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.