That may be a little oversimplified. There are many factors you’ll want to consider when hiring someone for your team, but there is one you cannot overlook. We’ll come back to that in a bit…
My Amazon search landed over 4,200 results for books on “hiring.” There is no way you could read every one of them. Even if you read the top ten, you may lose your mind sorting the advice.
This is not an attempt to undermine or replace the advice you may read in those books. I’ve read at least a dozen of them. They’re fine but overcomplicated.
What I offer is one man’s perspective, after over a decade of job fairs and interviews. This is what I found worked best for building my teams.
The rest of the advice, like interview techniques and such, you can research. It won’t matter much. In time you’ll develop your own techniques.
To hire right, build a diverse team. Do it one hire at a time. Know your weaknesses, then fill in your gaps, but only hire people you trust.
With diversity, we’re not necessarily talking about considerations like heritage or gender, but that’s the easiest way to create diversity. You want to look out at the faces of your team and see a wide scope of colors and genders looking back.
Diversity empowers your team with a robust perspective if you keep them engaged in your business.
The first objection against diversity is that one should hire the right person for the job. I couldn’t agree more. There is no value in diversity above other considerations, except when you can rate all other hiring attributes as similar between candidates.
The differences in what most hiring managers tend to use to rank their candidates, like education, talents, skills, I’ve found, matter less than we think.
I spent years hiring for minor differences of talent, skills or education, only to discover how little those things mattered in the long run. There were far more important considerations at play.
Don’t be silly. Set benchmarks. If the job requires math, then your candidate should be able to add, but don’t let minor variances that mark deter you from hiring the most diverse candidate.
To fill your gaps in talent, you have to first know where are your holes?
The first hardest part about this is looking deep into the mirror. You start with your own opportunities then you work your way through your team.
You may, for example, be a good salesman but terrible with organizational skills. In that case, you would hire support players who can give your business structure.
Then look at your team. Do you have a team full of go-getters, but nobody with insight? Hire some introverts or creative people.
Teach your direct reports who have direct reports of their own to do the same. If you manage leaders, you want them hiring the same way. That way your spread of talent on your org chart is as thorough horizontally as it is vertical.
This is the big one. Salespeople know that, when given a choice, people only buy from those like like and trust.
I would argue that it’s more simple than that. It’s more about trust, because even if they like you if another doesn’t trust you, that’s it. There is no deal. Without trust, we are willing exchange little in the way of money, goods or even thoughts.
We do this in our personal relationships too. There are people we like, maybe because they are entertaining, but if we don’t trust them, that person will never get close. He or she will never get anything of value, money or otherwise.
You can, in fact, work with people you don’t like, but if you don’t have trust, the relationship will never grow.
What you will find, is that if you trust a person, even if you don’t share all the same interests, you will learn to like someone you trust. It all starts and ends, with trust.
Arriving at a point where you know you can trust someone is a complicated conversation, one for another blog, but you can start with your best perceptions. Do the best you can with what you have. You will get better over time.
The best perspective I’ve found on hiring was from Jack Welch in his book, Winning, where he talked about the process of developing your hiring skills.
I’m paraphrasing, but he opined that this is one of the first tasks you will have as a new manager. It will also be the skill that takes you the longest to develop. Over time you will make fewer mistakes.
I would add, that your margin of error will only improve somewhat, so give yourself a break. Start by hiring people you trust.