Few factors are more crucial to the success of a business than good employees. Because of this, good recruiting must start at the top. CEO’s need to recruit the best people they can find.
Here are guidelines to help you bring aboard great employees.
Hire “A” Players
The role of leadership is to produce more leaders – not followers. Steve Jobs says that A players hire other A players.
On the other hand, B players hire C players, and C players hire D players. If you follow this route, pretty soon your company will end up with Z players.
As you strive to follow Steve Jobs’ example, you’ll need to avoid hiring the wrong people. Keep these points in mind.
Don’t Confuse Correlation with Causation
Just because a candidate worked at a company when it achieved success, it doesn’t mean that he actually contributed to that success. He could’ve just been along for the ride.
Find out what projects he managed, and analyze his results.
Trust your Current Employees
They’re your best resource for finding great people, since they’ll be working with this candidate everyday. Who else would be as motivated to bring in a good employee?
Hire Passionate People
Skilled candidates are not good enough. You want people who are also infected with enthusiasm for what you do. They should believe that your company can change the world – just like you do.
If you’re not sure how passionate the candidate is, consider the following:
- Ask the candidate to present your product or service. If she really loves it, she’ll be able to sell its benefits.
- Compare the amount of time the candidate talks about compensation versus the amount of time he talks about your product. This is a good way to tell if he wants to make money more than make meaning.
- Consider the type of questions that the candidate asks. Do they come from solid knowledge about your company? Or is he still trying to figure out the basics, such as what you do and who your customers are?
Ignore the Irrelevant
Degrees don’t necessarily translate into intelligence – which is what you’re really after. Steve Jobs never graduated from Reed College.
On one hand, knowing the industry jargon and having existing relationships is helpful. But a candidate who is set in his way of thinking about the industry may have difficulty being innovative.
To illustrate, Ford Motor Company built the first assembly line for cars by using the skills of people from meatpacking houses, granaries, and breweries.
Steve Jobs isn’t very compassionate. Bills Gates isn’t very good at presentation design. But should that deter you from hiring the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates?
Find candidates who, though they have major weaknesses, they also possess great strengths. A team of people with diverse strengths reduces redundancy and makes weaknesses irrelevant.
Analyze your Intuition
When recruiting, there are times when your rational side says not to hire a candidate. But even though he doesn’t have the right background, your intuition says to hire him.
Other times, you think you should hire someone because he’s got the perfect work experience. But your intuition tells you to pass.
Since your intuition can be wrong, use these tips to counter its undue influence.
Have a Checklist for the Interview Beforehand
Decide on the exact attitude, knowledge, and experience needed for the position before you conduct interviews.
Focus on Pointed Questions
It’s not too hard to lie your way through questions such as “Why do you want to work for this organization?”
Instead, ask deeper questions such as:
“What accomplishments are you most proud of?”
“What were your biggest failures?”
“What was your most rewarding learning experience?”
Take Plenty of Notes
Your memory will be distorted through time along with your subjective reactions to candidates. You’ll need the notes to remember what the person actually said.
Check References Early
Most companies do this after they’ve already decided to make an offer. This is a big mistake because you’re going to want to hear comments that affirm the decision you’ve already made. You’re setting yourself up for a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Instead, use reference-checking to decide whether or not a candidate is even acceptable. Here are good questions to ask:
- What contributions did he make to the company?
- What are her specific skills? What is she best at?
- How would you describe his work ethic?
- Would you work with her again?
Have an Initial Review Period
Despite your best efforts, your recruiting decisions may sometimes be wrong, and the new hire doesn’t perform to your expectations. One of the hardest things to do is to admit a mistake and fix it.
But if you don’t fire people who aren’t performing, you increase the chances of having to lay off people who are.
To make it easier on your organization and the employee, define a review period with incremental performance milestones.
After 90 days, have a review in which both sides discuss what’s going right, and what needs to be improved.
If you liked this post, you'll love getting my free business tips. In addition, you can get free updates via email.