Hiring the very best talent can be a difficult and sometime frustrating task. Here’s a rock-solid way to start building a great team.

If you’re like most business owners I’ve met, two of the most difficult and frustrating things that you’ve got to do is hire and fire. Most don’t like to do either. Most don’t consider themselves to be good at either. But here’s the most interesting part – when you do one poorly, you end up doing the other a lot!

There’s got to be a better way, right? The answer – Yes there is!

Here’s a real story (the names have been changed to protect the innocent):

Great Fit leads to a Great Team

John, the business owner, comes into work on Monday morning only to find that Joe has not come in. He calls to make sure that Joe’s ok and he finds out that over the weekend Joe has decided to move to another city where he has taken a new position with another company.

John, frustrated that Joe didn’t give him any notice, is in a very bad mood. Everyone else on the team can tell that John’s having a bad day. He’s on edge, finding fault with everything and everyone, barking out orders and jumping in to take over because he’s decided that “if it’s going to get done right, then I’m just going to have to do it myself”.

His best person steps up and fills in for Joe, but that doesn’t ease the pain. John feels behind the eight-ball. He’s got a busy schedule for the next week or two and he’s convinced that there’s no way the team can get everything done without Joe.

So John does what he does every time this happens. He quickly posts his position on Craigslist and gets 3-4 bites from potential applicants by the end of the day. He takes a quick scan of their resumes. One applicant has worked at a competitor for 6 months, so he assumes she must know how the business works. He gives her a call and does a quick phone interview. She’s nice on the phone and says the right things.  John’s excited that he may have found someone even better than Joe!

John has Julie come in the next day for an interview. She arrives a few minutes late, but better late than never says John. He has a nice conversation with her. She is well spoken and knows the industry lingo. He has found himself a winner! He tells her the pay level and she’s good with it. Julie is confident she can start the next Monday.  John is thrilled!

Monday comes and Julie starts work. John is feeling good about his decision.  It looks like it’s going to work, and it does for a time. But three months later, John gets a call from Julie. She’s found a new job and is giving her 2 week notice.

John is distraught and is convinced that there are no good candidates for his position. But because he’s the business owner, he reluctantly begins the cycle again.  It feels a bit like Ground Hog day to John!

I call this the Easy in, Easy out hiring process!

Sound or feel familiar?  All too often it is.

So what if next time you had an opening on your team you used a different process – one that requires more work on the part of your job applicants and one that gives you more insight into the person you’re going to hire BEFORE you hire them?

I’ve been using this 8-step process with my clients for years and it’s proven to work time and time again. Here’s the step-by-step process for you to follow:

  1. Write your Job Posting with a focus on the Behaviors you expect and need in the position rather than the Skills or Knowledge that is needed. You can ALWAYS train the skills or knowledge but you can’t train the behaviors!
  2. Set up a Job Applicant Hotline – a voicemail box specifically used for incoming calls from prospective job applicants. I use onebox.com. It’s a great tool for this purpose.
  3. Put a recorded message on the Job Applicant Hotline that highlights the position you’re hiring for and ask each applicant to answer 2-3 questions on the voicemail message and ask them to leave their contact information as the 1st step of your application process. The questions can be as simples as “What interested you in this position?” or “What specific skills would you bring to our team?” You’re listening for how they sound, will they follow instructions, etc.
  4. Screen the incoming calls, pick the 6-8 that sound like they would be a good fit for the position, and invite them all in for a Group Interview – the 2nd step of your application process. Doing just this will save you lots of time and wasted effort of looking at resumes or job applications.
  5. Conduct a Group Interview session where ALL of the job applicants come in at the same time. You give them all the company overview (your sales pitch) then ask them a series of questions (everyone gets to answer each of the questions in round-robin format) and them allow them as much time as they need to ask you whatever they want about your business and the position. This should take about 90 minutes. Don’t be too concerned with the questions you ask or the answers you give. You’re looking for attitude, behaviors, interaction skills, body language. This is where the magic happens! You’ll know right away who you’re interested in and who you’re not.
  6. Select the 2 best candidates and invite them for a 1-2-1 interview. Use this as your detailed screening around skills, capabilities, etc. It is best if you can include a co-worker in this process so they get invested in their success.
  7. Have your #1 pick take an assessment test or complete a skills test of some kind. You may also do a background check as part of this process. It is important that they must EARN their right to join your team.
  8. Make an offer to join your team with conditions around performance and team engagement. This gives you a great way to schedule a 3 or 6 month performance review to give them feedback and a glad you’re on the team talk.

I know your initial reaction may be “that’s too much” or “I can’t do that”, but let me assure you – the HARDER you make it to get IN, the HARDER it will be for them to just walk away!

You want your hiring process to be Hard in, Hard out!

So, why not give it a try?  But before you go, leave me a comment below.  What do you think of the 8 step process?  Can you see how it could work for you?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  If you get stuck or need some specific details, just ask me in your comment below and I’ll respond right away.

Ride Hard,

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