How do you pick a great team? I’ve read a lot of advice on the topic and have had a lot of entrepreneurs on the Business is ART podcast have weighed in as well.
I Call “BS”
One of the prevailing thoughts is hire to culture because you can teach the individual the skills. Another is to hire to culture, then organize around the skills of each individual.
To each of these suggestions, I call “BS!”
I’ve been responsible for teams as small as 3 people (including myself) and as large as 700+. Even on the small teams, the above advice does not work.
Culture is Important – However
Let’s back up a bit. I do – strongly – agree that hiring to company culture is important with one very strong caveat. The culture cannot be discriminatory. Not only is it illegal and immoral, it’s also not very smart. If all you do is hire “mini-you’s”, all you end up with over time is the same, old, tired ideas and ways, resulting in too many missed opportunities to count.
So don’t hire clones of yourself, but do hire people that you can get along with. As a colleague and friend of mine once told me, “In life, there are so many assholes I have to deal with. Why would I choose to work with one if I have a choice?”
7 Steps to Hiring a Great Employee
Here are a few steps to consider when choosing a team:
- Clearly define the positions. A good job description includes meaningful job title, experience and education level, expectation of duties and hours and what you expect the role to actually produce. Don’t just say you need help, and then hire someone because they are a warm body.
- Clearly define the organization structure based on functional needs of the organization. Do this without putting names in boxes.
- Post or advertise your job opening based on the above. Don’t even talk about culture. Different words mean different things to different people. Attempting to draw great candidates by describing your culture in a few words may turn away some great candidates.
- Pre-screen candidates based on their response to the job posting – cover letter and resume.
- Conduct an initial interview over the phone. Use this one as the test for whether or not you can get along with the individual. Why over the phone? Don’t waste your time and theirs with an in-person interview.
- If you enjoy the phone conversation and the skills are there, that’s when you have the in-person 2nd
- If you find yourself saying, “I really like the candidate a lot. He/she isn’t qualified for the job, but, I think I can teach them what they need to know,” stop. Just stop. You want to know this person will be successful under your employ. It’s not fair to your business and it’s not fair to the individual to make the hire if they don’t fit and they don’t have the skills you need.
Pick a Team for the Future
Another colleague once gave me some advice that makes a lot of sense as well. Don’t just hire the person based on their ability to do the job today. Hire them based on their ability to adapt to how the job will change over the next several years.
Sometimes just talking out big decisions is extremely helpful. Contact me and let’s discuss how and if I can be of assistance. Good luck!