Why I Take Forever to Hire
I’m super excited for Kayla, our new Event Coordinator from Seattle, to join the TGIN Marketing Team. When we hired her, she had just one week to get ready for Essence Fest, and she’s been running ever since. We’re so lucky to have her take this amazing journey with us.
What struck me the most about her was her willingness to fly here from Seattle for our first open house and to meet with the team, as well as her personal follow-up videos with each team member she met with. This kind of passion and willingness to go the extra mile really impressed me and showed me that she was exactly what we needed. These attributes, plus her data analysis skills she gained while working as an analyst for Nordstrom, clearly put her over the top.
As my team and I continue to build our organization, we are looking for people like Kayla who are as passionate as we are. This September, the TGIN team will be working on our core values at our first corporate retreat, and I look forward to seeing what everyone has to say about what they’re looking for in an applicant during the hiring process.
As I become more seasoned as a CEO, I’m realizing that who you hire makes all the difference. At Harvard and while working at a big law firm, I was always taught to hire for grades/skill, but we were never taught the importance of hiring people who bring great chemistry to the team or who have the potential to become leaders within the organization.
Hiring the right person takes time. If anyone you know has ever been hired at TGIN, they will attest that it is a very long process, in some cases six months or longer. We take every individual we hire very seriously, and I think developing our core values will make us even better at selecting the right individuals who fit in with our culture.Still, when it comes to building a great team and hiring the right people, I will say that I’m a work in progress, and I’m committed to getting better. The longer I’m in business, the more I realize that chemistry is everything.
So, here are a few tips I’ve learned to increase your chances of hiring the right person.
1. Determine their skill level: It goes without saying that one of the most important aspects of hiring a new employee is making sure they’re skilled enough for the job they applied for. This can be done by having them take a skills test or by asking industry-specific questions during the interview process. If you’re hiring someone straight out of school with very little experience, ask for their transcripts. That can give you a good idea of what areas they have some knowledge in.
2. Always check references: I’ve overlooked this part in the past and have paid for it handsomely. It’s definitely worth your time to chase down those references to increase the odds that you’re placing a good bet on a new employee. A quality reference will be able to vouch for an applicant’s work ethic and skill level, which could end up saving you from hiring someone who doesn’t truly qualify for the job.
3. Have a drink with them or take them to lunch: Many professionals may not take this route, but meeting with a potential employee in a more casual context can really help them open up more, allowing you to get to know them outside of the office. You’d be surprised how much you can learn about someone from a simple lunch meeting or after-work drink.
4. Go through their social media: This step is becoming common practice among many companies in today’s hiring process. People often show their true colors on social media, a different side of them that they probably won’t show off in an office setting. Feel free to peruse these public accounts to get a feel for how your potential employees represent themselves after hours.
5. See how they respond to tough, uncomfortable questions/situations: During our hiring process at TGIN, we always ask “Would you rather…” kind of questions—Beyoncé or Rihanna? Which Real Housewife would you love to have drinks with? Brunch or drinks? These questions allow us to get interviewees out of their shell and more comfortable in our presence. But asking tougher questions also gives our hiring personnel an idea of a potential employee’s problem-solving skills, and it also shines a light on how they function under pressure. After all, the job won’t always be rainbows and sunshine.
6. Make sure they’ve done their research on what makes your company different from competitors: It’s important that potential employees are knowledgeable about our company, what we do, and how we separate ourselves from the competition. If hired, they’ll be expected to operate within the values, ethics, and guidelines of the company, so it’s imperative that they understand what all of those things look like in the context of our work.
7. Be clear about your values and what you stand for upfront: In addition to making sure that potential employees are aware of the company’s values and ethics, it’s important that you, as the employer, are clear on what those values and ethics are in relation to the company. Let your interviewees know what is expected of your full-time employees, so there are no surprises once they’re hired.
8. Make sure they have the potential to grow within their role and be a leader within the organization:These days, it’s becoming more common for younger employees to move from one job to the next, abandoning the idea of creating a substantial career with just one company. For my company, it’s important that I hire people who are both willing and able to grow within their role and become a leader with us. I want to know that I can trust my seasoned employees to lead a team of newcomers. It also takes away the work of having to train new employees for the same role over and over.
9. Spend time on the front lines: As a CEO, owner, or president of a company, it can be seemingly impossible to meet face-to-face with potential employees when you factor in everything else you need to do for the company. However, it can be very beneficial for both you and your organization if you can decide for yourself if the potential employee is the best person for the job. This time spent away from your ever-growing to-do list may be time-consuming, but it’s absolutely worth the investment.
With all of these tips in mind, you can be better prepared for the ins and outs of the hiring process. While you may feel like you don’t need to implement all of these tips, they could end up saving you and your business both time and money. Although people don’t discuss it often, employee turnover costs companies quite a bit. However, hiring people who stay a long time may end up increasing your bottom line. It could be worth it for your sanity and the welfare of your company to add a few of these practices into your existing hiring process.