Kendra Scott has proven that you can build a major national brand from extremely humble beginnings.
Scott started her eponymous jewelry and lifestyle brand in her spare bedroom with $500. Today, it's a billion-dollar company. Much of that success, she said on stage last week at the Inc. Fast Growth Tour in Chicago, can be attributed to a savvy hiring strategy. Scott explained that she assembled a team that has fully committed to the company's mission and three core pillars--family, fashion, and philanthropy.
"When you have those people working for something that's so much bigger than just a product, you have loyalty," she said. "That's the key. We hire people with a like-minded heart and spirit."
But how exactly do you find those hires? In the on-stage interview, Scott offered insight on three of her best hiring practices.
1. Let employees interview their future boss.
Scott said that during her company's hiring process, current employees may interview a candidate who would become their boss. It's a good way to test the waters for cultural fit. "I do that a lot," Scott said. "Because of anyone, I want their buy-in. I want to know that they're excited about the person coming in."
2. Value cultural fit over credentials.
When selecting a candidate, Scott said she'll take spirit over experience every time. "I've learned my lesson hiring strictly on resume," she said. "At the end of the day, if they didn't match our core values, it was a disaster and I ended up losing other great people within the company--and that's time and money."
Scott noted that there's a considerable cost to training and onboarding every new employee, so it's "much better to take your time when hiring to make sure it's a cultural fit. I promise you, you'll never regret it."
3. Don't hire someone if there's any doubt at all.
Scott said that candidates go through multiple interviews with a variety of current employees, and at the end of the process everyone gathers to offer their opinions. She said that if the reaction is not unanimously "'Oh my God, yes! I love that person,' or there's a little 'Meh, there's a couple things...', then I'm like, 'Nope. We gotta feel great.'"
Achieving that 100 percent consensus makes it far less likely you'll have to replace a hire later on. Your employees know the brand just like a mother knows her child, Scott said, and she trusts their judgment in hiring decisions "because they're just looking out for our kid."