By Kristopher B. Jones, a serial entrepreneur and investor. Kris recently launched Special Guest App with comedian/actor Damon Wayans Jr.
Building a strong business depends on your executive-level managers getting everything right, from the business model to employee time-off schedules.
Speaking of employees, you are going to need some good ones to staff your organization as you grow. Though you don't have a choice but to fill those posts, you do get to choose which employees fill them.
Hiring the right employees has the potential to be one of the greatest challenges you undertake as an entrepreneur. The right employees make your business flourish, while the wrong ones waste time and money and can destroy your culture.
How can you get the right people onboard? Here are four tips for doing just that.
1. Match candidate goals with your objectives.
You've likely seen unmotivated employees before. They do just enough to get by, and they aren't engaged day after day. Those employees probably want to be somewhere else.
Avoid this scenario from the start by ensuring that every last employee you hire has professional goals that align with what you want your business to achieve. It seems like a cliché, but you should ask each candidate how they want to develop over the next three to five years and why they believe your company can help them do that.
How candidates answer those questions will give you a window into who they are, how they think and what they have researched about your company and its mission.
2. Allow opportunities for questions.
You may have experienced job interviews in which candidates don't bring any questions to the table. It can be easy to think of job interviews as interrogations, but realistically, you want to have discussions with your candidates, not make them feel uncomfortable.
A healthy give-and-take conversation will allow candidates to learn more as you learn more about them based on the questions they ask. You don't have to stay in the interview room; create opportunities for questions by showing candidates around the office, introducing them to employees and encouraging light conversation.
Pay attention to the questions that candidates ask of you and of your current employees. The nature of a candidate's inquiries will show you where their mind is in relation to the job opportunity. The candidate's interactions with employees will also be worth noting because a candidate could be joining the team in a few weeks.
3. Hire for culture.
Hiring for culture does not necessarily mean getting someone in the door with whom you would love to spend an afternoon watching a game. That may be the case, but your workplace culture is more about the general values and attitudes that pervade every inch of your physical and mental workspace.
Creating a strong company culture includes everything from empowering your employees to living by your values to encouraging employees to balance their work and home lives. Think about it: Why wouldn't candidates want to join up with you if they saw that you gave employees the ability to lead themselves and others, followed through on your values and hosted employee gatherings such as happy hours, cookouts and holiday parties?
In exchange, you expect employees to adjust to the cultural attitudes and behaviors of your company. You must decide for yourself what you consider those to be, whether they include being positive, overdelivering for your clients or taking extreme ownership of deliverables.
You will tend to know a culture fit when you see one. You may not want to make this your most important hiring factor, but it should make your list.
4. Hire people for whom you would work.
Maybe you have heard the maxim that you should hire only those people you feel you could work for. You know what you would like in a superior. Look for those qualities in a subordinate. Maybe, for you, this means finding employees who are responsible, honest, diligent, industrious, intelligent, curious and forthcoming.
If you would value a supervisor who demonstrated all those qualities, then make those qualities a requirement of those you hire, even the entry-level workers. Why? Because those new people could very well advance one day to lead others. In that case, all you've done is create an entire team of good, hard-working, respectable people who you love seeing every day.
The number of tips for hiring the right employees can go well beyond just four, but the above points are among the most vital pieces of advice that young entrepreneurs should absorb when scaling their businesses. Ultimately, you will know when a candidate is right for your business and the culture you have created.