Many successful leaders dread hiring new employees when they need to be relishing the chance to dramatically change the results of their business. Recently, I received a call from an extremely frustrated business owner. He had just come to the realization that two of his newest team members were not going to make it to the 90-day mark.  For him, that epiphany feels like taking two huge steps back, distracting him from growing his business. I challenged him to view this as an opportunity to uplift his entire team’s performance.  It’s important to view hiring as an opportunity to raise standards even if your standards are already high.

Avoid the Painless New Hire

One mistake I see quite often is hiring the Painless New Hire. This is someone you already know and like who may be between jobs or in a job they hate. They should be able to do the job so you bypass all your hiring processes and hire them.  Rarely is this Painless New Hire the best hire. This usually plays out as a prolonged, mutually unsatisfying relationship. The kicker is it usually works well enough such that you tolerate mediocrity at the risk of ruining the relationship and avoid the hassle of replacing him.

Establishing a clear strategy and direction for hiring your open positions will avoid this type of “shiny object” candidates and allow you to focus on the best candidate that fits the position. Does it make sense to fill the open position with an existing team member as part of their career progression? Should you redefine the role to match your future vision?  How about bench strength? Where do you need more depth of experience? Thoughtfully answering these questions before interviewing will position the organization to make the best possible hire.

Consider the Culture Match

Ever had an employee that never quite fit in with the team?  Culture fit is key to driving collaboration and cooperation among team members. If your organization is casual and fun in nature, does the new technician need to have a sense of humor and not be easily distracted?  Then interview for those qualities. See if she laughs at your G-rated joke. If your team frequently gets together after work, how important is it that the new team member joins in the tradition?  In some organizations, the team members are like family. I recently interviewed a candidate employed with a large corporation who missed the comradery of working for a small business where he and his coworkers would grab a beer after work periodically. He was a perfect fit culturally for this 10-person organization.

Question What Matters

Most of us take our personal values for granted. They are innately imbedded into our being.  And it’s difficult to fathom others not understanding them. When discussing their most frustrating employees with leaders, I often find that the employee is not aligned with their values. Sometimes it takes being burned by an employee for us to include value questions in the interviewing process. My cardinal rule for customer care teams is “Never belittle or make fun of a client EVER.”  My interview questions revolve around having the candidate tell me about one of the most frustrating clients they had to help. What was the situation? How did the client feel? How did the candidate feel?  How did the candidate handle their own feelings?  These questions will generally shed light on whether they treat clients with patience and empathy or frustration and an eye-roll. Which organizational values should you question candidates to ensure alignment? Collaboration? Personal Growth? Continuous improvement?

Learn to love hiring again. These simple, yet powerful, strategies are essential to assure hiring the ideal employee for your organization.