Unfortunately, I have hired and fired hundreds of people in my 21 years of owning my business. In short, I was terrible at it. But because I recognized the impact both culturally and financially to CFF, I forced myself to get better and develop a system that works. You can put this process into place within your company and I guarantee your hiring problems will be dramatically reduced. Here are my 7 tips to a better hiring process.
1. You need to look at a lot of candidates. On any given day, CFF will have hiring ads placed in various places. Hiring is a full time job for growing companies. At CFF, we use Indeed, Ladders, Zip Recruiter, Craigslist and referral sources, 24 hours a day 7 days a week. We receive resumes daily. Think of it like fishing… the more hooks you have in the water, the better your chances of catching someone.
2. Make them call you. We don’t put a lot of weight into resumes but we put a lot of weight in the initial phone call. We offer our phone number and proper contact on every job posting we have. Why? Because communication is vital to success – people need to talk to people. Put a phone number in your posting and allow applicants to call you. Trust me on this… it’s easy for anyone to send you a resume, but when they call you, they have just taken initiative.
3. Do personality testing – We believe that personality testing is vital to our hiring process. We use THE PREDICTIVE INDEX test. It takes 10 minutes to complete and after our initial phone call, if we think the applicant could be a fit, we send them a link to it. If they fill it out, GREAT, if they don’t, you don’t want them anyway. If the test shows they fit our culture, we invite them to the next step.
4. Have a hiring expo. Set a date (we do it every other week) and invite all of the qualified candidates to a HIRING EXPO. This gets multiple qualified applicants to your office at one time. Therefore, you don’t have to meet with them individually. The hiring expo allows you to see how they interact with strangers, their level of preparation and it allows you to deliver your message to a group rather than individually. This process has been a HUGE time saver for us.
5. 3 Interview Process – I believe in a 3 interview process at my company. Here is how it works:
Interview #1 – With me and my VP of the appropriate department. I ask one primary question: “what are you most proud of in your life during the last 6 months?” This tells me a lot. If they have difficulty answering, they are not winning in the game of life. I’m looking for people who want to WIN, and I force them to give me current examples from within their life.
Interview #2 – is with everyone else in my company. Yes… everyone. I believe in full transparency, so I allow applicants who have made it this far to meet their potential co-workers, Operations, IT, Accounting, Video Production and Sales all make time. We provide 5 minutes with each person, and the applicant can ask anything they want. “How hard is it… really?” “How many calls do I REALLY need to make?” “Do you like your boss?” are all questions that end up getting asked and discussed in these short meetings.
Interview #3 – customer service surveys. We will pull our last 50 deals (about one week for us) and print simple one-page customer service surveys for each. The applicant, in this interview, will call these clients and ask them a few questions such as, “Did we return your calls promptly?” “Did we save you money?” “Why did you choose CFF?” and most importantly, “Would you do business with us again?” This final interview allows the applicant to hear directly from our clients of their experience with us. It provides the applicant the confidence that they are making the correct choice by working for us. In addition, we get to hear the applicant on the phone. If they can’t have simple conversations like these, how will they ever handle difficult conversations about strategy and market share with a client.
6. Forget about references. I used to collect 3 references from applicants. Two business related and one personal. I never got a bad reference, and hired many bad employees. References are not part of our hiring process anymore. If you are lucky to get an applicant from a referral source you trust, that is about as good as you can hope for.
7. Break some bread. I remember taking a new salesperson to lunch, AFTER WE HAD HIRED HIM, and realized by the time we were done with lunch, that he was not a good hire. He treated the waiter poorly, couldn’t decide what to order, and didn’t want to talk about business at all. During your hiring process, you need to break some bread. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, it doesn’t matter, but you need to see the applicant outside of the work environment.
Bonus tip: Your gut is not a good indicator. I knew it all in the past and would only trust my gut during the hiring process. I was so wrong. Patience, conversations, interviews, feedback, personality tests, and customer surveys tell me a story that is far better than the story my gut could ever tell me.
Hiring is one of the biggest challenges any employer will face. It is a full time job that never stops. The effort you put into hiring great people will pay off in droves. Doing it poorly… well you already know how that story plays out.