24 Tips For Making A Great Hire

I grew up in a pastor’s home, so I spent lots of Sundays (every) in church.  Once per month, the church shared a ceremony called ‘Communion’ or ‘The Lord’s Supper.’  It involves drinking a little cup of juice like you see in the picture above and eating a wafer of bread.

The massive upside to me came when the service was finished and the people put their now-empty cups in a little holder in the bench in front of them.  That’s when I could go and collect one drop from each empty cup until I had a full little shot glass of grape juice all to myself.  Okay, you’re quietly retching, but to me this was glory.

The unintended consequence for me is that I now have a stellar immune system that has seen it all.  That’s why COVID doesn’t upset me too much.  I have this basic belief that my bugs are (much) bigger than their bugs.

Of course it could have gone the other way too (how can I have herpes, I’m only 6?).

Making a wrong hire also carries unintended consequences.  It’s fabulously expensive, it upsets the rest of the team, it takes a ton of mental energy, and results in lots of lost opportunity.  Hiring decisions are the most important decisions you make, and are the hardest to fix when they go wrong.

The Professional Leadership Institute provides training on How to Hire Good Employees and offers a free preview.

So here are 24 tips to making a great hire

  1. Past performance is the best indicator of future performance.  Check references!!
  2. Find people who already share your values.  When hires don’t work out, over 80% of the time it’s about values and fit, not competence
  3. Press for areas of weakness.  Ask the candidate to show you that they have self awareness by owning their weaknesses
  4. Don’t settle for, “I work too hard, I care too much, I take work home with me.”  Find real weaknesses that can and will hurt the team
  5. Use these questions to screen a candidate and find a great hire:
    1. What are you good at doing?  Give examples
    2. What are you weak at doing?  Give examples
    3. How will your past bosses rate you out of 10 WHEN we contact them?
    4. What are your career goals?
    5. Why us?
  6. Check their social media accounts.  Screen out people who post pictures of themselves at Hells Angels conventions
  7. Have them complete our free online DISC Personalities assessment.  Ask them if they agree with the results and ask for examples.  Find that here for free: https://professionalleadershipinstitute.com/disc-personalities-assessment/
  8. Don’t do all the talking.  When you’re talking, you aren’t learning anything about them
  9. Explore red flags such as:
    1. Too much job hopping
    2. No increase in responsibility or pay
    3. Bad mouthing past employers (one day you’ll be their past employer)
    4. Being fired, laid off, restructured
    5. Looking for an easier gig
    6. Encountered challenges and gave up
    7. No career goals
  10. Great hires stand out in some way from their peers.  In every group of 100 candidates, 20 are superstars and cost no more than the other 80.  Seek them out
  11. THE BEST INDICATOR OF PAST PERFORMANCE IS FUTURE PERFORMANCE!

  12. Keep a weather eye out for people who are outstanding wherever you go and recruit them
  13. Recognize that the best candidates are already successfully working somewhere else
  14. Ask what they know about your organization (I once had an interview sit down and say, “So, what do you guys do around here?”  Followed by, “Hey can I borrow a pen?”)
  15. Never criticize a candidate.  Instead thank them for being honest
  16. Ask how they left their last job.  Were they fired, laid off, or was it a mutual decision
  17. If it was mutual, they were probably fired or laid off.  Dig a bit to find the truth
  18. Build rapport early.  Thank them for taking the time, let them know you want to find out the best things about them
  19. Look for people who were pulled from job to job, not pushed out.  Great people get pulled, weaker ones get pushed
  20. Find out if they actually accomplished something, or if they just rose with all the other boats when the tide came in
  21. Do tandem interviews.  Once person asks questions, the other writes copious notes to review after the interview
  22. Consider a working interview.  Let them help with a project, work a short shift or otherwise get to know you a little better
  23. Don’t hire a fine person.  Wait for the right person.  A great hire!
  24. Ask yourself if someone internally could do the job 70% as well as an outside hire.  Develop your own people first if possible

These are a few tips.  What works for you?  How do you make a great hire? Add it to the comments section below.

Of course, you might also consider taking our hiring course.  Watch a free preview here:

How to Hire Good Employees

Implement one or more of these ideas in your next hiring experience, and see your chances of finding an A-player go up dramatically!  And one more piece of advice:  let your little kids eat food off the floor next time you’re at McDonalds.  Sure it’s gross, but they’ll thank you when they grow up!

Getting ahead is about getting started!

Trevor head shot in office 1

Trevor Throness is a speaker, consultant, and author of “The Power of People Skills.”  He is also co-founder and senior instructor at professionalleadershipinstitute.com https://professionalleadershipinstitute.com/

Find more about “The Power of People Skills” here: https://www.amazon.com/Power-People-Skills-Dramatically-Performance/dp/1632651068

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