How lucky do you feel?

When you need to add a critical member to your team, whether because you’ve grown, or because you had a team member quit, the situation can feel desperate. 

Everyone feels overworked, especially you, the business owner. You are not just doing your job, but at least part of the job you need to hire for, and you have to do the job of hiring! It’s overwhelming. 

So it’s no wonder that I see business owners reach for hiring shortcuts.

But the reason that people like me recommend following a more involved hiring process is that it regularly produces high quality hires — anything less might produce a high-quality hire — but we don’t know.

As anyone who has hired too quickly and gotten the wrong person can tell you, the only thing worse than having an open position is to have that position filled by the wrong person. So the question is do you feel lucky?

Improve your odds by gathering more candidates

If your hire is for a critical position (and in a small business they are all critical) you don’t want just anyone, you want the right person. What are the odds that the first person you meet is perfect for this job? In fact, the more people you meet, the more likely you are to find that perfect person. That’s how statistics work. 

But developing a large pool of qualified candidates is hard, and screening them to find the best candidates is even harder. So I frequently see business owners taking shortcuts to find talent. They may look through their database or LinkedIn contacts to find someone that they think might fit and then the pursue just that person. Or they send a few emails to see if someone can refer a candidate or two in. 

There are no shortcuts to a good hire

Both of these two shortcuts have the same critical flaw: you don’t see enough candidates. If you are looking for a rare talent; someone who’s smart, capable, knowledgeable in your industry, proactive, and a self-starter, you can’t just pick up anybody off the street! You’re looking for an uncommon person. To find someone really great you have to look at a lot of candidates and that’s the shortcut that these business owners are trying to take. They are trying to find great talent without screening a large pool of candidates. 

If you want to find good people you have to look at a lot of candidates. Or you could bet your business on just getting lucky.

Now, there is a way to do some of your homework ahead of time, but that’s a topic for Saturday’s email…

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