How to Hire the Best Candidate Every Single Time
When you know how to hire the best candidate for your business, you hold the key to a smoother day-to-day and faster growth.
The people you employ have the power to either accelerate your success or stall progress. They influence everything from team morale and productivity to innovation and customer service.
A great hire is a huge win for revenue. The costs of a bad hire are incalculable.
You know all this, though, right? That’s why you—like millions of other business owners—are eager to learn how to find the right people and convince them to work for you.
Here’s how it’s done.
Establish Company Culture
The very concept of “company culture” may seem like a touchy-feely distraction from getting things done, but here’s the truth:
You will have a company culture even if you don’t create it.
The way your team interacts, what you prioritize, how you problem solve, the overall attitude… it’s all company culture. If you don’t actively set these standards, your culture will be determined by your team’s attitudes and perspectives.
In which case, you can expect conflict, confusion, and distraction.
So take time to set your company values, mission, customer service approach, and your expectations for employee attitudes. When you have these things nailed down and you know how to communicate them, you immediately give yourself two major advantages.
First, it becomes much easier to zero in on the candidates who align with the values and attitudes you seek to cultivate in your team.
Second, it attracts the best candidates to your company. Job seekers care quite a bit about company culture. They want to know if they can expect to be supported, challenged, appreciated, and invited to contribute something meaningful through their work.
Once you’ve established your company culture and are able to state it clearly on your website and job listing, you’re ready to start thinking about the qualities you’re looking for in a candidate.
Traits to Look For in a Prospective Hire
Most business owners go into the hiring process looking for specific job skills. It makes sense. Job skills matter.
But we often prioritize job skills a little too much.
Here’s a look at all the traits that really separate outstanding candidates from the rest of the hiring pool.
It truly doesn’t matter how talented an employee is if they’re constantly pushing against your values and culture.
A team member who can’t stand in unity with their colleagues and treat customers with compassion is a team member who is going to slow growth and cost you money in the long run.
This should be a top priority in all hiring situations, but it’s especially crucial for new businesses that can’t afford superstar talent.
An employee with a growth mindset is someone who:
- Welcomes feedback.
- Is willing to push beyond their comfort zone.
- Motivates themselves.
- Proactively seeks opportunities to help the business grow.
- Focuses on possibilities instead of obsessing over problems.
Incredible things happen when you bring on team members who hold these traits. It doesn’t matter what their experience level is.
My COO started out as our secretary, but through her own drive and passion for growth, she helped us build 911 Restoration into what it is today. The value she has added is incalculable.
I talk all the time how important it is for you to be customer obsessed, but it’s a trait you want to see in your team, too.
Every single person you hire influences the customer experience. You want them to be thinking about the client in everything they do. The goal is to find someone who’s compassionate, service-oriented, and curious to hear customer feedback.
How does this candidate work with others? Are they eager to lift others up, help them find solutions, and ask for help when they need it?
Or is this someone who sees themselves as an island? Are they resistant to the insight and ideas of others? Do they think of their colleagues as competition?
Definitely go with the one who’s going to bring a spirit of positivity, support, and open-minded problem solving to your business.
Curiosity and Drive
Speaking of problem solving, consider the way a candidate is likely to approach a challenge. Ideally, they respond with curiosity and an impulse to turn a bad situation into an opportunity to improve.
What you want to avoid is team members who respond to a problem by getting defensive, blaming others, avoiding the issue, or panicking.
Nice to Have: Outstanding Job Skills
Finally, yes: job skills matter. And they matter in some positions more than in others. But always remember this:
Skills are almost always teachable. Character may not be.
While it’s certainly not a bad thing to have superstar talent on your team, you want to be careful about hiring a superstar who expects to sail through their career on abilities alone. This person will not necessarily push to improve themselves. They won’t actively support their colleagues. They may even be difficult to work with, believing that their great talent makes them invincible.
Do find someone who fulfills the necessary skill requirements for the position. Go ahead and hire a superstar if you find one who has all the other essential traits (assuming you can afford this person).
Just don’t sacrifice character and attitude for talent. I guarantee you’ll regret it.
Create a Clear Job Description
Once you nail down exactly what you’re looking for, you need to communicate it in a way that helps the ideal candidates find you.
I’m talking about writing a clear and enticing job description.
A great job description includes:
- The skills and traits you’re looking for in a candidate
- What this person is responsible for
- Who this employee will report to (and who they will be supervising)
- How this job position contributes to the business’s overall vision and mission
- How their performance will be measured
- What opportunities exist for growth and promotion
- A description of company culture
This level of clarity makes it easier for stellar candidates to 1) imagine themselves on your team and 2) immediately feel that this is a position where their best efforts will truly be valued.
Compare that to a job description that just says, “Salesperson needed. 5 yrs experience required. Must be team player.” All they know is what you need to get out of this relationship. With a job description like that, many of the responses you get will be from people who just need any job as soon as possible.
That brings me to my last point:
Demonstrate Caring Leadership
Great candidates have options. They’re evaluating you, just as you’re evaluating them. And your treatment of them in the interview process tells them a lot about what it’s like to work under you.
Here are a few best practices for building a positive relationship with candidates during the hiring process:
- Ask about their goals.
- Ask what their ideal work environment is like.
- Be respectful of their time.
- Communicate clearly about the timeline and procedures of the hiring process.
- Proactively outline opportunities for growth and how they can get the support they need to succeed in their position.
In other words, be aware of what matters to them rather than focusing exclusively on what you’re looking for.
That’s not to say your goals and priorities aren’t important. Of course they are. The entire point of hiring is to bring on people who can help fulfill your vision. But here’s the secret behind every successful business:
We succeed when we help others succeed… especially our team members.
Show candidates that your business is a supportive, growth-oriented, purpose-driven community, and you’ll attract the best people.
And those employees will give you their best every single day.
Further Resources on This Topic
Blog Post: How to Write a Job Description: The Secret Key to Hiring and Leading
Blog Post: How Do I Know if I Can Afford to Hire an Employee?
Free Tool: Job Description Generator
Free Video Course: Accelerating Business Growth