Most small businesses hire people to execute current work; they don’t think about hiring people to help them grow their companies. But as small business owners, we need to hire leaders to help us grow our companies. I am always looking for people, even if I do not have a position available. I know that when I find someone, I will create a position for them.
There are three components to developing a growth-oriented recruiting plan: Prospecting, Interviewing and Hiring, and Orientation and Basic Training. Here, we will talk about prospecting and interviewing.
Obviously, the best prospects are usually referrals. Trust is the key, and referrals always come with an assumed level of trust. The potential employee must trust you just as you must trust him or her. This trust will lead to a more open interview. Trust will allow you, as the interviewer, to get more honest answers. I want to answer three questions during an interview (notice that I did not say I want the applicant to answer the questions):
1) Can the applicant do the job? (What is their experience and/or potential?)
2) Will the applicant do the job? (Are they motivated?)
3) Will the applicant do the job for me? (Do they fit our corporate culture?)
To get an accurate answer to #1, we must clearly define the expectations for the job. We have to know what our company needs. What is the job description? This definition must be told to the potential employee during, if not before, the interview. The key to getting accurate answers to #1 is clearly defining the job expectations. If the answer to #1 is not positive, then #2 and #3 become irrelevant.
How do we determine motivation? I ask about their proudest accomplishments and also about their greatest disappointments. I can get a good idea from their past about what will motivate them in the future. The two biggest motivators are the desire to get something or the fear of losing something. When we uncover the answer to either of these, we know what tool to use to motivate the new employee.
I recently interviewed someone referred to us by a competitor. After the initial interview, I asked him back for a second interview conducted jointly by two trusted employees. I needed to know if he would fit in with our current staff. By using existing employees to conduct a follow-up interview, I got another viewpoint about the potential employee. Do they want to work with him? Are they willing to work with him to help him succeed?
—Bill Evans, president, Evans Glass Co., Nashville
I like that you bring in trusted employees when doing follow up interviews with prospects. I believe it gives your current team an ownership stake in the hiring process. And as they say, two/three heads are better than one.