Do you ever notice how a seemingly minor problem can wreak havoc in an otherwise pleasant day? Whoever those gremlins are that live in mobile phones, mine were in high spirits. Suddenly I had a coma-induced phone. I couldn’t send texts, emails, or perform other normal functions of a smart phone. My friend who loved her new iPhone suggested I upgrade. It sounded good at the time.
Let me state up front purchasing anything technical is not my idea of a good time. In addition, I’m no fan of my wireless provider; they are to me a necessary evil. For the sake of anonymity let’s just call them Horizon Wireless. Going into one of their retail stores is like going to a Metallica concert so I opted for an online purchase.
I had a few questions about the phone, so I pulled up their site and reached chat guy, Roy. Twelve minutes later, I’m still waiting for Roy to type “How can I help you?” Forget my questions …. I’ll just order the darn phone on line and be done with it. After 15 minutes I still can’t get to the shopping cart. Okay, so dare I try another online chat? Now I’m waiting 13 minutes for my chat rep, Sonny, to bring up my account. I intervened, “Are you there, Sonny?” “Yes, I’m hear.” Oh no, I’m not chatting with someone who flunked third grade grammar! I am now forced to actually call Horizon’s customer service line. I get Risley, a young, high-pitched, overly peppy girl who went to school with Sonny. After 20 minutes and not getting any closer to the coveted shopping cart, Risley tells me the problem lies with my not being the ‘account manager’ leaving me with absolutely no purchasing power. I tell her I haven’t much time. Let’s just say the perception of time to Risley was as foreign as Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Ignoring my comment, she replied, “We’ll just eliminate all your account information and start again making you the account manager. It’ll only take a ‘sec’.” This doesn’t sound good. A half hour later, I pleaded, “Risley, I know you’re trying but can you ask someone for help?” “I think I’ve got this, Mrs. Cook. Try this — hit the back button. Oops, sorry Mrs. Cook, wrong move.” And so it went for another 45 torturous minutes. Steam was coming out of my head at this point. I’ve now been with Risley for most of the afternoon. “Risley, I have a client shortly and can’t continue trying to buy a phone.” Nonchalantly she replied, “No problem, Mrs. Cook, I’d like to ask you a question before we end this call … (oh no, please don’t) … “Have I provided you with excellent service today?” I now need to be medically calmed down!
I was exhausted, but I still needed a phone. I braced myself and called Customer Service one more time. This time the gods smiled on me and I got Tony, a mature, competent man who immediately put me at ease. He apologized for my previous ‘experience’ and confidently assured me he could get me the phone within minutes. Tony also took the time to explain why I had difficulties ordering which had little to do with my not being an Account Manager, just as I suspected. Within 15 minutes the phone was now on its way to me. I wanted to make Tony “Employee of the Year!”
This is the same dilemma that employers face during the hiring process. Suddenly they need to fill a vacancy or create a new position. Where are all the Tonys in the world when you need them? Employers know how difficult and costly it is to hire employees; and most hiring managers struggle to find the right person. Why? One reason is a good hire is not made solely by matching a candidate’s skills, experience or capabilities to a job description.
A hiring manager and a potential candidate will have a much better outcome if they consider the following criteria:
1. Competency. Does the candidate understand both the tasks and the challenges of the position and can they demonstrate that knowledge and ability? In my customer service example above, neither Roy nor Sonny would ever be accused of being overly competent. As a potential candidate, can you demonstrate through your accomplishments that you understand the needs of the hiring manager?
2. Potential. Does the candidate have the capability for growth and the willingness to take on more responsibility? Sometimes the hiring manager won’t ask this question directly, but if you are a candidate you want to make sure you leave the interview having demonstrated your capacity to excel. In other words, can you set yourself apart from the other candidates?
3. Compatibility. Does the candidate show the ability to get along with not just colleagues but existing and potential clients? Dare I mention Risley, but that is one sorry example of an employee who may have been bubbly during the interview, but when uncorked fell flat when it came to connecting with others.
4. Character. Does the candidate match up with the values of the hiring manager and the team? (If you are the candidate, can you demonstrate your traits, i.e., truthfulness, honesty, or dedication?) Does the candidate reflect the company culture? Does the candidate demonstrate selflessness, enthusiasm, and commitment?
There is nothing more satisfying to a client or customer of a business than to encounter an employee who is not just competent, but committed to doing his or her best. In addition, there is nothing more rewarding for an employer than to select an employee they know from the start is going to be a perfect fit.