Your business is only as good as the people who work for you and their ability to execute. In short, your team makes the difference between success and failure. If you don't believe this you probably need an ego check, or you've done a really poor job of recruiting, hiring, and training.
If you've passed your self-assessment ego test then it's time to start considering how you go about the process of attracting and hiring new talent, perhaps the biggest competitive advantage (or disadvantage) in your industry.
Yes, you have great products and services
Yes, you have great systems and processes
Yes, you work your ass off and drive your business forward
No, you can't do it yourself
No, poor employees won't help you get you get where you want to go either
If you really want to drive your business forward, you have to hire great people who will also work well together.
If you've hired and managed people for any length of time you understand how difficult and volatile the entire process can be. You've most likely made some mistakes in the past and fear you'll make more in the future. Maybe you've looked into tools to make the job easier, after all improving your results can represent a huge competitive advantage.
6 Steps to Making Better Hiring Decisions
1. Define the role & responsibilities
It may seem silly to list, but every hiring cycle I hear candidates talk of the frustration they felt at previous jobs because they weren't clear on responsibilities. Understanding what their role on the team will be, what they will be expected to produce to be successful, and how their contribution ties to the overall success of the organization is critical to production.
As a growing Denver marketing firm our roles and responsibilities are constantly changing. Our small team has new tasks to complete every month, and new clients means more and more to get accomplished. Without tools like a company scoreboard, team dashboards, and the 4 Disciplines of Execution to organize our tasks, keeping people aligned would be extremely difficult. If you're not using tools like this you should, and my friend Steve at 98-2 Enterprises can help you implement.
2. Build a team job model
I've become a big proponent of job modeling over the last couple years and I wish I would have understood the tools and application 7 years ago while managing for Pugs Inc. It's important to understand your existing team, especially if you're about to throw a new member into the mix.
Think of the LA Lakers this year, just because you can add two 'all star' players to your lineup doesn't mean you should. Has anyone else made two great players look as bad as Kobe made Howard and Nash look this year? The sum of the whole was much lower than the sum of the individuals, don't make the same mistake when you seek free agents.
We believe team and culture are critical to our success. The last thing I want to do is try to blend in a 'resume' instead of a 'person', missing the fact that if the person can't flourish on our existing team their skills means very little.
3. Build a hiring persona
Why not take a page from your best resources and apply it to your hiring process? The concept is really pretty simple, take your best employee(s) in any department and dig deeper into their strengths and qualities. Build an ideal candidate profile based on the people who've been most successful in that role.
What is their kinetic energy level and how do they react under stress? Do they have high extroversion or low extroversion? Have employees with high dominance caused problems in the past with your or the team? Do they work at a steady, plodding pace or require high pace atmosphere with lots of change and opportunity? Put the data together from your very best and build the prototype for future hires.
4. Run a personality profile on final candidates
Much of the information detailed above will be featured in a good personality profiling tool. You've likely heard of many of the largest but I'm here to tell you from experience that PDP in Colorado Springs is one of the finest. The screens are quick and easy for the candidates, and the report is unbelievably insightful compared to the seemingly limited data set.
The PDP scans help you understand who your candidates and employees really are in their priority environment. Insight into how they're motivated, react under stress, and other great predictors are included. It doesn't score or grade people like many profiles, and you can build job models and match them to ideal roles. If you want to check it out let me know, I'll send you a free demo and you can have your own PDP report pulled for free.
5. Match your candidate profiles to team job model
You've built a job model and you've scanned your best candidates. Now put them all next to each other and start cross referencing. Compare the strengths of your team with the strengths of your candidates. Which candidate aligns the closest with your employees? Which candidate might add a needed style or strength your team needs to improve?
One example lies in the goals for our marketing firm. All of our team members are digital citizens, students of the digital marketing age and active on social platforms. We're all extroverted, have high energy, work at a fast pace, and flourish with change. For the most part anyway. One of the attractive points I drew from a recent PDP (and hire) for Inbound Coordinator was his analytical strengths.
Solid analytical skills are something I felt our marketing company needed so when everything else checked out I jumped at the chance to add a team member that blended well with the strengths we all possess and also complimented us with his unique skills. The hire helped us fill a hole and get stronger as a team, without capsizing the boat in the process. Job modeling in action.
6. Build a win-as-a-team, lose-as-a-team environment
This is a bonus tip, you already have enough to make better hiring decisions. Just don't forget how to work them into the team and keep them motivated. The bonus here is getting everyone to compete together, not against each other.
The problem with most sale incentives and monthly performance reporting is that it does the opposite. It sets peer against peer in a win or lose scenario. The results are often more negative than positive, with many of the competing resources feeling mistreated and unsatisfied with no hope of winning.
When done right, the whole team can 'win', and win often. My advice is to set up goals for the company. Then set goals for each department that clearly contribute to the company's goals. Then establish the activity needed to reach the goals (lead measures) and the periodic results that show progress (lag measures). Then hold weekly cadence meetings where the results are totaled over all team members. Our Denver marketing firm either wins or loses every week on each measurement, they pick each other up and make adjustments on the fly to improve results for the next meeting.
The results have been impressive for Revenue River, I hope you're able to find similar successes with your organization. If you want to go deeper into these topics, quit thinking about it and just reach out!