If you hire without discipline, you’ll regret it


‘How to hire well’

I’m going to show you the wrong way and the right way.

This is the wrong way.

  1. Thank f$*&.
  2. You seem great.
  3. You’re hired.

And I’ve written a little bit like this:

  1. “You seem great. I really need a carpenter. Are you a carpenter? Happy days!”
  2. “How much do you need me to pay you? – I can afford that. Happy days! “When can you start? Next week? Happy days!
  3. “I’ve solved my problem. I’ve filled a hole in the team. I’ve hired a person everything’s going to be fine.”

Now I’m taking the piss, but not very much I don’t think. I sit here time and time again my clients and people I come and talk to, hire on a very informal basis.

We take the word of somebody who introduced us that they’re a good guy. We take their word that they’re a good guy, that they’re experienced and skilled. And often what happens is we’re disappointed down the track.

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They don’t have the skills or the experience that we thought or that they suggested they’ve got. They don’t really have the right attitude that you want in our team. And they’re not a cultural fit for us. And what happens is of course, it’s your fault because you didn’t check properly.

You were so excited about fixing your problem so that you can move on and get on with your business that you blinded yourself to those problems and faults and mismatches and you just went ahead and did them anyway.

We’ve all done it. It’s very easy to do. And in fact hiring is one of the most difficult things for us to do as business owners. I’ve hired badly in the past and have been disappointed. And I’m sure you have too.

What we really need to do is THIS.

And I’ve written it down for you. (This is you shaking hands by the way).

The right way to hire (and you’re going to hate this because it’s long-winded, it’s a bit boring) but frankly you wouldn’t go and build a house without doing some preparation work.

You shouldn’t hire people on whom your business is dependent, without doing some preparation work.

So this is what you should do:
  • Write a job description down, write down what they have to do:
    • What they have to be responsible for
    • How they and you will know if they’re doing a good job
    • What their success measures are:
      • No defects
      • On time and on budget
      • Customers not hating them and complaining
      • Turning up on time

Write what you think good applicant would be like.

Alright a good carpenter. (We’ll stick with the carpenters for the minute)  

  • Good at carpentry (it’s a good start isn’t it)
  • Good at communicating
  • Good at reading plans
  • Good at taking ownership of the desired outcome
  • Good attention to detail
  • Team player
  • Somebody who fits within the culture of the business that we’ve got and thinks it’s a good culture and wants to be part of it.

We call them soft skills. You know those things in a person that really make us know whether they’re kind of into it and are going to be good to have around or whether they are lazy, clock watchers who just want to go home. That kind of thing. Okay?

Write those down. Have a think about how you can figure out whether someone has those attributes. You can’t just ask them because they just say yes apparently.

  • You need to advertise the job and the fact that you want these attributes, and these attitudes in somebody.
  • You need to screen all their resumes – read through them, decide who’s good and who’s bad.
  • You need to interview people.
  • And you need to interview and ask them if they’ve got the skills and the attributes that you want.

And you need to kind of ask questions that test whether they’ve got those attributes.

A nice way to do it is say: “Tell me about a time you did one of those things.”

Tell them: “Give me a nice story about how you were a good communicator, a time you communicated well on-site, in a work environment. Tell me about a time you made sure that you got the job got done right and how you helped stuff like that.”

And the final one, you’ve got to check their references. If you don’t check someone’s references and they turn out to turn out not to be everything they said, you’ve only got yourself to blame, really, haven’t you? Because you could have found out that they were nothing like that, that they didn’t have a good attitude, they weren’t good communicators and they didn’t pay attention to detail.

And so when you’ve done all that, you can hire.

I’ll make a few points for you that might make this sound a bit less overwhelming.

  1. I can help. If I’m your business coach I can help you write job descriptions, pick what the attributes are, write job adverts.
  2. You can also outsource the bulk of this after about here to recruitment consultants. They’ll do lots of the ad writing, lots of the screening, and lots of the interviewing for you to take away all that time (because I know time’s not your friend), and present you with a couple of suitably qualified candidates for you to interview at the end. They’ll check references as well.

So you don’t have to do it all yourself. It does feel overwhelming, you don’t have to do it all yourself You can get other people to do it. Of course they cost money.

And of course…

I’ll be talking about this more, and about how to select the right people, and how to set the right culture, and how to be a leader and the manager because it doesn’t end once you’ve hired somebody good. You still have to do all those things. You have to lead them, manage them, train them, and set a culture that they can be a part of.

I’ll be talking about all that in my workshop in Byron, in August the 26th and 27th.

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