Hiring Process

Chris SmithsmartPRENEUR Blog Series

Who is your best hire?

Have you ever made a bad hire?

Have you repeated that mistake?

More than once?

Making hiring mistakes are costly to both your business and employees. It’s a time suck, money suck, the onboarding is painful, unemployment payout, the morale of your team, shaken confidence in leadership, retention of your existing staff, and all of the opportunity cost. So how do we mitigate those dangers?

Do you have a specific, documented, process that is used for every new hire? If so, you are likely to reduce the number of bad hires and misfires.

Core Values:

Establish five words/phrases with short descriptions that enable your employees to make amazing decisions. Once you have those in hand, develop 10 questions (two per core value) that allow you to determine if the given candidate is a fit for your team. 

Ideal Team Player:

I am a huge fan of Patrick Lencioni’s Ideal Team Player. It talks about people who are Hungry (Ambitious), Humble (Down to Earth), and Smart (High EQ). It’s a great way to set a baseline for your hires.

How to Hire A Players:

Another great resource is from Eric Herrenkohl. Think about the traits required to be successful in a given role at a given pay rate. Think of five to eight. You can use your favorite employees to define the expression of those traits at an A-Level. Now think of those that you fired and what were their expressions of those traits? Those are your B-Levels. When you are done you’ll have a grid with your traits on the left and a high/low expression for each. Now write three questions per trait that you can ask of a candidate and then score them based on responses. If they aren’t mostly an A, don’t hire them.

Job Description:

I like them to be a breakdown of the categories of the role and duties performed. Each category then gets 3-5 tasks that accomplish the given responsibilities. Include location, salary, benefits, perks, etc. Your goal is to attract the best talent (abundance) not keep information from being public (scarcity).

Resume Review:

Cover Letters are a plus but not required. I love the “Blink Test” when I see the resume. Does it look/feel nice? I have a zero tolerance for spelling or punctuation mistakes. Do they have gaps in employment? Are they a rock hopper (2yrs or less at more than one employer)? Is it easy to see similar experience (teachable) or specific experience (immediate impact)?

Initial Vetting (aka Pre-Interview):

I use Calendly and Zoom linked together. The candidate receives an email with the link and an instruction to book a 30min pre-interview. It’s basically an IQ test. Can they follow the instruction to click the link, enter their info, and book? Then they get a calendar invite, reminder a day ahead, and another reminder an hour ahead. Then they have to show up on time, open Zoom, and have their camera and mic working. Pretty great test for any employee working at a technology company! I have a series of questions I ask to determine if they deserve an in-person interview.

In-Person Interview:

Candidate sits in the room with two interviewers (Direct Manager + Anyone Who Can Read). Each interviewer has the A Player Doc, Questions, and Scorecard. Ask two questions per trait and both interviewers score. When the candidate leaves the interviewers compare score cards. Where they agree, move on. Where they disagree, discuss. Are they an A Player and an Ideal Team Player? If not, they are not worth it. Next!

Profiles (DiSC or other):

Do you use a profile tool? If so, run it now so you can see how they might integrate with others in the department/team.

Skills Assessment:

This will be department specific and may involve written, hands-on, programming, or walking through a document set. Check now, not later!

Field Trial:

Pay them for a day! Take them out to work alongside your team. Test their skills in a real-world environment. You can then better evaluate their technical, teamwork, personality, timeliness, and focus. 

Offer Letter:

Does it feel like a contract or fun? Is it plain English, simple, personal, fair, and full featured? Have it checked by two people.

Pace & Timing:

Be respectful of their time! Cadence is confidence. Follow-up and setting expectations are crucial. If it’s a “No” just tell them. If it’s a “Yes” let them know next steps and timing.

About the Author

Chris Smith

Chris Smith is the Principal and Founder of TheCoTeam. Bringing 20 years of industry experience to the custom installation space, they Coach | Consult | Collaborate with integrators and manufacturers to solve problems and run a more efficient business.

Website:   http://thecoteam.com