• Matt Black

The 4 Keys to Making Great Hires

The late Steve Jobs once said, “hiring the best is your most important task.”

While I admit this seems like straightforward advice, it’s amazing how many companies struggle to find the right pieces to complete their hiring puzzle.

Puzzles really are an accurate analogy to use when describing any organization’s HR efforts, large or small.

In order to end up with a finished product (thriving, successful enterprise), you have to make sure that each piece (employee) you place on the table (select or hire) fits the overall layout (strategy).

Just like any puzzle, if you don’t have the right pieces, or try to put the wrong pieces in certain spots, you’re never going to achieve your intended results. Sadly, it’s quite common to see square pegs being forced into round holes and for new hires to flame out not long after being brought onboard.

So, how do you avoid doing just that? What can you do to ensure you make the right choices when it comes to hiring?

Well, start here:

Know Your Team Inside (& Out)

While you’ll need your whole team pulling in the same direction to end up on top, it only takes one bad seed to derail your progress.

That’s why truly knowing your team is maybe the most important aspect of the hiring decisions you make.

Their personalities. Their work habits. Their personal beliefs. And about a million other nuances that factor in to your team’s makeup.

But all of these things matter when you’re considering a new addition. ‘Cultural fit’ is not just a trend or buzzword that you can afford to ignore.

What are your existing employees hoping for in a new colleague? How will the incumbent be received? Who is going to take the new addition under their wing and ensure a smooth transition?

Having your finger on the pulse of your team’s heartbeat can make or break these early days and weeks for your new hires.

Know Your Needs

While much of today’s hiring process is candidate-centric, you can’t forget that you’ve got needs too.

What are the non-negotiables when it comes to anybody looking to join your ranks? Are there any, aside from making sure that the candidate has the right combination of skills, experience and personality?

Have you spent enough time determining what problems you need your new hire to solve?

It’s critical that you have a razor-sharp understanding of why you’re bringing this new person in and what problems they will help you solve once they’re onboard. Otherwise, they’re left listless and unclear on how they can make a difference out of the gate, and your team might also feel like their new colleague wasn’t the right choice.

Understanding what the needs of the team and organization are will also dictate how you select candidates to interview. This alone can shape the entire process in either a positive or negative way. If you aren’t sure on the type of person you need for the role you’re looking to fill, it’s going to be tough sledding right from the start.

Have clear, definitive criteria for what and who you need to improve your chances of a successful hire.

Set the Stage

Everyone has their own ideas on how candidates should be screened, interviewed, onboarded, etc.

And truth be told, there’s no definitive right or wrong way… it all comes down to what you’re comfortable with.

From my perspective, using ATS systems (which weed out certain resumes using pre-screening questions and algorithms) and stock interview questions (often prescribed by HR) is costing you great candidates.

But we’ll save that for another time.

Once your candidate has been selected, it’s showtime from that point on… not once they arrive at the office for their first day, but right from the minute they sign their contract or agree to join your company.

Arm them with as many resources as you can to get them up-to-speed on your organization, their new role and the team. Setting the stage like this can help drive engagement even before your new hire gets started.

Hit The Ground Running

Your team is excited, you’ve found the right person for the job and they’ve already shown off some skills during the first few days around the office.

So how come they won’t have a laptop for another week or two? Why didn’t anybody take the time to walk them around for a proper introduction? What do you mean there’s no set-in-stone orientation or training provided?

The basics can’t be neglected if you expect your new hires to sing your praises to everyone who asks them how their new job is.

Once you’ve afforded your new addition a few days to get their feet under them, it’s so important that you take the time to establish clear expectations and make sure they have projects or tasks to get going on.

Obviously there will be a learning curve or some time needed to get up-to-speed.

But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have the tools, support and direction to try and make an impact right away.

How do you approach hiring these days? Are there any tips or tricks you can share that might help those struggling to find the right people for the right jobs? Please take a second to sign up so you can share your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section below and stay up-to-date as we post new content.

Also, feel free to drop me a tweet @mattblackink and let me know what you think!


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