A foundational piece of all great leadership is surrounding yourself by other great people but you need to start with the basics, hiring. If you don’t already have a system in place, try some of these tips.

I am often asked, “What is the most important foundation of running a great business?” In my experience, there is no single answer rather two equally important principles to follow. First, a strong basis of practical execution, and second, hiring only the best candidates to represent the business. These
candidates must deliver service that best displays the company’s product and image. Your future will depend on how the staff represents your business to the public and their ability to both create a broad client base with growth potential and increase revenue. Chances are many companies offer similar products or services to those you are putting on the market. The way your employees deliver
that product or service to the public will set your business apart from the rest and determine its future success. How do you select the best employees, those who will put just the right spin on the product or project the right image for the service? Do you need quiet and able, flashy and colorful, or something in between? Someone who can sell snow to a snowman would make a powerful food server but might not be a perfect match as an office receptionist. So first, you must identify the traits and qualities needed to best represent your company and product to clients, customers, or guests in the most effective way.

Think about picking out a puppy to bring home to your family. It’s an exciting time and hopes run high. Though everyone is motivated to make the best choice, each has their own idea of what the ideal companion would be. As the person in charge of this event, it is your job to find the right pet for the entire family and to
keep the emotions of the situation from overwhelming the correct decision. Not only does the puppy have to meet your family’s expectations of a great companion, but you must make sure that your home and lifestyle will be a good fit for the puppy, too. Take into consideration your family’s wish list as well as your home environment, available time, and financial situation. Now decide on a specific breed and the individual character you hope to find in your new family member. Armed with this list and a clear picture of the desired choice, you arrive to choose your companion and are greeted by as many different personalities as there are puppies. Some pups are quiet and withdrawn, some excited and playful, others appear confident and curious, and still others are completely
laid back. Because you did your homework, you are able to remain focused on the traits you are looking for while the rest of the family becomes emotionally charged by the commotion of the event. Caught up in the desire to bring home a puppy – any puppy, some family members are willing to sacrifice agreed upon characteristics and throw your list out with the soggy training papers. If you don’t remain firm in demanding the original traits you could end up with a pet that isn’t a perfect match for your home!

Selecting good employees should follow the same careful approach. As owner or manager, it is your job to identify the skills and traits needed by the employee to create the best fit for your business just like you did when deciding on which traits to look for to match the new puppy to your home and lifestyle. The business
image, the specific position and how it relates to the product or service, and the type of interaction this position will have with the public, are all things to be considered. For your business to be successful, you may decide you need someone that is outgoing, fun, a team player, meticulous or well organized. It could be important that they have administrative skills or specific communication
skills. Whatever your needs, once you identify the specific skills that will drive your business to achieve success, write your list and stick to it. The next step is to design an interview process that will expose the desired traits in the interviewees bringing out those with the greatest potential. Create questions specific to the traits and skill sets you are seeking. Keep in mind, the entire interview process is planned not only to identify the best candidates but to keep you and your interviewing team focused despite the pressures surrounding
your business’ current situation. You may already be short staffed, experiencing strong sales, or struggling to stay afloat. Any of these can be stressful and could easily cause you and your team to lose focus, just like the circumstances of selecting that perfect puppy. Working under pressure could lead you to short-term your business and settle for an employee that doesn’t meet the needs of the business. Your interview process must ensure the desired qualities are defined, captured, and never compromised. If not, the business fails. Just like making a poor choice when selecting a puppy will leave you stuck with an unhappy dog for the rest of its life or worse, make a poor decision during the interview process and you will be burdened with a new employee incapable of meeting the demands of the position. Trying to train a new employee to be what they aren’t will not only make both of you unhappy but it is an incredible waste of time and resources. Sacrifice your standards today and your business will suffer tomorrow.

In summary, the best tips to hiring an employee are:

1. Define the traits, qualities, and characteristics that will present your company and product in the very best way possible.

2. Design an interview process and questions that will solicit those traits from your potential new hires.

3. Train yourself to ask those questions of every interviewee and do not hire unless you get feedback that shows they have those traits naturally. Don’t be
afraid to write the questions down or even read them from your notes when interviewing so you are consistent. You are the interviewer and you are in
control of the situation.

4. Never sacrifice a trait or skill you need from a new hire because of the pressures of your current situation.

Tags: Hiring, interviewing, sourcing, staffing, swingley

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Replies to This Discussion

Andy,
Very good blog. Great comments and advice.

As a person on the job market for the first time in over 20 years, I've had my
share of the dumb questions (in my opinion). I was in one position for 18 years, then the place merged with another and I was there 2 years.

The questions I've been asked (about a travel position, which is my field) :
1) Do you have any experience in the travel industry
I'm polit and say yes (should I say 'just 24 years')

2) Did you make money for the company ?
Yes (I should have said "No, my complexion blends in with the wallpaper")

3) Did you accomplish anything ?
Of course. (No, I just liked sitting around for 8 hours and staring out the window). Why else
would the media want to interview me all the time ?

In the above example, the interviewer told me "Now, these questions are going to sound really stupid, but we're REQUIRED to ask them."

Dumbfounded, I asked : "required by whom ?"

"Corporate" was the answer..

It seems to me, that so many interviewers and or HR people are more concerned about the
present day needs, rather than the future.

All the jobs are posted on every website imaginable. I think they get confused, and overwhelmed
by the many applications and resume's.

FOHBOH has been a Godsend for me. I had nomidea there was so much brain power and intellectual curiosity out there.

Thanks for a provocative post. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I believe that we all have our own way of identifying the best people for our business needs! Thank you for streamlining the 'nuts and bolts' of it into an simple format for all to ponder as we all continue to move and shake up our hiring practices.

I have to say that one thing we have embraced is the power of a good referral. When we hire our managers and on Day 1 we ask if there are any people they would refer to us. Sometimes they wait until they complete our training program, sometimes they are 'sold' on Day 1 and are ready to refer. We reward our people for helping to build our bench strength by paying them a sum of money as well as giving them a stay at our company shore house the following summer. We have found great success in this program and continually change it up. It has become so popular in fact that we now offer it to our hourly associates. They are also able to refer managers and receive money if we hire the individual.
Our people look forward to our shore house becuase it is paid for by us, is BEAUTIFUL, and their families get to come along as well.

Nothing says we appreciate you more than getting a family's buy in!
WOW! Great subject to discuss. As I look at the hiring in business, I try to think of how the potential employee would also feel. I believe the fit must be mutual for both sides to win.
As I grew through the ranks of business I have tried to remember what has kept me motivated, inspired, and happy. I believe is the same in hiring as it is in retention. They are the same 3 things we are afraid of in a new job/career and the same things that keep us there.

1) Am I believed in and meet or exceed the expecations of my boss/supervisor?
When hiring remind yourself that this is the best show they will ever give you. Do you believe in it and them? Are you explaining the expections that you have clearly so they not only understand, but desire to exceed them? as previosly notes, stay true to who you are!!!

2) Will I make enough money? Definately not a need to discuss out of the chute, but still address the reality of what is to be paid. Bonus', perks, insurance, 401K, salary, hourly, vacation time, sick days, any other paid time off, bereavement pay, etc. Do not avoid the subject. Put the horse down, address it, so both sides feel knowledgable on this expectaion as well.

3) Will I enjoy my co-workers and the environment? If someone is applying for a position, how much research have they done on you? Do they know or represent your current clientel base, or future base? Interview on what is their ideal envirnment, co-worker, and boss are. Does it match who you and your staff currently is, or will be? No one wants to pick up others slack, new or old. Look for answers that describe their ideals, and you might realize that they are your perfect fit!!

Stay true to yourself and beliefs ands agreed, never sacrifice anything!!

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