We’re excited to share a special blog post request from red-carpet customer service expert and current Ruby® Receptionists client Donna Cutting.
A while back, we had a lovely conversation via the Ruby Receptionists Twitter page, and she suggested that we do a blog post on our hiring techniques. Actually, her exact words were: “What are the hiring practices you use to ensure you hire such phenomenal people?” We take great care in finding our dazzling virtual receptionists, so it’s a fabulous idea to be able to share our secrets with the rest of the small (or medium or large) businesses out there.
Over the years, we’ve developed an exceptional system for interviews. In fact, we don’t even call them “interviews”; we call them “sit-withs,” denoting a more two-sided conversation. We divide sit-withs into three parts, each of which is lead by a different Ruby team member. That way, we are able to get a whole picture of who the candidate is and how she might fit into our unique culture:
Sarah Sackett, Ruby’s Director of Culture (and regular blog contributor), begins the experience by showing them around the office. Sarah focuses on our culture and Core Values since they are such a big part of who we are. She looks to see if the candidate is excited about what we believe in, since it is so different from what drives a lot of other companies out there. Ultimately, we look for people who get as excited about Fostering Happiness and Creating Community as they are about the perks of the job.
The “formal” interview.
After the tour, the Ruby candidate sits down with one of our talented Staff Managers. Hopefully, the friendly office tour with Sarah will have calmed her nerves so that we get to see who she is and what she’s passionate about. Our managers keep a keen eye out for non-verbal cues to see what she gets excited about; if she perks up when talking about meeting lots of different kinds of people, for example, Ruby may just be the place for her! We also watch out for a certain confidence in manner and speech. Our remote receptionists answer a fair number of calls a day from a range of different industries, and it’s important that they be able to think on their feet and maintain a professional demeanor. We also like to switch up the topics for the same reason – our virtual receptionists need to be able to talk about both fun and serious issues at a moment’s notice; one moment they may be speaking with a party planner’s client, and the next they may be taking a brief intake form for a divorce attorney’s new client. We get to see how they might handle this by having them chat with Sarah about the more lighthearted aspects of the job and then having them talk to one of their potential managers about something more serious like the mechanics of the job.
The job first-hand.
Our sit-with ends with an opportunity for the interviewee to see the job in action. We have the prospective Ruby sit with one of our veteran virtual receptionists to get a feel for the special way we answer phones. At the same time, we get to see how she interacts with someone who would be her peer. Does she ask a lot of questions? Is she interested in why we do the things we do? Does she make an effort to get to know her potential coworker?
As you can see, we like to get to know our candidates through more than just a piece of paper and a few questions. Through our three-part “sit-with” system, Rubys at different levels of the company are able to meet prospective employees and consider whether they’re going to be a good fit. People interact very differently with their peers as with their potential managers, and if across the board she’s well-spoken, professional, charming, and enthusiastic, then we may have found yet another Ruby!
What do you look for in a potential employee? Or do you have another topic you’d like us to cover on the Ruby blog? We’d be delighted to hear your suggestions. Please feel free to post your tips and topics in the comments below.
Last but not least, special thanks to Donna Cutting for suggesting this post idea!