Want brilliant employees? Hire an intern

Q. I am in charge of bringing entry-level employees into my company. Our turnover is a thing of wonder. Is there any way to do a better job screening before I make a commitment to hire and end up disappointed? Watching new employees come and go is exhausting!

A. Creating internships can be a great way for you to "try out" potential new hires before you make any lasting commitments. You can bring in a large number of interns, sit back, and watch how they do with follow through. You then only offer jobs to the people who have established a track record of performance with you.

Most colleges and some high schools are very supportive of businesses who offer skilled internship positions to their students. The students get critical real-world experience and the business gets extra and usually enthusiastic help.

When I work with human resources professionals to create hiring templates, I always point out that the best screening and interview questions in the world just can't tell you everything about a new hire. Some people soar through the hardest interview questions and tests and still make terrible employees.

By creating internships for students who are passionate about your industry, you set up a pipeline or future pre-screened employees. You will also find these same students will infuse your workplace with some of the motivation that originally brought all your employees into your industry.

Especially for entry level jobs, internships make great sense. Sit down and write out protocols for the basic tasks needed in your jobs. Start with a large group of potential interns, winnow the group down to the interns who are the best, and give them a chance to show you their stuff.

Being in a job for many years, many of us can forget why we wanted to work in our fields. We get burned out on the daily problems and lose sight of what made us want to work in our careers. When we mentor young people, their bright-eyed perspective can remind us of why what we do is cool. They also ask darn good questions that can make us improve our performance.

Superb interviewing techniques can only catch so much of who an employee is. The day-to-day performance of an intern is rock-solid evidence of whether that person is worthy of a job with your team.

The last word(s)

Q. I have a full-time job and a hobby trying to start a new business. My friends think my idea is dumb and won't work. Is there a downside to trying?

A. No, but there is a big downside to never finding out if you would have been successful. I feel certain we all will feel more peace on our deathbeds knowing that we tried and failed than if we never gave ourselves a chance!

(Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel's "Workplace Guru" each Monday morning. She's the author of "Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything" (Hay House, 2006). You can contact Dr. Skube at http://www.interpersonaledge.com or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.)


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