“Never hire someone who knows less than you do about what he’s hired to do.” (Malcolm Forbes)
“Great vision without great people is irrelevent.” (Jim Collins)
“Time spent on hiring is time well spent.” (Robert Half)
Great leaders hire great people. But most leaders are impatient and don’t want to spend the time it takes to find the right person for the job. The reality is that your business is best served when you take the time to hire well. Here are a few of my top suggestions:
1.Each new hire is an opportunity to reevaluate the right “fit” for the position. Ask yourself what you’ll miss most about the departing employee. What aspects of the departing employee did you find the most frustrating, and how does that inform your next hire? Ask yourself what traits should be given higher priority, based on the results (or deficiencies) of the employee you’re replacing.
2.Identify the ideal employee for each position. Don’t just fill the chair. Most job descriptions are useless. They offer a general list of tasks that don’t dive deep enough and rarely address personality traits most important to success. Create a profile for your ideal employee that includes what you deem to be key success traits. For each position to be filled, ask the following questions:
- What are my expectations for this position?
- How will I measure satisfactory performance?
- In what ways do I expect the employee to go above and beyond in performing the role? How will I communicate those expectations during the interview?
- Looking at the career progression for this role, does the employee need leadership skills and/or will s/he need to develop them on the job? If yes, discuss these expectations before making a hiring decision.
- Given documented successes and missteps with previous employees in this position, does the job description need to be revised and/or are some tasks better delegated to another person on the team?
- Do I clearly communicate expectations from day one?
- What feedback did I get from the departing employee (or his/her manager) that surprised me?
- How do I need to improve my own leadership skills so that I can be a better role model?
- Am I diving deep enough into technical expertise during the screening and interview process to make sure the new hire has the necessary skill set?
Once you have the ideal profile for the position, here are a few suggestions for filling the position:
3.Establish expectations during the interview and solidify them from the first day of work and every day thereafter.
4.Always ask open-ended questions and make sure the applicant does 80% of the talking.
5.Hold your team accountable for results.
6.Communicate frequently during the first few months and address any issues in-the-moment.
7.Take responsibility for your team’s successes and failures.
When you take the time to hire well, your efforts will be worth it in the long run and your chances of hiring and retaining quality employees will increase.