Tony Robbins holds wildly popular events and seminars. He's a multi-time best-selling author. He's created a line of dietary supplements. All told, Robbins runs or is involved with more than 30 privately held businesses that boast combined sales of over $5 billion a year.
Of course, he can't do that alone, which means Robbins also has to be really good at hiring the right people.
Over time -- since he's a master of simplification -- Robbins has boiled his process down to answering three simple questions.
1. "Can they do this job extremely well?"
Sounds obvious, but in the search for that stereotypically well-rounded employee who checks off every box on a multi-page job description, it's easy to settle for "average" when what you really need is "great."
In every job, one attribute, one skill, one ability matters more than anything else. You can provide training to fill in the gaps, but every great employee solves at least one critical business need.
While credentials, qualifications, and experience are certainly important, never lose sight of the fact that you aren't hiring a position. You're hiring a result.
You don't need a sales director; you need someone who will sell. You don't need a VP of operations; you need someone who can deliver great products or services.
Identify your real business need, determine what successfully meeting that need looks like, and then find the perfect person to solve that need.
But don't stop there ...
2. "Will they do the job extremely well over the long term?"
Most new hires start off well. But what about months or years down the road? Will they continue to perform at the same level?
That's a tough question to answer. So Robbins looks at two key factors:
- What are the person's goals?
- Are their goals in alignment with the actual job?
Over the short term, most people can manage to perform well in a job they don't particularly like. But maintaining a high level of performance over the long term is really hard unless the job serves as an outward expression of a person's skills, talents, and goals.
Engagement and satisfaction are largely based on autonomy and independence; we all care the most when something is "ours." Hire a person whose personal and professional goals match the goals of your business and they will feel like your goals are their goals, too.
Just as important, look for the person who doesn't just want the job title. Look for the person who wants to do the job. Many people may have the qualifications required to merit the position, but the right candidate loves to do the actual work the job entails.
The right person to fill your sales director opening loves to dig into the details of helping other people be better salespeople. The right person to fill your product development role loves to dig into the nitty-gritty of creating new products.
The right candidate wants the job because they want the responsibility not just to make things happen but to make things they love to do happen.
3. "Do they fit the team?"
Cultural fit matters. Not just in terms of interpersonal skills or teamwork or attitude, but also in terms of motivation.
That's why Robbins focuses heavily on a candidate's drive. Is the candidate driven by a need to feel significant? Is the candidate driven by a desire to contribute? To grow? To feel a sense of security, safety, and stability?
As Robbins says, "Sometimes you can have an amazing performer, but they piss everyone off -- and they wreck your organization. If you're not aligned within your organization with these needs, if the team fit isn't right, it doesn't matter what else happens."
Just make sure you don't try to create a totally homogeneous workforce. Sometimes, the best employees are a little different: occasionally eccentric, sometimes irreverent, even delighted to be unusual. They seem slightly odd, but in a really good way.
Unusual personalities shake things up, make work more fun, and transform a plain-vanilla group into a team with flair.
Plus: People who aren't afraid to be different naturally stretch boundaries and challenge the status quo, and they often come up with the best ideas.
Sure, it's important for a candidate to "fit" the personality of your team. But what matters most is that the candidate fits well with where your company wants to go -- and how it wants to get there.