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Lisa Owens on Best Hiring Practices

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Lisa Owens

In the 2022 May/June Issue, we spoke with Lisa Owens, the office manager and human resources generalist at The Wave Aquatic and Fitness Center in Whitefish, Montana, about best hiring practices.

When The Wave has a new opening, what are some of the first steps you take to make the opening known? 

The first step is to advertise internally. We post all job openings in our breakroom and send an email to staff listing what positions are available. Since the best place to find new hires is through the great people you currently have, we have a referral bonus in place on all vacancies. The next step is to advertise in outside resources. We post openings in different areas of the facility, on our website, Craigslist, the local community college job board, Indeed and social media. Our members have also been a great resource for referring people to us or applying themselves.

What tips do you have for reviewing applications? 

We ask for a cover letter and resume with every application. Review the cover letter first. Look for a connection to the job they are applying for. Next is to scan the resume for overall presentation. Check for the qualifications you have posted in your job vacancy, other skills they might have to offer, and their previous employment history. Also look for customization for the job and location they are applying for. I want to make sure they know what they are applying for, rather than just mass sending out resumes to job openings.

How do you ensure you are setting new hires up for success? 

From the point of first impression through the onboarding process, we do everything we can to make sure we have communicated clearly with our new hire. On the first day, have their name tag ready, paperwork set aside and have staff there as a support system. Make sure you outline the roles and expectations, help set goals, and teach the mission, vision and goals of the facility to make sure they have buy-in to what you stand for. During the first month, we also have a new employee orientation all new hires attend in addition to the traditional onboarding. We spend an hour engaging them in different ways to reiterate our culture, mission and vision, as well as our history.

How should leadership manage and evaluate performance of new hires? 

Make sure you have fully onboarded a new hire and have given them time to adjust to their role. Provide a lot of instant feedback, and have an open-door policy they understand and feel comfortable using. When we do our first performance evaluation, it is not formal. We do more coaching than anything and reinforce all the good we are seeing and encourage them to keep it up. If we are seeing weaknesses, the first thing I ask of my lead staff is to ensure the new hire has received proper training, and ask how can we as leaders can help them be successful. 

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Brittany Howard

Brittany is the editor of Community Rec Magazine. Reach her at brittany@peakemedia.com.

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