Employees Listening to Presentation

Nothing—I repeat—nothing will affect your business more than the people you add to your team. Your competitors can imitate all your systems and processes, offer the same products or services but they can’t clone your people. (Not yet anyway.)

There are two overarching hiring philosophies. You can either:

  1. Hire smart
  2. Hire fast

The first creates a team with A-players who can help drive your company to the next level; the latter just fills the seats.

After 20 years of hiring, and when necessary firing, team members, I can tell you that taking time to find A-players is the only way to go if you want to grow your company or team.

A-players by definition are the top 10 percent of talent available for the job and dinero you’re offering. The best at what you need for your business.

Here are three steps to avoid the B and C-players:

  • Take your time – when I’m working with a business owner or manager in this area the first question I ask is: How much time, on average, do you spend interviewing, testing and researching a candidate before you hire him or her? Most say five hours or fewer.

That’s scary. In selecting a new team member, you’re choosing someone you may spend more time with than members of your family; someone you’ll spend thousands of dollars training and maintaining; someone who will influence your business’s financial security. If I haven’t made my point yet, maybe this next one will hit home:

In choosing a new team member, you’re picking someone you may share a toilet seat with. Take your time!

I recommend doubling the time you spend hiring. In my personal experience, and in my work facilitating with entrepreneurs, that’s what it takes to make a positive difference.

  • Standardize your hiring process – Through the interview process find answers to three questions: Can the candidate do the job? Will he or she do the job? Is he or she a fit in your company’s culture? Brainstorm with your team to develop a list of interview questions that will help you discover if the candidate fits all three criteria.

Once you and your team have pinpointed the best questions, write them down and split them into two categories: phone or face-to-face interview questions.

A phone interview is a great 10-minute pre-screening step that will save you hours of face-to-face interviews with B and C-players.

Once a candidate progresses to the face-to-face stage, make sure he or she meets multiple members of your team. You need input to make this decision and the candidate needs to get to know your team to make his or her decision.

The last interview phase is shadowing. Invite the candidate to follow one of your team members around for a few hours of the day. Be vague with what is expected, don’t instruct or have an itinerary. An A-player will navigate his or her way through.

  • Create a standby or bench list – Baseball teams have the minor leagues, businesses have the standby or bench list; pre-qualified A players who are ready for hire as soon as a position opens up. This is especially useful in an industry with high turnover or promotion.

Don’t wait until you have an open position to interview candidates, rather constantly interviewing. One caveat: let the candidates know about your system before they come in for an interview for a job that’s not open, that’s only fair.

Hiring the right team members is one trait of leadership that is most often overlooked but affects so much of your business. It’s not easy finding A-players, but it’s easier than being surrounded by a team C-players, guaranteed.


To get a copy of my detailed hiring process, email me at andy@petracoach.com.

Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/scords/5657582794/”>ScoRDS</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>