Three Steps to Hiring the Right People

As we’ve discussed, a strong team of motivated employees can be the secret weapon for your business’ success. Unfortunately, hiring is also one of the more difficult tasks that a small business owner, or any employer, faces.

Companies like Google are upending the traditional hiring process, and for good reason—the way we’ve set about hiring new employees (putting up a job description, sifting through a pile of resumes, picking a few based on best guesses, then hiring based on a few brief interactions) is inefficient and often ineffective.

Here are three relatively simple steps to incorporate into your hiring process, courtesy of Brian Tracy and Mark Thompson, authors of Now, Build a Great Business!: 7 Ways to Maximize Your Profits in Any Market. Using them will increase the quality and fit of your new hires, and ultimately help your business.

1. Always interview at least three people for any open position. While some big companies won’t make an offer until they’ve met ten or fifteen candidates, for a small business owner with limited time, three is a good standard. Even if you meet a total rockstar in the first or second interview, don’t call it a day. Keep interviewing the candidates you liked in your initial screening. Don’t think of it like a game to try and always top someone—rather, use the interviews as an opportunity to compare the skillsets and personalities of multiple people.

2. Once you meet a candidate you like, interview him/her in three different locations. People act differently in different settings, so moving the second interview location from your office to a coffee shop across the street can reveal a great deal about a candidate. Most job-seekers will be at their very best in the first interview. Meeting them one or two more times will give you an opportunity to get to know them better, and observe them in new settings. Don’t try to “trick” anyone into messing up—rather, look at it as a test. To be successful, many employees need to be able to work with a variety of people in different locations or contexts. Handling themselves well is an important skill.

3. Make sure the candidate is interviewed by at least three people, or the major stakeholders in his/her management. When you’re hiring new employees, don’t forget about your current employees—involve them in the process, particularly if they’ll be accountable for managing the new team member. Having an interviewee meet three or more current staffers is also important because it gives the opportunity to build a consensus on the candidate. The more team members who agree on the selection of a particular candidate, the better chance that the team will have a vested interest in helping the new person be successful.

Not every small business owner can rely on a lengthy or expensive hiring process. But incorporating a few simple best practices into your hiring can dramatically improve your chances of building a powerful and motivated team.