as early steps to determine compatible job skills. Ask questions about people's lives: what do they like doing on their non-working hours? With whom do they enjoy spending this time? What are their hobbies & passions? Get people talking about themselves, and you'll get a good idea of who they are - and whether you want to work with them - or not.

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