Hiring Insights

Hiring Insights

Startup Hiring - The One Trait Your First Hire Must Have

Creating a startup is scary. Making the first hire for that startup is downright terrifying. The reality is, any investment at this stage can be devastating. And for many, this will be the first big investment you make, as well as your 2nd biggest leap of faith. Making this quite the combo.

The good news, most startup CEOs enjoy a good challenge. And believe me, this will be a challenge. You'll want to find the hire quickly, but that can be a huge a mistake. You also don't want to spend all your time searching for this employee. That will ultimately take you away from your main focus - growing the business.

The easiest way to find that balance and make a positive decision for your company is to understand what you're looking for.

Positional Profile (Part 2) - Skills, Organizational Placement, and The Big Why

Like the responsibilities mentioned in part 1, skills are placed on job posts, which means there is some degree of thought, and that's great-ish. Unfortunately, like responsibilities, companies don't think about them deeply enough, which results in vague descriptions, like the ones below ...

Positional Pressure (Part 2) - Prioritizing Pressure Points

In the first article, we focused on defining the two categories of work-related pressures (Positionally Created Stresses / Man Made Fears). We finished the piece by showing you the steps needed to uncover the positional pressures of a particular role, which ultimately gives you a robust list.

Well In article 2, we're going to prioritize that list. This will allow you to concentrate on the areas that are most crucial to this position's success. And to do that, we're going to start with the Positionally Created Stresses.

The Setup

You've put in the effort to create a list of stresses this hire may face, and now it's time to make the list work for you. This can be achieved by creating a simple chart, where the vertical line represents the frequency of an event, and the horizontal line represents the segment of the business most impacted by the outcome of the event.

To give you something to reference, here's what my ranges look like...

Positional Pressure - Finding Someone Who Can Handle the Heat

There's no way around it, every position contains some degree of pressure. Now despite this truth, most company's don't prioritize these circumstances until the employee is facing them. When this happens, the employee is not prepared and the situation becomes sink or swim. This should be unacceptable, as the outcome(s) can cost your company severely (lost clients, bad press, frustrated employee(s), etc).

That is why hiring someone capable of thriving despite the stress, is absolutely critical. To do that, you have to attempt to spot the pressure points before you even begin searching for candidates.

Positional Profile - A Company Lifesaver

There are two cliches that often get tossed around in business (hell, you'll probably read them on Fulfillingly more than once), and they are "Time is money" and "You have to spend money to make money." Unfortunately, and far too often, company's only pay attention to the first maxim and that can cause issues, especially in hiring.

They rationalize that the longer a position is open, the more money the company will lose. As a result, they hire quickly and that's never a good idea. This increases the chances of a bad hire, and that can easily cost the company 10X what the role is worth.

Now what these company's should be doing is combining the two adages. Yes, time is money, but you have to spend some of it, if you want a successful hire. And what they should be spending their time on, are these Positional Profiles.

What is a Positional Profile?

Business Operations - Products and Services (Capturing Culture - Part 4 continued)

More often than not, the types of products/services a company provides is often culturally overlooked. Don't make this mistake. You see, this aspect of your company is extremely powerful, especially when you're first starting to build/define your culture.

Now your products / services will fall into one of 2 categories: Revolutionary or Time Tested. And one of the biggest mistakes you can make, is assuming they fall into a specific category because your company operates in a certain industry. In a previous article, I mentioned my time working in the marketing field. Being new to the industry, I initially thought that all marketing firms fit into the revolutionary category. Well, I was wrong. I ended up working at 2 different companies and the truth was, both agencies sat on the opposite sides of the revolutionary/tried and true spectrum.

The two companies were successful, but their cultures were very different. On one end, you had the tried and true firm, which was filled with mostly established professionals, who had earned their status by developing certain skills throughout the years. The revolutionary agency on the other hand, was filled with newcomers, who were willing to take on new tasks and learn new skills. This was absolutely needed because the revolutionary agency would update or add new software every few months, and the staff needed to be adaptable.

So, despite being in the same field, everything was different about the two - even the dress code (jeans and tees vs. button ups and slacks), and it all stemmed from the type of products/services they offered.

Accurately Determining the Category

Business Operations - Technology's Impact (Capturing Culture - Part 4 continued)

Technology, whether you notice it or not, is playing a significant role in your job. And, with each passing day, it is only becoming more prominent. To drive home this point, here's a list of technology used just to facilitate conversation ...

Quick Tip - Screening for Overtime

Work late and finish the task or work until the schedule ends and pick it up tomorrow - these are the two stances a company can take in regards to overtime. On the surface, this choice seems minor, but the position a company takes on the topic, will have a significant impact on the overall culture.

Now I've noticed that most companies can easily define their position on overtime. The real issues occur when they try to hire around this belief, which is why I've put together this quick insightful article.

Business Operations - Actions and Attitudes (Capturing Culture - Part 4)

This is the last big piece to your cultural puzzle, and it's all about trust. Without trust, your staff is going to have the hardest time getting over the tiniest of hurdles. This means lost business and low morale.

Now it's important to note that each business is unique. They all have their own set of practices and methods, which impacts the culture in a variety of different ways. Fortunately, despite this, there are several that remain prevalent from business to business. These universal business operations are...

General Employee Ethos (Capturing Culture - Part 3)

Motivation. Loyalty. Honesty. These are the traits of a strong team, and our main focus for this section. You see, a staff that does not contain these values, is destined to fail. Without motivation, there's no will to persevere through the hard times. Without loyalty, there's no support when the work gets challenging. Without honesty, there's not enough candidness to prevent bad ideas from succeeding. That's why this is so important.

Now the good news is, there are a variety of methods one can use to keep the team motivated, loyal, and honest. Unfortunately, the bad news is, there are a variety of methods one can use to keep the team motivated, loyal, and honest. This means, choosing the right approach isn't always the easiest decision. However, to avoid a hit or miss scenario with your tactics, I recommend defining and/or understanding how your company's employees feel about 3 main areas...

From the Top - The Boss's Beliefs (Capturing Culture - Part 2)

Everything related to culture, is connected to leadership. Their beliefs and their decisions, it's all going to have a profound effect on employees' attitudes, behavior, and drive. And that influence, is why I recommend starting with this group as you begin to define or build your culture.

So what do you need from leadership, in order to understand your culture? You need their honest position on 4 main areas...

Capturing Culture - The Art of Defining Your Values

At the start of my career, I was in advertising. To be more specific, I worked in the field of branding. Now for those a little less familiar with branding, it's essentially the practice of shaping people's perception of a company. Your goal is to have them quickly recall, relate, and understand the business. And if you're good, you'll get people to associate several key words or ideas with your company (Google = Innovative. Zappos = Customer Service. Fulfillingly = Prosperity. Etc).

Now if you're bad or don't attempt to brand your business, people will still relate certain feelings or adjectives with your company - They just won't necessarily be the same across the board and it won't be in your control. The brand still exists, regardless of action. And this truth, leads me right into company culture. You see, whether you dedicate the time needed to properly develop your culture or not, it's going to be there. You can either control it or pray for the best.

Candidate Personas - What They Are and Why You Need Them

Whether it's employee number 1 or 5000, a new executive or new cashier - each one has the potential to propel your company forward or stop it in its tracks. These two outcomes are why getting the hire right will always be crucial, and the reason why Candidate Personas are incredible valuable. By just taking this extra step, you'll see vastly different and positive hiring results.

Getting Scorched By Hiring Quickly

The sad reality is, when it comes to hiring, most companies only focus on it, when it becomes an emergency (someone quits, is fired, etc.). And even then, there's not much focus. Most businesses tend to react quickly because time equals money, and the more time this position is open, the more potential money they're losing.

As a result, they'll hurriedly create a job post, upload it to as many job boards as possible, conduct improvised interviews, and hire someone based on a gut feeling. What could go wrong? Well... let's find out.

Is Your Company Making This Disastrous (And Common) Hiring Mistake?

Selecting the superior talent from a pool of candidates - that's your main focus when trying fill an open position at your company. To reach this objective, most will concentrate on perfecting the interview process; screening resum├ęs more harshly, developing harder interview questions, performing more thorough reference checks, etc. And yes, this can certainly work when trying to find the best employee among a group. But, what if the group itself is, well, shit?

How to Ask the Perfect Interview Question

The Truth About Interviews

When people think about the interviewing process, they often remember how stressful it was for them - the interviewee. Rarely do they put themselves in the shoes of the interviewer. The reality is, this is a nerve-racking job. As the decisions made by these individuals can have a profound effect on the company. Adding to the stress, is the fact that many interviewers are not trained in this field. Personally speaking, when I've been interviewed, it's only been by a professional one time. The rest were either managers who oversaw my position or the owners themselves. This is extremely common as businesses with less than 20 employees, employ 86% of the United States' workforce.

Now a way to combat this lack of experience is with a strong hiring strategy that includes an arsenal of useful behavioral questions. But, of course, how useful is an arsenal, if you can't properly use the weapons?

95 Behavioral Interview Questions (Frequently Updated)

As an interviewer, your main goal is to determine whether a candidate will thrive or die in the position. This, of course, isn't always the easiest task. For starters, many applicants stretch the truth, or straight out lie. Not helping the situation, is the typically low caliber questioning that many interviewers use.

What makes behavioral questions so useful, is that they capture a person's past performance honestly. And as the old adage goes, "the best predictors of future performance are past actions." The only thing more important than a behavioral question, is a powerful follow up question.

Enjoy this list and check back often as we'll be updating them frequently.

Behavioral Question Categories