Having a great team and a great team environment begins with hiring great employees. And if you’ve been in management for any length of time, you know what can happen when just one person isn’t pulling his (her) weight or making an effort to fit in.
Here are four tips for making sure you bring the right people into your organization:
1. Know what you’re looking for
Don’t just wing it. Have a list of competencies and attributes that you feel the ideal candidate should have.
2. Look for attitude first, skills second
If you find somebody with an amazing attitude, is intelligent and has some aptitude then giving them the skills for the job is the easy part (okay, this might not apply when hiring brain surgeons).
Interview them in a casual spot, perhaps a restaurant or over coffee. Get them talking about areas in which they’re comfortable – their personal lives, their hobbies, their friends and families,etc. This will get them to open up a little. Then listen to clues as to whether they tend to think more negatively or positively. Do they talk about problems or do they talk about solutions? Do they focus on issues and challenges or do they focus on the good things in their lives? Do they appear to be focused on the people around them or do they appear to be focused primarily on themselves?
3. Don’t just hire in your own image
One of the most common hiring mistakes is to just hire intuitively, resulting in employees who share the same attributes and personality type as you. This isn’t always a good strategy. You may, for example, be a very buttoned-down, detail-oriented, analytical person. But are these the characteristics you really want to look for if you’re hiring, say, somebody for a customer service role?
4. ALWAYS check references
Ask them whether they would hire this candidate again if they had the opportunity. If they don’t answer enthusiastically with something like,”in a heartbeat”, that should be a red flag. Ask them, “Based on what you know of this candidate, what do you see their potential in the next five years?” The answer to this will tell you a lot about the candidate’s work ethic and his capacity for learning. Finally, ask them,”If I were to ask other people in your organization the same questions, would they give the same answer?” This will tell you how well this candidate has fit in with their team.