"Great things in business are never done by one person. They're done by a team of people" - Steve Jobs
Early in my career, someone told me that the success of my business would be defined by the first 10 hires I made. When hiring my first team I was told that a bad hire would cost the company $250,000. I didn't understand the real impact of that statement until later.
After going through the process of reviewing resumes, I learned that I did not feel confident basing such a decision - such an important and potentially costly decision - on a resume and a20-minutee meeting.
I ended up using a pre-assessment survey to sort through our resumes and found our superstar, who in all honesty would never have made it past the resume screening process. Her resume wasn't aligned with what we considered the perfect candidate, but her scores from her pre-assessment indicated she had great potential and would be a fit. I decided to move forward and hire her. In the first year, that candidate led the company to increasing profit by three times the amount in the previous year. This was my ah-ha moment. I realized the necessity of a pre-assessment survey in the hiring process that truly assessed candidates based on intelligence and not just on personality traits; which led to my development of the Plum Applicant Survey, which became the core of my company Plum. It was also the moment I understood the key things that need to be considered when hiring and building the A-team.
1. Understand the key soft skills required for the role.
When defining the needs of the role, you and your hiring managers need to take a moment to truly understand what it will take for a candidate to succeed in this role. Outside of the tactical skills we all understand (i.e. execute and deliver a marketing plan, compile weekly reports etc.) what is often overlooked are the soft skills that will equate to success. For example, are you looking for someone who can adapt quickly to a changing environment or someone who has high stability and can handle stressful situations? These soft skills can make or break not only the success of a team but also determine an employee's happiness. A candidate's ability to train efficiently, learn quickly, develop positive relationships and resolve conflict is based on more than a degree or tactical skill.
2. Align the role with the company culture & direction.
89% of turnover is due to attitude and only 11% is due to skill set. Understanding this is crucial when assessing your potential candidates. Reviewing candidates purely on skill can lead to creating a shaky team. Make sure that you understand your company culture and values and find candidates that not only believe in what you do but can fit into your company vision.
3. Efficiently assess candidates before they come in.
Personally reviewing every resume that comes in is easy... if you are hiring 1 or 2 jobs. But when you are trying to build a strong team with multiple hires you need to understand the value of your time. Trying to manually review each applicant and find a potential fit to bring in for a conversation takes time. What it leads to is 'scanning' of resumes. Picking out keywords in a resume is not an accurate representation of a candidate. You are setting yourself up for the potential of missing a diamond in the rough and wasting time on candidates that never would be a match.
4. Avoid bias.
By nature we are inclined to be drawn to people who are similar to ourselves. We go throughout life looking to 'create our tribe'. But you as a hiring manager is not necessarily what is needed in your next accountant, sales rep, marketer etc. Make sure that your hiring process eliminates the ability for you to create a bias. Appearance, enthusiasm and likability greatly impact the selection process. Implement structured behavioral interview questions that reveal more about the applicant and solidify the fit.
Creating the best in class team will differ between each organization based on the company's unique culture and needs. But what doesn't differ are the key factors that influence meeting and assessing the perfect match in your candidate pool, and THAT is what will truly affect your creation of a best in class team.
Caitlin MacGregor is the CEO/Co-founder of Plum (http://plum.io), a SaaS hiring solution that matches employers and applicants using cutting-edge behavioural science. Plum is Caitlin's 3rd startup. She was Employee #1/Director of Operations for Me to We Style in Toronto and was President of goQ software in New Hampshire. Caitlin has been making waves as she was selected as 1 of 10 women-led businesses by Springboard Enterprises in NYC and was selected by Google for Entrepreneurs Blackbox Connect program in San Francisco in Oct. 2014. Plum graduated from Communitech Hyperdrive and the Accelerator Centre, are winners in the 43North Buffalo Pitch Competition and winners of the 2015 Gold Stevie Award for Best New Product or Service of the Year - Software - Human Capital Management Solution. Caitlin just raised almost $2 million of investment to fuel Plum's growth.