Every business owner knows that in order to gain maximum productivity, a conducive environment is required for members of staff.
Having the right blend of staff in the perfect work environment is like a great sewing machine, it works seamlessly.
This week, we spoke with Mrs. Oyindasola Bajulaiye, a HR professional with a degree in Philospohy and a Masters in Managerial Psychology (MMP). From her many years of experience as a HR consultant, she shared with us tips on questions to ask as an employer in order to pick the right staff for your brand and how to create a friendly and conducive work environment for all.
Questions to ask during an interview
She said, “You, the employer or interviewer, need to know exactly what you want the person to do, in terms of job role or description. Based on the job description you have put together, you should be able to tailor your questions appropriately.”
Knowing clearly what exactly you want the new recruit to do goes a long way in determining the course the interview takes. This leads to some generic questions she suggested recruiters ask. For the sake of this interview we focused on questions to ask a fashion designer;
1. Why has he/she decided to go into fashion designing? This is a great conversation starter in the interview, it let’s you see how deep the passion this person has for the industry is and what problems the interviewee saw in the fashion industry that inspired him/her to get into it.
2. What does he/she enjoy most about being a fashion designer? When a person loves what they do their work always comes out way better. This question can give you insight into how committed or dedicated the person will be as an employee.
3. What is his/her favourite part about being a designer? This helps you know what the person will thrive at and what gives the person the most joy when it comes to designing a piece.
4. What inspires the styles/designs he/she makes? This question gives you a little insight about what makes the person tick and understand better the kind of designs the person will be more inclined to creating. It also ensures that you pick someone that has the same vision as you.
5. What skills he/she thinks are necessary for a good fashion designer to have? Speaking on this, she said, “This question is to ensure that he/she has a flair for, and is interested in the career path and isn’t just trying to get a job with you for lack of some thing else to do.”
6. What qualification(s) does he/she have? “Education is key.”, she stated, “What qualification(s) does he/she have?” Knowing what qualifications this person has in terms of trainings he/she has undergone, internships he/she has done, relevant experience he/she has had gives you a good idea of how knowledgeable he/she is in the field.
7. How knowledgeable is he/she about the fashion industry? Finding this out is VERY important. “Most importantly, the person needs to be up to date in fashion.”, she said then added, “A person that desires a career in the fashion industry has to be speaking fashion.” As a recruiter, you should have questions about the fashion industry that this person is required to answer so you know how into fashion the interviewee is.
These questions can be tailored to suit a cutter, a pattern drafter, a tailor, a fashion illustrator, a social media expert, etc.
“The person’s specifications are what you watch out for as the person sits before you to be interviewed. You have your expected answer or the way you want the answers to go, once the person is not going in this direction you already know he/she is not a right fit.” she said. When you, as the employer, understands what you want the person to do, you’re able to put together the person’s specifications.
Ways to create a conducive and friendly atmosphere for members of staff
In creating a conducive environment;
1. Ensure that the work space or environment is comfortable: “Have a good and clean environment and a good convenience.” she said. Your staff deserve to work in a clean environment and to have good and clean facilities to use. It’s important to ensure that these are in available in your work space.
2. Make available all that is required for the staff to be productive: She stated that it is important that you, as the employer, “provides all that is required for staff to be productive”. You don’t want to have a work environment where no tools or materials for work are available. When your staff have all the necessary work tools, they have no excuse not to be productive.
In creating a friendly environment;
1. Encourage team work: Encouraging team work helps staff members relate with each other more, making them warm up to each other, so instead of having a cold or hostile environment you have a warm and friendly one.
2. Be concerned about their wellbeing: Under this, she said, “Know something personal about them and their families.” When you take out time to show personal interest in members of staff it makes them feel loved and accepted. When your staff see you as a friend they tend to put extra effort into their work.
3. Give time off when necessary: “When a member of your staff is genuinely sick, give him/her time off. As firm as you want to be, make sure its not a master and slave environment.”, she said.
In giving her last words for this interview, she said, “Goal setting is very important. Make sure you set goals and work with them. The staff members must know what you expect of them. Training is important too. Assess staff performance and ask them to do so too.”