Hiring the right people for your team is imperative to successfully building your business. In addition to performing the roles that help your business grow, the right team will create a culture that sustains the energy needed to continue moving forward.

Given all that rides on building the right team, you may spend countless hours fine-tuning job descriptions and deliverables, combing through resumes, and putting candidates through a gauntlet of interviews. That's worth it if your hire works out, but if that new hire who looks great on paper loses steam a few months in and falls short of expectations, you may be back to the drawing board.

Finding the right team depends on them being ready, willing, and able (and/or capable). Some of these elements are easier to hire for than others, but there are steps you can take to ensure you're minding all three factors when making your next hire.


Ready speaks to timing. Smart leaders are always keeping an eye on bench strength, and sometimes you identify just the right person, but your potential recruit may not be quite ready to transition into your company, especially if it involves relocating or (as is often the case here in Austin) adding distance to an already tough commute that would hurt work/life balance. In other situations, the candidate just isn't quite ready to throw in the towel with their current job.

Sometimes some flexibility or added incentives such as offering work-from-home arrangements or relocation assistance can push a candidate from not ready to ready, especially if the roadblock involves logistics. Of course, if someone just isn't in a mental place of readiness to make a change, that's harder to influence.


Finding the most qualified candidate and successfully bringing them onto your team probably won't bring the impact you want if that person is not willing and eager to tackle the role. To find someone who is willing is to find a person whose heart is in their work, who takes pride in their results, and who is driven to be successful in the job they take on.

Asking the right questions to dial in on a candidate's level of willingness can be a challenge. If you ask directly, anyone who wants the job will insist their heart is 100 percent in it. For that reason, I'm a fan of asking other questions that can get to the root of a person's motivations and interests. From there, you're looking for alignment with the job function. Some simplified examples would be a customer service candidate showing motivation around helping others, or an operations candidate being excited by analysis and problem solving.

As a leader, you can do your part to encourage and maintain this willingness to achieve. Attaching financial incentives to KPIs and connecting your vision to operations to underscore a sense of purpose are some examples of ways to support this spirit in your company's culture.


Finally, your candidate needs to be able to fill the role in terms of skills and experience--and have the potential and capacity to learn and develop through coaching and on-the-job training. This goes for hard skills and soft skills.

Growth requires innovation and change, which require the ability to learn and adapt. Those crazy interview questions you read about ("If you were a pizza delivery man, how would you benefit from scissors?" allegedly comes from Apple) aren't designed to make candidates squirm. They are intended to give the interviewer a glimpse of how the candidate solves problems and persists when working through a challenging question. A curious mind will light up when facing one of these questions, and a curious mind is a sign of a strong learner.

When hiring the next addition to your team, take these three areas of focus to heart to boost your chances of getting the right person to fill your current needs and to continue growing with your company.