Mark Wardell’s Top 10 Tips for Finding and Hiring Great People

1. Share your dreams with your employees

World-class people are attracted to world-class opportunities. As an employer, you need to share your plans for the future with new (and existing) employees regularly. By inviting your whole team to take part in building your company with you, you create a motivating environment which is exactly the type of place great people chose to work.

2. Find great people by asking your best employees who they know

It’s a universal principal that “like attracts like”, so your best employees are likely to know other people with similar qualities to them. Ask them to help you build a world-class team. Some companies even offer incentives to their employees to facilitate this process.

3. Ask your suppliers who they know

Your suppliers likely have an inside edge to some great future employees. Ask them if they know the type of person you are looking to add to your team. As you have a business relationship with your suppliers, they are likely to be discriminating with any referrals they make.

4. Use the employment classifieds as a last resort

If people are out of work it’s often for a good reason, especially in a labour-shortage market. Although there will always be a few jewels in the haystack, it’s an enormous job to separate the wheat from the chaff. If you must take this route however, you can improve your odds by making your advertisement as specific as possible. For example, if the job involves cold-calling, say so. It is  better to get a few on-target resumes than a whole stack that don't fit.

5. Commit to only hiring people who fit with your corporate culture

First, you need to know who you are in order to communicate the culture you are offering to your team. Excellence comes in many forms. Whether you’re a fun, energetic team of graphic artists or a cautious group of detail-oriented accountants, you need to be as explicit as possible when you’re seeking to build your team, so that you don’t waste time meeting people who won’t fit in.

6. Be careful about hiring friends and family

This does not mean never do it, but you do need to exercise a lot of caution in this regard. The worst-case scenario is having to “let go” of a personal relationship or any perception of nepotism among other staff. Ensure you screen every individual in a systematic way to avoid perceptions of favoritism.

7. Get your employees involved in the interviewing process

In many cases, your employees will be more in tune with the type of attributes required of their future colleague. Also, because you want your employees to work well together, if they are given input in the process, this will be more likely.

8. Promote your company’s unique attributes

There are people in the marketplace who are a perfect fit for your organization. The problem is they don’t know it yet and a recruiting ad that only states your company name and the position you’re looking to fill isn’t going to change that. Get a little creative and show off your true colors. Promote the unique attributes that set your company apart from your competition. This might include things like flexible work hours, a fun-loving atmosphere, professional development opportunities, and so forth.

9. Be up-front about potential challenges

When hiring, don’t hide potential challenges. If you’re trying to attract a dream candidate, the best way you’ll ensure they are the right person for the job is to be as honest as possible about the “down-sides”. If you have an out of the way location or  challenging aspect of the job, such as cold calling, be transparent , both in the interview and  in any recruitment activities you use. A good ad should repel unqualified candidates as much as it attracts qualified candidates.

10. When hiring, focus on qualities first and skill sets second

Most people do this in reverse and then wonder why they can’t find great people. You can’t train someone to have drive, or a team-player, but you can train someone to learn a program or two. Narrow your candidates down to the two or three with the best qualities and then hire the one with closest match of skills sets. If they are quality people, they will easily develop most of the specific skills required.

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