Hire the Right People for the Right Roles
“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Unknown
There’s nothing more important to the success of a company than hiring the right people for the right roles. It isn’t enough to have bright, talented workers if you don’t have them in positions that make the best use of their abilities. You wouldn’t have a soccer team with ten world-class forwards, you need the right balance of defense and offense. The most talented and versatile actor in the world isn’t going to be right for every role they may audition for.
Hiring can also be a costly process; Indeed estimates the average costs for companies falls between $4,000 to $20,000 to hire a new employee, not including salary and benefits. If a role needs to be filled multiple times due to failed hires, the costs will quickly balloon.
Family business owners may take heed: the challenge of filling a role with the right person becomes significantly more challenging when family members enter the talent pool. Owners may find that family members who want to work in the business are not the best candidate for a particular role. Hiring a family member for a role they are unqualified for is a lose-lose situation for all involved; it sets the family member up for failure and may create resentment among the other staff members.
The Hiring Process
So, how does a business owner set out to recruit the best possible person for a job? To find the right candidate, you must first have a clear mandate for the role you want to fill. A few questions to ask key stakeholders when designing a new role or revising an existing one:
- What functions do they need this role to fill? What skills or background are essential to fulfilling these functions?
- Where does this role fit into your organization? Who will they report to, who will report to them, who will they interact and work with regularly?
- What has made previous or current employees successful or unsuccessful in this role?
- What personality traits are important for company culture?
- What kind of background should this person have? Do they need experience in specific industries? Is there a required degree?
Once the position has been fully scoped out, the key next step is establishing a hiring process. If you expect candidates to go through multiple interviews, it is important that each interview covers new ground and provides your hiring team with new information about the candidate. If one interviewer focuses on learning about the candidate’s previous experience and professional goals, another may focus on assessing personality fit, and another may administer a skills assessment. The interview process is not just an opportunity to assess a candidate – it gives the candidate an opportunity to assess you. A robust, thoughtful interview process will reflect your company well and create a strong first impression.
How to Assess Candidates
Assessing candidates can be a daunting challenge – how can you tell from a few hours of interviews that someone will be a long-term fit for your company? What can you identify during the interview process to help you decide one way or the other? A few things you may consider paying close attention to when interviewing:
- How do they talk about their past employers and experiences? This might be you some day, and you want to find someone who speaks diplomatically, even about negative experiences.
- How do you see their personality adding to the culture of the team or the company as a whole? The Beer Question may be a cliché, but it’s worth asking yourself, do you want to spend every day together for the foreseeable future?
- What are they looking for in their next role? If their dream job is wildly different than what you’re offering, or if they’re looking for a two-year gig and you want this person to stay for five-ten years, they may not be a good fit.
- Think of scenarios they may encounter in the day-to-day of the job – maybe even scenarios you face when working with your colleagues. Try to describe the scenarios and ask how they’d handle them – try not to lead them to a specific answer but give them enough information that they can make a decision, and you can learn about how they think.
- An exercise or skills assessment may be necessary depending on the role; this may consist of a more complex version of the scenario-based assessment described above, wherein you ask them to think through complex scenarios and submit a response in writing after the interview. Perhaps you ask them to prepare a deck on a topic, asking them to consider a specific audience.
It is imperative that all interviewers take thorough notes. If something is revealed in one interview that is worth digging into further in a later interview, that should be shared internally. For any red flags that are raised, one must ask: is this a deal-breaker, or do I just need more information? There is nothing wrong with seeking additional information from a candidate or trying to assess concerns during the interview process; this can be hugely beneficial and prevent you from making unpleasant discoveries after hiring someone.
Above all else, the most important aspect of hiring someone is also the simplest: trust your gut. If something seems wrong, dig into it. Use the mandate as your north star to guide your search and stick to it until you find the ideal candidate. In a family enterprise, using these criteria can ensure that you hire the right person for the job – especially if that person is a family member!