Everyone knows that looking for a job can be extremely difficult, but few people acknowledge that hiring someone can be just as hard. Great organizations understand that employees are not just a dime a dozen. Choosing the right candidate takes time, deliberation, and a whole lot of trust. Whether you’re hiring your very first employee or further scaling your organization, we’ll walk you through the best ways to hire the right people for your company.
Who should you hire first?
Sorry to give this dreaded answer but… it depends! If you’re a brand new company ready to expand to step two, a big congratulations to you! But we still can’t tell you exactly what it is you need next. Instead of telling you what position to hire first, you need to figure out what your company needs most right off the bat and go from there.
Expand your company capacity
One of the most recommended hiring strategies is to start by hiring someone with very similar skills and priorities as your own. The first sign of needing to hire someone is usually overflow; we’re talking about the things you can do yourself, but don’t have the time or capacity to do so. That’s when you want to look for a partner, assistant, etc. to help you out with the things you just don’t have time for.
Expand your company skillset
On the flip, there will eventually come a time when you spot an opportunity for your business that requires skills you do not have. That’s when you want to focus on hiring someone with complementary skills. Have you gotten this far by being ultra-creative and out-of-the-box? Cool, one way to expand your business growth is by partnering with someone who is analytical and action-oriented. This is an opportunity to tag team issues to come up with solutions you may not have thought about in the past.
How to grow your team the smart way
So you’ve got the first hire down (congrats!) and now you need to grow from here. This is the fun part! Imagine all the things you want your company to be able to do. Focus on what you provide your customers, and what gaps have shown up along the way.
Step Zero is always knowing what positions you need to add to the mix. If you need someone to help you get organized and cross tasks off your list, consider looking for an administrative assistant. If your sales have slowed or have space to grow based on updated capacity, a relationship manager.
This sounds too easy. What’s the catch?
Too many organizations only focus on filling a position vs. building a team. Knowing what position you need isn’t as important as knowing who you want to work with. Follow the steps in the following list to find the best candidate to help grow your team.
1. Don’t overlook soft skills
Not everyone is going to come into an interview knowing everything about specific tools you use or processes you follow. But if they’re curious, inquisitive, excited about learning, and ask great questions, then who cares if they have experience with a tool or not? You can train someone how to use a tool. You cannot train someone to be excited to learn it in the first place. Look deeper into a candidate’s potential for growth vs. only the hard skills they already have.
2. Know where you’re willing to compromise
Sometimes the job criteria you have in mind for a position can actually hold you back. You could have an education requirement on your list that prohibits you from looking at an absolutely perfect candidate that learned all their super legit qualifications in the workforce instead of in school. Vet your position requirements and make sure they’re really requirements, or if they’re just nice-to-haves. You might be surprised by what you realize you don’t actually need.
3. Ask about more than just knowledge and skills
Don’t get us wrong; it’s definitely important to know whether someone actually knows how to do certain things. But don’t stop there! Make a genuine effort to get to know them as a person, and have fun with it! Shake it up and make it fun with some alternative ways to get to know them in the interview. Ask them:
- What is your favorite book/movie/tv show?
- How would you spend a year off with unlimited money and resources?
- Did you have a favorite toy when you were younger?
- Who (outside of the industry) inspires you most?
There should be no ulterior motive here to see if they choose something like “superhuman analytical skills” as their superpower. Make it clear that these are not trick questions; the goal is to get to know the non-professional side of them in an appropriate and respectful way.
4. Go with your gut
You can check off all the boxes you want, but at the end of the day, your intuition is usually stronger than you realize. If someone has zero experience with what you’re looking for but you just have a feeling that they’d do well in your organization, don’t be afraid to roll with it.
Same with the reverse: If someone has everything you’re looking for but they just rub you the wrong way, that’s a perfectly fine reason to pass them up. You took a leap of faith when you started your company in the first place; apply that same innovation, creativity and trust to whomever you decide to bring along for the ride.