There is absolutely nothing as critical to determining the future of your company as who you hire - especially if you are a fast-growing company.
The typical fast-growing company artificially reduces their future potential by hiring reduced and low job fit talent because they want to fill a spot quickly.
A couple of years ago we had a Client who grew quickly - initially they agreed with our philosophy of hiring only the best sales people. However, they soon decided it was too important to get "feet on the street" so they circumvented the hiring assessment instrument and hiring process we established for them. Our process worked - it just took longer (not much longer) to get the best talent possible.
Fast forward to today and they are now dealing with the repercussions of hiring mediocre sales people. They have few top performers and those that have real potential are not performing because no one is pushing them to do so. Their low job fit talent has set the performance bar artificially low.
When you hire low job fit talent - regardless of the growth stage of the business, you "sentence" your future to mediocrity. Most low performers lower the performance bar for the entire team - especially in sales.
The low job fit talent gets on the team and they set the bar for mediocrity - only no one really knows it is mediocrity. In sales, low job fit sales people sell less - a lot less.
Moreover, people who do not fit the job or culture are more likely to leave. Thus, hiring quickly without job fit in mind means you will just have to go through the process again. Why not take the time to do it right the first time?
Following are ten critical steps to hiring in a fast growing company and hiring strategically for the future.
- Commit to your desired future. The best time to decide your future is today. Ask anyone if there is a real difference in talent potential - use sports as an example - and most people will say, "Of course." Commit to a future of productivity and profitability by deciding to bring on only the best talent. Write down this commitment and have everyone sign it. Publish this document prominantly.
- Be prepared to invest the time necessary to hire the best talent possible. Hiring the best people for your future takes time that pays back rich dividends. Understand that it may take more time to establish an efficient hiring process, but once you develop the process and team members become familiar, it will take less and less time. Remember, the talent pool is limited, so you may have to sit with your line in the water before catching the big fish.
- Always Be Hiring - "ABH Program". Get it in your head that you should "Always Be Hiring". If you are only looking when you really need talent, you will have longer hiring cycles. Always be looking for great talent. The more you go fishing - the more big fish you catch.
- Use a scientifically-valid assessment instrument like TriMetrix® HD. Companies who are committed to maximizing productivity, the Customer Experience, and profitability do not use their "gut instincts" when they hire - they use the best assessment instrument they can find. Through experience and research, we have found that the TriMetrix® HD gives the most comprehensive job fit analysis.
- Be prepared for naysayers. Strategic HR managers will embrace an established hiring process and use a scientifically-valid assessment instrument like TriMetrix® HD. Non-strategic HR managers rely on their gut instincts and no one's gut gets hiring right. Help naysayers seek employment with your competition.
- Use a recruiter for key positions. Key positions in management and sales are particularly vulnerable to low job fit. Hire the very, very best managers and sales people and your future will be much brighter. Always use your hiring process when hiring through a recruiter - no exceptions.
- Develop a solid mission and value statement and use a variation in job description. Give potential hires a really good idea of who you are to attract the right talent. Do not glamorize your job description and set the wrong expectations. Attract only "freaks of nature" - the best of the best.
- Onboard your new hires carefully and passionately. Do not rush onboarding because you do not have the time. Make the time for onboarding to be done correctly or pay the consequences down the road. It is early on that employees learn the appropriate behaviors for a job, so make sure they learn them right. It is much harder to break a bad behavior than to reinforce the right ones during onboarding.
- Smoke non-believers and those who will not embody the spirit of your business. There will be those who do not believe. Get them gone quickly. Be willing to eliminate those who do not fit.
- Never, ever settle for less than the best. When you or others feel as if you need to circumvent the process - go back to number one.
Excellence is a choice. So is mediocrity. Carefully decide who you want to have on your team. This will determine excellence,mediocrity, or failure.