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We all know that one of the keys to running a successful business is having a good team. No matter what industry you’re in, whether you’re selling coffee or fixing people’s pipes, the people who work for you can make or break your business.

So when it comes to hiring, we all want to get good people to work for us. I know I do. But finding and keeping good employees is a lot harder in practice than in theory. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up on how to find – and hire – employees that will improve the overall prosperity of your business.  

1. Find out what drives them.

Even if you get them to interview, there’s no guarantee that talented people will accept your job offer. In an interview with Fast Company, former Amazon engineer Adil Ajmal explained that the key to landing that perfect hire is to find out what motivates them as individuals. Not the cash, or the benefits, but what they want out of the job.

Ajmal suggests asking your interviewee about their career and their life in general, not just the job at hand. Figure out what excites them, and what direction they want their future to go.

By doing this, you can understand whether the job is really a good fit for them – and how to emphasize how it aligns with their goals so that will be more appealing. What’s more, understanding what drives the people who work for you is a good way to build a happier, more effective team.  

I know, I know… “I don’t want to feel like I have to convince them they should work for my company. They should want to work here!”

That’s true, but if the role is critical to a business in your industry, and the candidate is a good one, then competitors in your area are going to want that candidate as badly as you do. So swallow a little bit of your pride and woo away!

2. Look for the sure thing.

Employers can spend hundreds of hours working on new hires who “show promise” or “have potential.” Though in the long-run these people may gain the skill and experience necessary to truly benefit your company, hiring them can be a trap.

This may seem obvious but hire the most qualified candidate. That is to say, the person who can actually do the job most quickly after being hired.

The person you interview who’s worked this exact job in the past, or has the exact skills that you’re looking for, is the safest and best bet. In their book, First Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently, Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman advise that you shouldn’t try to train new talents into your hires.

Just hire people that have the props already.  And yes, I know that in the “real world” you don’t always have the luxury of finding perfect-fit candidates. Just don’t think you can turn a bear into a ballerina.

3. Talk to your current employees.

There’s a recruiting resource that many business owners overlook: their own team. Your team understands better than anyone else the job that a new hire will need to do, and the culture that they’ll be entering into. In short – your team intuitively knows who will be a good fit.

Your current employees can help you find new employees by sitting in on interviews, looking through resumés, or even suggesting good candidates. They may know someone who’s in the market for a job, and could fit in perfectly. And they may have opinions on candidates – from an employee’s point of view – that you never considered.

Plus, a new hire your employees help choose will be welcomed onto the team more easily, and fit in a lot quicker, than a complete stranger. Additionally, if Scott recommended Joe or Sally, then Scott has a vested interest in making sure Joe or Sally does well.

Questions to consider:

  • Have you hired someone who wasn’t the most qualified candidate in the past? How did it turn out?
  • Do you know what motivates each of your employees? If not, try talking to them about it.
  • Have you ever had a new hire who didn’t fit in with the team, or with company culture?

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