Most business owners know that hiring and training new employees can be costly and can make a significant impact on a small business’s bottom line, so keeping a good employee in the fold is a priority. Hiring an exceptional candidate, as opposed to an average or merely good candidate, can help to transform your business, particularly in a smaller company where every single employee counts. According to an article in the MailOnline, “The real opportunities in business come from hiring the people that are extraordinary, who can build whole new lines of business for you, who can see opportunities that your competitors don’t.”

Hire people who love their work

It is important to hire the right people for the right reasons and the specific needs of your office or facility. By the right people, I do not mean necessarily the smartest or most experienced, or the person who graduated at the top of the class. I am talking about that person who:

  • Will perform their job at their best for you and for the long run;
  • Will continue working for you for an extended time;
  • Helps bring the group up rather than down;
  • Has the ability to enhance your group in such a way that they are not touting their abilities, but those of your company.

Bad hire or bad train?

John F. Schulte, CPO, FAAOP 

John F. Schulte

Over the course of my career in both private and corporate management environments, I have hired probably more than 100 people. Some were exceptional employees who were major contributors to our success. Others didn’t work out. In most cases, when an employee left or was terminated, I was at fault. Those dismissed were good people; I just did not know how to properly hire new employees.

The only criteria I had used to hire new employees were to find the candidate with the best skills, experiences and ability to match a job description.

Hiring the right candidate can take time. The time spent researching candidates and sifting through resumes adds to your usual workload. One day you realize that your time is valuable, paperwork has become unbearable and reimbursements are shrinking, and you still need to hire someone. Meanwhile, you have narrowed the candidates for the position from 10 or more to three, and then, finally you decide on one candidate to hire.

Then after you have invested 3 months to 6 months or longer in their training, the new employee leaves. Perhaps they didn’t meet your expectations. After all the hours you invested in the employee, you may ask yourself why you made the decision to hire him in the first place.

After all, they had the right skills. They had the experience. Their resume shone and they had excellent letters of recommendation.


Image: Shutterstock 

Then you begin to doubt your own decision-making ability and wonder what happened to the person you hired. Were they a bad hire or a bad train?

Review what went wrong

Look back at their time with your company and review what went wrong.

Think about their first day on the job. Remember, this person represents a considerable investment in your company, both in time and revenue. Ask yourself:

  • How were they welcomed into your work family?
  • Did you assign a dedicated mentor?
  • Were specific goals developed, presented and monitored?
  • Was a checklist devised before their start date, to ensure areas of importance were covered?
  • Did you listen to their problems and concerns and act on them?

Don’t forget the simple things. Sometimes small but important details can get overlooked in the hiring process. Things to consider in the business environment:

  • Work hours
  • Work on weekends
  • Punch in or out
  • On call or paid on-call duties
  • Work attire
  • Paid lunch
  • Parking onsite
  • Pay days
  • Purchasing guidelines
  • Vendor relationships
  • Certain products or manufacturers that you have a special relationship with
  • Office procedures
  • Software and software training

Every business has a different approach to an employee’s personal life and satisfaction with their job. Some companies are more mindful than others at creating a fulfilling and enjoyable work environment. For many new hires, a thoughtful and balanced approach to their personal concerns is just as important as pay and benefits. Your new hire will want to know:

  • What do you do for lunch?
  • Where are the best local restaurants?
  • Does the office staff get together after work?
  • Are they invited to your work-family get togethers?
  • Can some personal business can be attended to during work hours?
  • Are there guidelines about the use of social media?
  • Are personal phone calls permitted?

As an owner/manager, think about the ramifications of hiring and firing:

  • Is your company responsive to changes in the employee’s life?
  • Is the company supportive of the employee’s family?
  • Is the new hire a good fit within your current staff? The smaller the practice, the more important the skillset and personalities must be a good fit.

This person ultimately represents you, your practice and treatment ethics. By agreeing to hire that person, you make some important commitments — to them, financially, and to your business as well.

Effective hiring

In his ebook The 7C’s of Effective Hiring, Alan E. Hall identified seven categories that you should consider to find the best new employees, as follows:

    1. Competent: This is the first factor to consider. Does the potential employee have the necessary skills, experiences and education to successfully complete the tasks you need performed?

    2. Capable: Will this person complete not only the easy tasks but will he or she also deliver on the functions that require more effort and creativity? Being capable means the employee has potential for growth and the ability and willingness to take on more responsibility.

    3. Compatible: Can this person get along with colleagues, existing and potential clients and partners? A critical component to remember is the person’s willingness and ability to be harmonious with you, his or her boss. If the new employee can’t, there will be problems.

    4. Commitment: Is the candidate serious about working for the long term? Or is he or she just passing through, always looking for something better? A history of past jobs and time spent at each provides clear insight on the matter.

    5. Character: Does the person have values that align with yours? Are they honest; do they tell the truth and keep promises? Are they above reproach? Are they selfless and a team player?

    6. Culture: Every business has a culture or a way that people behave and interact with each other. Culture is based on certain values, expectations, policies and procedures that influence the behavior of a leader and employees. Workers who don’t reflect a company’s culture tend to be disruptive and difficult.

    7. Compensation: Be sure the person hired agrees to a market-based compensation package and is satisfied with the offer. If not, an employee may feel unappreciated and thereby under perform. Be careful about granting stock in the company; if not handled well, it will create future challenges.

Hall writes: “Job applicants will give you their answers to the seven categories. They may be modestly presented or exaggerated. You are searching for the truth. To obtain a clearer picture of potential workers, it is recommended that you talk to former employment associates. The references a job candidate provides will nearly always provide a biased report. Instead, ask the candidate for the names of former bosses, peers and subordinates.

Good references will share the truth and not mince words. With these names in hand, call former coworkers and ask them if the job applicant fits the above seven characteristics. This will give you a full and accurate view, good and bad, that will leave you much better equipped to select the best candidate.”

More than a good resume

Not all are cut out to be leaders. Some people and their skillsets or abilities best function as support employees to your company. Making them a manager or supervisor can exceed their abilities during their career, often causing them to fail in the role.

Additionally, by moving an employee to another department or role before they are fully developed may actually cause them to fail. In others, if you recognize the areas in which they excel, you can help them to grow both professionally as well as financially throughout their career by moving them.

Hiring a new employee isn’t always a sure thing. But it is important to remember the person or persons you hire are an investment in your company’s future. Take the time to make the right decision, find the right person for the right position and just like your 401k, over time, your investment will return the most for you throughout your career.

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