If I had a magic wand and could wish one thing for each of the business owners I work with, it would be, “Give them a strong team.” That’s because I know the quality of the team behind the leader can make or break a business. It’s the difference between slogging through mud and running effortlessly. Just one good hire can change the whole outlook for a business, and improve morale, efficiency and profit. I know because I’ve seen it happen.
But hiring goes so wrong so often.
Why do people struggle to hire competent, ambitious, responsible people? There are so many good ones out there! I’ve actually spent years pondering this question and I’ve decided that hiring goes wrong for two reasons. Let me explain.
Most small business folks aren’t experienced hiring managers. They just don’t hire a lot, and when they do they often take short cuts (hiring friends or family), and don’t really develop a system that gets improved over time. This is easy enough to fix. There are lots of resources for writing good job ads, screening candidates, writing an interview guide (an interview without an written interview guide has a 50% chance of a successful hire), etc. Once good hiring practices are implemented, things start to get better.
But better isn’t good enough.
You also have to look at what’s going on for the business owner who’s doing the hiring. This may not happen to you, but I’ve seen it often enough that I have to mention it. Some business owners feel like they don’t
deserve to have good help. Either they are insecure about their own business skills and don’t want to be “found out”, they legitimately doubt that anyone good would come work for them, or they are just so
used to getting by on scraps. But for whatever reason, they can’t visualize someone good, someone amazingly, really good on their team. So they don’t look for that person, or subtlety sabotage the interview when one shows up. Sometimes this happens even after that potential star gets hired.
I think many business owners are all too aware of their businesses shortcomings, and far too willing to let those warts show. They don’t want anyone to join “under false pretenses” so they want to share every terrible thing about them and their business. That also have a hard time seeing all the great things that their business has to offer. So they have a hard time selling the opportunity.
What do you think is most important to a successful hire? How have you found that difference maker for your team?
Photo credit: Grey World