Hire Objectively! The more objective you can make the hiring process the better your results will be. It’s so easy to mess up hiring, and the cost of getting it wrong is huge – lost time, lost productivity, wasted training budget, damaged team morale, etc. Hiring is not an area where you want to just wing it. For a second stage businesses [with >$750K revenues and >10 employees] it often makes sense to outsource part of the process to get more objectivity. But for smaller businesses that can’t afford this there are things you can do to be more objective.
- Think carefully through the list of qualifications (do the job design) and identify the right kind of person before you start interviews. Make sure you also have a list of things you don’t want and use this to eliminate candidates.
- Use temperament tests (DISC or MBTI),
- Have more than one person in the company interview using the same job criteria as a basis and compare notes (first hire?: ask a friend outside the business to help),
- Call those referrals! Ask insightful open ended questions that get people talking. What kind of job do you think Matt would excel at? (keep it positive).
I can’t tell you how many times employers fall victim to their own biases. For example, you have a job that requires attention to detail. All 20 resumes listed “attention to detail” as a quality. Of course, who doesn’t put that? You ask them if they have attention to detail in the interview, and they say, “absolutely” and tell you a story to back it up. Charming! They’ll be a perfect fit…
But unless you have something more objective, how will you know? They take a temperament test and it shows they are great with people, and love interaction, but struggle with initiative and attention to detail. The test reveals that they would make a great tour guide or activity coordinator at a resort, but will misplace files and drop balls in your business. “But, they interviewed so well” Of course they interviewed well, their people skills are off the charts, but they will crash and burn in that admin role they interviewed for. Use an objective process!
Let’s look at some common hiring mistakes:
Hiring your friend: Sometimes a business owner will hire someone because that person is their friend. If the friend would objectively be great at the job, then that’s fine. However, if you are hiring your friend because they are your friend, or because you feel you owe them or something else like this, you run the risk of hurting your business and losing your friend in the process. Don’t hire just because someone is you friend, or you enjoy their company, or you feel lonely. Buying them coffee is cheaper and you will still have your friend even if the business fails.
Hiring Yourself: I think we all have a natural bias that says, “If I only had more time: or If I could only clone myself…” Sometimes, this bias leads to hiring yourself. By this I mean, hiring someone just like you. This is easier to do than you think. However, it is typically better to staff your weaknesses, and hire someone who is different but complementary. There are exceptions to this. For example, if you are the main rainmaker in your business and you are hiring another salesperson to take over this role, then someone with the same temperament might be a good fit. Just be objective and strategic.
Knowing how to hire well and build your team is an important part of Business Kung Fu