A conversation I often have with founders is when and how to start building a team. It is scary as hell to bring new people into a small organization. The wrong fit can kill the momentum of a brand and destroy a company’s culture. It should be scary, it is for me. But, that fear cannot be allowed to stop you from adding the needed skills and bandwidth to your team.
Your focus must be on how to de-risk your investment. One way of course, is financial. That, however, is not the subject of this article but should be a part of your hiring strategy.
I’d like to use the balance of this blog to explore how you can de-risk the less tangible aspects of a hire. Variables such as personality, idiosyncrasies, motivators, and more.
Larger organizations utilize tools like DiSC Profiles and Strengths Finder. They have professional HR teams to screen and conduct initial interviews. Guess what, they still make a ton of hiring mistakes. In my opinion, there are no sure-fire solutions that guarantee the success of an employee. There are some tactical steps I can suggest for mitigating the hiring risk.
1. Have a clear well-crafted job description
Preparing this will help you to understand what it is that you really are hiring for as well as communicating the expectations, essential functions, and success metrics to the candidate.
2. Communicate in at least four different ways
If I am bringing someone on to the team, I want to know how they communicate. I don’t think it’s enough to simply have a sit-down chat or interview. In today’s world, that’s the least frequent way in which we share information. Make sure to engage them in an email, text, and phone conversation. How they communicate on those platforms is as, if not more, important than in a face-to-face situation.
3. Have them talk to customers
If the position is customer facing, there are no better judges as to their capacity to nurture and build relationships then the customers themselves. If possible, set up a few calls with some key players whose feedback you value. You will get insight directly from the folks the employee will be engaged with daily.
4. Trusted advisors
We all have trusted advisors, people close to us and our businesses whose opinion we respect. Let them have a conversation with the candidate. Not only will you get some additional insight, the candidate can also learn a bit more about you through the eyes of another.
5. Take your time
Lastly, don’t rush. This is a big step and an important relationship. While often we enter the hiring process with a sense of urgency, it doesn’t always work in our favor. Take time to build the relationship. Getting to know one another might slow things down but, it could save a lot of heartache for both parties.
Before I wrap this up, one small disclaimer. Since I am not an HR professional and we live in a litigious society, make sure to seek some guidance on the do’s and don’ts of the hiring process.
Hiring people is scary but it is a good thing. The need to do so is the result of growth and opportunity. There should always be some fear and trepidation when making a new hire. It is a big decision. The key is to have good processes in place that help to mitigate the risk. Happy hiring.