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We don't hire staff but we do work with 3rd parties


“We’re not looking for more staff. But we do look for contractors to work with.” Does this look familiar? Your core team is not ready to expand (or won’t ever need to) but your full team includes contractors, outside experts, out-sourced specialists. You could not deliver your solution without these good folk.

In which case, you have a problem. You can’t hire and fire them in the same way as if they worked for you, but they still represent your organization in a very real way. They might be working under your banner or under their own, but your reputation rests with them. They could be responsible for a fabulous client experience and therefore more revenue or they could be the reason for you losing your top client. It’s a risk.

So how do you mitigate that risk? And how can you be sure you’ve got the right person to do the job? Let’s start with identifying the right person.
My guess is you will interview your contact, almost as if they were going to join your organization. I’m hoping your decision to take them on isn’t purely based on the fact that you’ve known them a while and /or they are simply available and apparently competent. Ideally you want to work out your top things you need them to be or have. Start with the broad areas of task you’ll want them to do for you. 4 or 5 is more than enough. Then think SEARCH or Skills, Experience, Attitude, Results, Cognitive skills, and last but not least, Habits. What would you ideally want them to have or be for each task under each of those categories? You can’t test for all of those, so, across all the task areas and categories, which 4 are your “must-haves”? And what additional ones would be “great-to-have” if you needed to identify one potential candidate and another?

You can now craft some questions to test if they have those qualities. Nice and conversationally, ask “” Tell me about a time when you…”. Follow up with “Why did you do it that way?” and maybe even “And what did you learn from that.” A great way of blowing away all the smoke.

As regards mitigating risk, what reaction do you think you’d get if you suggested they did a psychometric assessment? Let’s find out if they have the qualities you need to represent you. It’s one thing to spin a good story to you over a coffee, it’s quite another to try and pull the wool over your eyes with an assessment.

Is this all over-kill? Or do you need to have confidence that your new external team member will be good enough? If your contact is as good as they say they are, they will respond positively to having the opportunity to demonstrate to you why you should be giving them lots of work!
If you’d like help putting together your interview questions and assessment, let me know!

Paul Glynn

Paul Glynn

Sandler trainer