Finding, Hiring and Retaining Great Employees
Hi, Suraj here with some thoughts on recruiting good employees, how you find them, how you hire them, and what you do with them once you get them. First thing in having success and bringing employees on, and it’s really critical because the most common complaint I hear from business owners is that they’re having employee problems. Well you want success with your employees. The first thing is to have a mind set of being a servant leader. Your job is to make your employees the best they can be. In order to do that, you need good material to work with. The first step is in the interview process. You’re looking among other things for two primary things when you’re hiring someone. You’re looking for character, and then you’re looking for skills and experience. Out of the two, the one that’s most important is character. It’s is very, very difficult to change a person’s character, but you can always train skills.
In the interview process, you should be asking questions to try and determine the character of the individual. Are they a very hospitable person? If they’re dealing with customers a lot, you may want that in them. Are they diligent in what they do? Are they organized? Are they creative? Look for character traits that are important for the job you’re hiring for, and for you company’s overall culture. Ask questions driving at character, first and foremost. Secondly, with regard to skills and experience, you’re going to want to know where they’ve worked before and the types of skills that they’ve acquired over the years. You’ll check their references and so forth. Again, those skills can be taught, but do ask very specific questions about how they did their job at the last place and the place before that. You want to find out all that you can.
Just as an aside, when you’re calling on someones references, it’s often better to call two jobs ago rather than the last job. Their last employer may just want to get rid of them and they’ll say anything in order to convince you that it’s a wonderful idea to hire their problem away. When you go back two employers, it’s not an issue for them, and they’ll often be more honest and open. Something to think about there. Now, with regard to character, after you’ve brought them on board, you can do two things. You can continue to try and train and hold them accountable to the high character standards. For instance, if you need someone very diligent to follow through on things, you can encourage that. You can set up an incentive plan to pay for that and so forth. You can try to train it. Remember, it’s hard to train character. The best way that you can teach them that is by demonstrating character.
Make sure that you and all the people on your team are individuals of high character, and you hold each other accountable to that. If you’re working in that environment, you’re going to raise your standard or you’re going to go away. Demonstrate character. It’s really important. You can do a lot to make a difference amongst your employees. Then, I call this the look twice. You know the carpenters old adage, measure twice, cut once. In employee recruiting, we call it interview twice, hire once. Interview two or three times if you need to, but don’t rely on just one interview and how it went. It’s always a good idea to take a look a second time. Often times, the potential candidate will be more open with you the second time. They feel a little bit more comfortable, or sometimes you’ll also bring another person to assist with you in the interview and see what their view is. You might not be seeing something that you need to see, so look twice. At least interview them twice before you hire them.
Then last, to keep them on board, pay isn’t everything but pay is really important. Pay and benefits are important to individuals. When you find that there are times, especially at times when the economy is a little more difficult and inflation is perhaps a little bit higher than what we’re told, the government standards of inflation, the consumer price index, and there’s a lot of different consumer price index numbers that are available. The one that’s most often bantered about is the consumer price index that they use for inflating people’s social security checks, income tax brackets, and so forth. It’s the one reported in the news. The problem with that particular one is it doesn’t include a lot of key things that we all buy like food and energy. When we’re told that the inflation rate is two percent, or one and a half percent, it could be eight or ten. You want to understand what that inflation rate is, and certainly you’re going to offer that person a competitive salary to bring them on, but make sure that you’re at least increasing their salary by the real inflation rate each year. If they’ve acquired additional skills and talents, then you’re going to want to bump them up a little bit more for that.
If you’re not willing to pay for that quality, I guarantee you they’re going to be out looking for another job. You’re going to have some turn over and you’re going to start over in the process, and it cost a lot of money to bring a new employee on. Not only the recruitment process, but the training and getting them up to speed, and the time that it takes for you and your team to do that, it’s not worth it. It’s better to pay someone what they’re worth, and provide them the benefits that they need in order to keep them on board. It’ll make you a lot of money if you have a bunch of A players. One of the things that Steve Jobs said at Apple was that he always wanted to make sure that he brought on A players. Not B’s and C’s, he wanted A players, people he can count on. He wanted to put the best around him. You should want that for your business too, because if you’re surrounded by the best, your company is going to succeed like never before.