Things may not look very promising right now, but elevate your spirits and start to believe the future will bring a stronger economy and all the benefits associated with it. As business improves, employment swells and people with hiring skills will have the responsibility of getting the right person for the right job. Managing that is not easy. Talent is important in the hiring process but there is much more to consider: independence, personality, intelligence, compatibility and your own instincts. Hiring the right people, perhaps the holy grail of leadership skills, is a never-ending challenge and a constant learning experience. To offer insight on getting the right people “on board,” I garnered five of the most incisive statements made by entrepreneurs and small business owners and present them for you to mull over.
1. Decisions, decisions, decisions. Hire people who can make them. This is a critical attribute in an employee and when it’s lacking, you have a dependent worker. People who make decisions don’t need to be managed; they grasp ideas quickly and become fluent in company practices. The decision-maker usually rises in the ranks and eventually becomes a company executive. One entrepreneur said, “I always hire people who are smarter than I am. It can initially be a blow to the ego, but it pays off in the long run.” It’s the honey or the money.
2. Don’t overlook the importance of personality. The outgoing applicant who is poised throughout the interview and exudes confidence in his or her ability to perform in the open position is usually a fast learner. Since no one can be certain about any candidate’s performance on the firing line, the odds on picking a winner are shortened with a personable prospect. One CEO explained, “Personality is the key for me. I prefer someone with the right personality and not so talented, to someone talented with the wrong personality. I want to build a ‘friendly environment’ to develop big and strong ideas.” There is no positive growth in a negative atmosphere.
3. Have the courage to hire someone who is smarter then you, like the entrepreneur mentioned earlier. That is an investment in the future. The president of a flooring company commented, “Good leaders develop talent and aren’t afraid to shine the spotlight on or give credit to a team member. Insecure leaders take the credit for themselves. Being a good leader may mean hiring and developing someone who is even better than you.” That’s a tall order. First, you must find someone better than you and then you must admit it to yourself, and if your ego is sturdy enough for that shattering news, you can be the proud producer of a protégé, a person eager to receive your guidance, training and support.
4. Look for people who fit in, but stand out. Compatibility is important and so is differentiation. An industry leader observed: “At our company, we want a difference of opinion. We don’t want everyone to be the same gender, age, race and have similar personal proclivities. In all dimensions we need that. We look for ‘Fit in, but stand out.’” Behold the turtle…he makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.
5. Always, always go with your gut. Rely on your deepest feelings. Intuition is the first cousin to an educated guess. A mill executive said, “Trust your first instinct. I always judge a book by its cover. That’s not to say I hire based on what one wears or how one looks. But I listen to my instincts on the first hand- shake with someone.”
Consider these five points and remember, hire right is an employer’s delight.