Hire The Best
While most people tend to think managing employees is the most difficult task a business owner has, it is my belief that recruiting and hiring talented employees is even more difficult. If you hire the right people, managing becomes much easier.
When reviewing resumes and interviewing prospective employees, it is important to question if this is the right person for the job. You can never be too sure of the answer to this question, and you will inevitably make hiring mistakes no matter how careful you are.
I worked with a multi-billion dollar company as a customer for many years. They had a very distinct culture. When hiring managers, they would have the leading candidates go through a dozen interviews with various executives, over several meetings. Seems like a very thorough process, yet still doesn’t always work out for them, and sometimes within a year they have seen that the person they thought fit, didn’t. So first lesson, when you hire someone, you have to be prepared to fire them as well, if need be.
Diverse Interviewers: Get multiple people from your company involved in the interviewing processes. This helps in a couple ways.
- It gives you a more well-rounded view of candidates, because others might notice pluses or minuses you did not.
- You get a consensus from the coworkers about the choice. If those who will work with, or even for, the person you are hiring participate, they are much more likely to help the new candidate be successful. If they are to be managed by this person, they are more likely to follow their lead. You increase the likelihood of success by having everyone involved in the process.
Interview in different environments: This is especially true for your key hires, such as managers, but is a good idea in all cases. If the first meeting was in your store of office, then perhaps make the second meeting over lunch or coffee. People behave differently in different settings, and you will get more insight into the person by being able to view them in different environments.
Look for creative outlets: In a study I participated in conducted by The Kaufman Foundation on Entrepreneurship, they studied characteristics “awesome employees” as singled out by their employers. One of the characteristics, across the board, for those “awesome” employees who always perform above expectations and exceed goals was that they all had a creative outlet. This could be writing, painting, photography, or any other creative expression. Some candidates may hesitate to mention theirs, so you might have to dig. But you best employees, might just be closet poets.
Seek passion: Many people need a job and will want yours so they can pay their rent. This is not the best reason to select them. You would be better served look for candidates who have a specific interest in your business, want to grow their skills, learn the business, or have some specific desire which overlaps yours, besides getting a paycheck. You can lean about this by asking what appeals to them about this job, and listen carefully for their answer. Look for passion; how much do they care about what your company does.
Repetition: In interviews, even the same interview session, I ask the same questions a few times, in different ways to see if the answer is consistent. Also, when I am probing on the same questions, it tends to push people out of their comfort zone, and you can see how they deal with an unreasonable person, a business owner for example.
Don’t put too much credence in references: Former employers are not likely to tell you anything bad about a former employee as they could have liability in doing so, and since they don’t know you, they wouldn’t usually take that risk. Also, the references are being supplied by the candidate, and it is likely they would not send you to anyone who would say anything but good things to say.
Credit Check: Once you have final candidates selected, ask for permission to run a credit check on them. You may find things like multiple social security numbers that are unaccounted for, or very significant issues from their past. Don’t he too hard of a judge here; you are not looking for a perfect credit history, just merely looking for examples of fraud or gross misconduct of their financial affairs.
I try to always remember what my greatest mentor taught me: the best time to fire someone is yesterday. Again, you cannot be 100% correct in your hiring decisions no matter what you do. So, after some time, if it is clear that you made a mistake, don’t wait too long to correct it. It is a common practice of business owners and managers to delay the inevitable and put off letting someone go. You justify it by thinking you can work with them and turn them around, so you put in the effort. Most of the time, you end up letting them go anyway, with you wasting your time and effort. If you think you might have made a hiring mistake, you most likely did, and your business will be better the sooner you correct your mistake.