We have a saying in our company that we often share among our organization and with our clients: "You don't have awesome companies; you have awesome people."
Ultimately, a company is the sum of its parts. As an entrepreneur, you set the vision, but the people in your company carry out that vision and make it a reality. They are the ones that take the culture, identity, and mission of your company and make it real. So if the people you hire aren't in line with that vision, you'll never see it come to be.
That's why we believe hiring is one of the most--if not the most--critical processes you have in your company. Get it right, and you can create a team that's the driving force behind your business and an absolute pleasure to work with each day. Get it wrong, and you'll end up wasting months of time and thousands of dollars. What's more, one wrong fit can completely derail the momentum of a growing business and sour the atmosphere.
The challenge for small businesses and new entrepreneurs is that during the early stages, the hiring process tends to look like this: You hire a friend. Or, someone recommends someone to you, and you say great, let's bring them in!
Hiring on the merit of a recommendation alone is completely unintentional, and it sets an unstable foundation for the relationship between you and that individual. You end up just bringing a body into the company, not someone who will help bring your goals to life. Hiring this way also makes for a bad professional relationship, and it can complicate your personal relationships.
In our organization, we approach hiring differently. We hire based on the result we want the person in a specific position to bring the company.
You must identify what you want the team member to be responsible and the results you expect them to achieve before you begin the recruiting and hiring process. We use a document called "The 4R's" to define exactly what we want from any new position and hire. The 4R's are:
- Role - The role is a basic description of the position, including the title and summary of the position. This is where most job descriptions stop.
- Responsibility - The responsibility defines exactly what someone hired for the position is going to accomplish. This can include the tasks he or she is responsible for completing, the processes they are in charge of, etc.
- Results-- What do we expect the person hired for the position to achieve once they are hired. These can be sales goals, quality and quantity of work, and so on. You want to be as clear as possible on your results so both you and a new hire knows what success in the role looks like. It will make it much easier to identify the right hire, and much, much easier to identify when a hire isn't working out.
- Requirements-- The unique set of skills, knowledge, and personality that someone needs in order to be able to work with your organization in the capacity of this position.
Once you create The 4R's for a position and start receiving applications, you should interview, interview, and interview some more. I don't mean interview a lot of people, necessarily, but rather talk to the people you're most interested in multiple times. You should have different people in your organization speak with them to make sure others share your opinion of a new hire and be sure that they are truly a good fit for your company. If you're hiring your first employee, have a friend or advisor talk to them.
The key here is not to move too quickly. It's far better to take your time up front and get it right up front then to try and deal with backlash from a bad hire. Even if you've had a great interview, give it twenty-four hours so you have time to reflect and process. Set a time the next day to review your notes and make sure you still feel the same way.
While hiring people is never perfect, it's a lot better when you hire with intention and for a clearly defined result.
Alex & Cadey Charfen are the Co-Founders of the Charfen Institute.