I like to gather information into piles – adding bits to each pile as I discover things, or as they occur to me. I use a combination of notes in outlook (a habit from my Windows Mobile PDA days) and a personal wiki. One day I’ll turn some of those piles into a book or two, but in the meantime here is a distillation from my notes on hiring. I have found them useful in hiring teams, but also in assessing the relative strength of potential employers too. I hope they benefit you in the same ways.
As a business leaders, there are three main buckets to worry about: The management, the market and the product. The first is the one you have greatest influence over, and getting the right people in the door is the best place to start.
Hiring the right people is a journey, not an event.
When you market your business, it isn’t just to get customers, it is to get great staff as well. Successful businesses know this.
When hiring a management team:
- Look for A players. A players recruit A players. B players recruit C players. C players turn your business into toast.
- All board members should be able to be CEO – a good test of the strength of a company.
- Go for strategically minded, hands on people. The combination is rare, but essential.
- Look for people who are open minded and at ease in life. An insecure, narrow minded person will break the team.
- Choose only team players. You can’t teach this behaviour. If they can’t play with a team, keep them out of the business.
- International/well travelled people bring breadth and insight, as well as contacts.
- A well motivated individual, but one with no chips on their shoulders. Good self-motivation in leadership drives the business.
- Good hobbies make for a good hire. How is free time used? Charity? Adventure?
Identify who in the business is good at recruiting, and have them do it! Some people are better at spotting good and bad cultural fit, and at giving a feel for the business to an outsider. Having this anchor person also adds consistency across hires, which pays dividends in the long term.
Team building is key. It must be intentional and frequent. People operate and manage out of relationship, and relationships are build by shared experiences.