Secrets to Hiring Great Employees

When the time comes to hire a new employee, most small business owners and managers look at the tasks they want the person to do, then look for someone who knows how to do those tasks. Typically, they pick the person who looks best on paper and does well in the interview, at the price they feel they can afford. It isn’t until after that person starts working that they finally find out whether they made a great or a horrible hiring decision.

I experienced that first hand in the first business I started in 1985 which eventually evolved into a computer dealership. Unfortunately, we were a software company and had no hardware expertise during a time when home and desktop computers were just entering the market. I made a hiring mistake that eventually caused the demise of that business, but I never forgot the lesson I learned about blindly believing what a job seeker told me.

From that point on, when I met a potential employee who felt good to me, I would hire them for a couple hours of work and pay them for their time. I was able to witness how quickly they caught on, how fast and accurately they performed the tasks and their style of working. The first time I tried this, the person stayed for seven years and was an exceedingly competent person and an asset to my business. I also did that with my current employee.

Hiring an applicant for a few hours also gives you the opportunity to see how well the potential hire resonates with everyone already on board. That information could save tens of thousands of dollars, because one wrong hire can wreak havoc on your staff, customers and entire business.

But those experiences also taught me that before I can find the right person, I must be clear about who that person is. Beyond the tasks, skills and knowledge they need to perform the job, there are other more important things to discover:

  1. Are they excited about your vision and mission?
  2. Do they share your values?
  3. Do they treat all people with respect and kindness?
  4. Are they upbeat, open and flexible and work well with others?
  5. Do they take pride in a job well done?

Don’t forget to consider how well they will fit in to your work culture, environment, industry and temperament. You are looking for a person who will embrace and enhance your business.

When you’re ready and know exactly the type of person you want and what you expect them to accomplish, then you’ll be better prepared to recognize the “right” person when they show up. For every job there is a person dreaming of doing that job. That’s who you are looking for, because they tend to make the best employees.

Otherwise, if you hire the wrong person, the work may get done, but the work environment won’t be relaxed, fun, creative and as productive as it could be. Hiring the right person can make all the difference in the world.

But hirer beware: when you hire the right people, you hire talented, capable, relatable people who are an asset to your business. So treat them with respect and give them the space to do what you hired them to do so you don’t lose them.

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