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Posted by on Jan 7, 2013 in Food For Thought, Key Skills, Managing People | 7 comments

Six Tips To Recruit The Best People For The Job

Six Tips To Recruit The Best People For The Job

 

Our most limited resource in life is time. Eventually in our careers, we will need to hire others to help us get things done. You might be hiring your first employee, managing a team, outsourcing to freelancers, or taking in interns. Managing people is effectively getting things done through others and is a simple and complex thing at the same time. Many high achievers struggle when they manage people, but it’s a skill you can learn. I worked at a company where I grew a team of two people into 30 and eventually overlooked three teams of over 70 people. It was one of the most exhausting and rewarding experiences of my professional career so far. We accomplished a lot as a team and I have seen many of them flourish as professionals. I learned a lot about managing people and have distilled it into these key points. They worked really well for me and I hope they do for you.

I organized the recommendations into three categories and will share them in three articles:

Part One: Recruit The Best People For The Job

One of the most important decisions you will make is who to hire into your team. Having the right people on board can make or break your company. A team with the right skills and culture fit is greater than the sum of its parts. Teams with the wrong skill sets and poor culture fit will under perform and frustrate you out of your mind. Here are tips to get the right people on board:

1- Hire up: Look for people who will get things done. Most value-creation in a company is done through implementation. Pick people with enough discipline to roll up their sleeves and get results (not just talkers). Also, look for smart people who will help you figure out how to get things done better (vs. just doing what you ask them to do). If you are hiring a sales person, pick someone who can sell better than you.

2- Set minimum requirements for technical abilities & skills and hire above that. Do not compromise on these standards otherwise you are guaranteed to have performance problems. When I was managing a research team, I was looking for basic business literacy and good language skills. I passed on hiring many talented people who did not meet these minimum requirements. The few times I compromised on these, I ended up wasting a lot of time fixing problems and saw the person struggle under the weight of underachievement.

3- Hire fast learners: You have great expectations for your company. Look for people who will adjust to the work quickly when they join. Later, they should be able to grow and step up to take responsibility from you so you can do the same. If you want to go from manager to executive, get people who can eventually be managers when you move. If you are a business owner, look for someone to eventually run things so you can focus on growing the business, investment opportunities, or starting something else up. If you are irreplaceable, you won’t go forward.

4- Hire people you like: Decide what team culture you want and hire people that fit that mold. You will be spending a lot of time with your coworkers; more time than you will spend with your own family. Make sure you get along as individuals. It’s not just about work. Look for people who hold the same values (e.g. humble, respectful, avid learners, etc). By hiring people you get along with, you will eventually build a team that gets along with each other. There is nothing more draining and annoying for a manager than personal conflict between team members. Trust me on this one!

5- Hire people you can trust: You will entrust your team with many things. Besides the tangible things like money and company assets, you will trust them with intangibles like company reputation. Clients and potential clients are building an impression about your company when they interact with your sales people. Only hire people who will do the right thing even when no one is watching.

6- Hire someone who wants the work: Be clear about what the work entails so they can decide if it fits them. Don’t oversell the job. Quickly avoid anyone who will look down on the work or anyone with a different career path. They will leave you as soon as they get an alternative, even if they like you and the job. For example, I made the mistake of hiring people with a finance background for a general research job. Even after explaining to them that the job involved no financial analysis, they assured me they wanted it. Not surprisingly, they all left within six months to work in… you guessed it… finance. I lost the time, effort, and money invested in training them. More importantly, I had to go back and hire replacements and fell back on my team’s targets. I learned my lesson and started screening out finance resumes before the interview. We even made a joke in the office about my “finance phobia”.

In the second part (Manage Like a Champ), I will share with you tips on how to manage the team effectively. Later in the third part (Evolve Your Team To Greatness), I will share with you tips on how to evolve as a team and clean house on a regular basis.

Have you had experience with or tips on hiring people to share?

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