By Laura Wallace | March 8, 2018
Whether you’re adding your first employee or your 50th, adding the right person in the right role is paramount to your culture and growing business. Ever heard the saying “one bad egg can throw the whole cart?” This is so true in the workplace. While you can teach skills, particularly ones that are specific to your industry or workplace, you cannot teach personality. You can’t change someone who someone is, so even if their resume is the greatest thing since sliced bread, if they don’t feel like a natural fit for your culture, wait for someone who is.
I’m a stickler when it comes to hiring. I manage a small but full of life team. Our culture at Worx is unique and personality and receptiveness outweighs the ability to design. Design is our core and we’re always looking at portfolios and how people present themselves. But if they’re the best designer on the planet but have a crappy attitude, no thank you. I’d prefer to bring in someone who has core skills, room to grow and feels like they’ve always been here.
We have a hiring process that has taken years to get down to a science. I’m happy to share this so you can get to your next Mr. or Mrs. Right faster – getting you and your team the help that’s needed. Take this as a guide. What worx (ha, see what I did there?) for us may not work for you and that’s 100% ok. Here are a few things to prep before starting the hiring process:
- What is the role? – First and foremost, you must identify what role you need to fulfill, what duties they will serve and how that impacts the team they’ll be working with. Look at pressure areas. What does your team need help with? What can be delegated? What is a struggle to get done that someone could make their primary focus?
- Who is part of the hiring process? – Who in your organization will be involved in hiring? We have several sets of interviews. It starts with me receiving and choosing which candidates I’d like to bring in. Amber and I then perform the second interviews and then the entire team interviews the final candidates. We get the entire team involved because our culture depends on it.
- What is the job description? – Writing a job description that sounds like your company is paramount. Think about the brand tone you use in marketing. Write a description that feels like your normal way of doing business. If you’re fun and relaxed, write that way. If you’re quirky, write that way. If this is a serious role, write in an elevated manor. This gives the candidate a first look at what it’ll be like to work with your company.
- Are you setting expectations? – In the job description it’s also helpful to talk about expectations. What do you need them to do? Are there deal breakers you can spell out? Are there characteristics of personalities or strengths you’re looking for (we use Gallups Strengthsfinder to identify core strengths needed)? What are your company’s core values, mission and purpose? Is there room to grow, do you invest in ongoing leadership training, etc.
- Where are you advertising the role? – Think about the role you want to fill and where those people are searching for jobs. Social media, print media and online job sites like Indeed are all places to consider. Don’t be afraid to post on multiple platforms to reach a broader audience.
Now that you’ve laid the groundwork, it’s time to collect the interest. Set a deadline for when you’ll accept applications so that you can keep momentum and set internal expectations for when help is near.
Perform your first interviews
- create a checklist of what you’re looking for
- what are your no-budge qualifications?
- what are you willing to bend on?
- what’s a deal breaker?
- who best fits the job requirements?
Once you’ve chosen your top candidates, schedule time for them to come in for a first interview. Make sure to build in enough time for each person and so you have a little downtime between them including a lunch break. Be prepared by having a list of questions that pertain to your company and the role. Bonus points if people use terms or phrases from the job description or from your website. That tells me they’ve done their homework.
Narrow down your candidates
- From your first round of interviews, narrow it down to your top 2-4 candidates
- Send the Gallops Strengthsfinder test
- Compare your required skills to the test results
- Send follow-up skills tests
- Introduce top candidates to existing team they’ll be working with
In the second interview process, we send the Strengthsfinder test. This gives us an insight on what their core skills are and then we compare it to the desired roll strengths. For instance, if you need someone who is a heavy executor but their skills come back as a stronger strategic thinker, they may not be the best fit. Once we’ve narrowed down the right people, whether it’s one or three, we bring those people back in for a second interview. Here, I talk less and let the team chime in. They’ll be working with this person more frequently than I will and ensuring there is natural chemistry and openness is invaluable.
Get out of the office
- Have an informal final interview
- Here you’re looking at personality matches
- Get to know them outside of work talk
For our final interview round, we like to have an untraditional interview. We get everyone out of the “work zone” and into “human zone.” The entire team goes bowling, putt-putt golfing or some other physical activity that isn’t sitting and just talking. People are naturally intimidated by the interview process so this allows everyone to relax and talk freely. We don’t usually ask work-related questions here. We’re talking about life, hobbies, favorite foods and whatever other shenanigans we can think of.
By this point you should have a solid idea who your ideal candidate is. This may seem like a long process but hiring the wrong fit takes longer and costs more not only to your bottom line but with your existing team. One of my mentors once told me, “Hire slow, fire fast.” By investing the time up front in a new hire, you’re more likely to find the right fit versus the fastest fit. These people tend to stay longer and become invested in your company and their new role. It also sets the tone with your existing team that you’re not willing to bring someone in for the sake of getting it done but truly invest in your company’s culture and growth.