The Right Stuff: A Six Part Hiring Strategy

“The key for us, number one, has always been hiring very smart people.”
– Microsoft founder, Bill Gates

Many hiring decisions will inevitably affect the success and performance of the overall organization, especially if the position wields significant functional impact and budgetary responsibility. For new employees to help achieve your goals and to find satisfaction and reward for themselves, personnel selections must be strategic, thoughtful, consistent and well-informed.

Here are six considerations that should prove helpful in selecting the right people:

  • Insist on an Investment Return. In any business environment – corporate, or entrepreneurial – the only reasons for hiring are to expand business and get a return on investment. It is essential that the new person can produce a minimum return of at least three times the position’s annual expense. If the position lacks that potential return its importance and value should be seriously questioned.
  • Make all Hiring Part of an Organic Process. Every hiring decision should be made in alignment with the overall strategy of the CEO and senior management. Every job should bolster that strategy in its design and function. The organization will only succeed to the extent that everyone supports the same goals and vision.
  • Hire a Winner – or Don’t Hire at All. The objective of the recruitment process is not to hire somebody, but to select a person capable of producing the desired business results. Never allow the pressure to fill a critical post to force your hand. Moreover, it is always best to “hire up, not down.” A subordinate should have greater (not lesser) specific knowledge than you, in his or her particular field. There are no great generals without great armies.
  • Hire Proven Behavior and Results. The best predictor of job performance and potential is the candidate’s portfolio of actual behaviors and accomplishments. Define the behaviors best suited for your vacant position and probe for evidence of those behaviors in the candidate’s life and work experiences.
  • Look for ‘Fire in the Belly’. You don’t want to simply settle for someone to fill a key position, nor do you want the person you choose to simply settle for you. Some candidates will accept offers because their industry is hurting, their previous company failed or they lack other prospects. Neither skill nor past history will make up for a lack of enthusiasm, excitement and commitment. Find people who burn to be on your team.
  • Be Competitive. Second rate positions, remuneration, conditions, and terms only attract second rate employees. You would not offer an undervalued or overpriced product in the marketplace-the same goes for your position. Analyze it in the same way that you would analyze a product for its competitiveness and craft your offer accordingly.

Hiring is a high-stakes activity. Bad hiring decisions consume vital resources, fail to produce appropriate returns, result in missed opportunities, waste time and effort, and ultimately force you to repeat the recruitment process again. Good decisions, which include acting on the ideas above, will help you and your new employee to advance the organization’s goals and to satisfy your respective needs.

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