We all aim to hire the right people, yet we hear stories and experience the perils of bad hires all too often. For this blog post, we turned to the published advice of a few well-known thought leaders for tips you can use to make better hiring decisions.
1. If you want good employees, you need good leaders.
It’s not surprising to hear that the internally-recognized leadership expert, John Maxwell, points to strong leaders as key to better hiring. He makes the core point that if you want better employees, you have to be a better leader. This useful piece of advice refocuses the “right hire” discussion to the context where the new employee works.
Sorry to put the responsibility back on you as the employer, but at least part of the outcome of the hiring process depends on the mentoring and support the employee receives once on the job.
Maxwell identifies 3 important traits of a leader that can influence the qualities of an employee:
- Attitude: Positive and negative attitudes do not mix, and the negative ones don’t help. The employer has to have, and project, the can-do attitude to engender it in his or her employees.
- Values: “Whatever character you possess is what you will likely find in the people who follow you.”
- Leadership Ability: This is a difficult trait to define, let alone acquire. But being a good leader is essential to get those who work for you to exercise productive leadership. Once you get it, results multiply very rapidly.
2. Follow the “golden triangle” of hiring.
Brian Tracy has motivated many to be successful in sales, business, and leadership generally. He identifies the “golden triangle” of hiring in fairly conventional terms, but these reinforce and refine HR practices that can lead to good hires.
- Be results oriented: We have advocated that a current and objective risk assessment of a role should be a foundation for the job description. In Tracy’s language, this translates into the results you want the candidate to achieve. These would be concrete outcomes related to the role functions (which are also the basis for the risk assessment). In other words, you have to know exactly where the role is aimed in order to get there.
- Emphasize skills: Once you know the exact results you want, hire for the skills and experience required. “The only real predictor of future performance is past performance.”
- Personality: Does the candidate fit the work environment? The leopard can’t change its spots, and neither can most people. What you see has to match the culture because the candidate will not be able to adapt if it isn’t a natural fit.
3. Put quality above all else.
Speaking recently at Talent Connect, Google’s guru of hiring, Laszlo Bock, says the company doesn’t rely on brain teasers and other tests to emulate the kind of creative work its people have accomplished in the past. Rather, the company looks for how well candidates learn new information and solve problems. It emphasizes and does not compromise on quality.
The feeling is that poor quality is a toxic element in the workforce that will sap the best out of almost anyone. Every worker wants a meaningful experience, and that depends most heavily on the kind of people they work with. Whatever “quality” means in your workplace, follow Bock’s advice and seek it in every person you hire, at all levels. Over time, you achieve a happy and highly productive workforce.
Hiring the wrong people is an expensive mistake. Hiring the right people, on the other hand, is what makes the best businesses tick. Learn more about the best practices of hiring by downloading our latest e-book, Best Practices of Hiring: How to Get the Right People On Board.