4 Secrets to Hiring the Best Employees for Your Business

Don't waste your time asking job candidates to name their greatest weaknesses (yes, everyone will say they're a perfectionist). Instead, try these four tips from seven entrepreneurs who offer up their best strategies.

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1. INTERVIEW FOR GROWTH

Building and maintaining a sustainable business is having the right infrastructure to do so, and that takes people — great people.

Benedetto Cristofani

The problem is that while you’re on your growth path, you can’t necessarily afford the best and most experienced in the market, so the trick becomes hiring people who you can see will grow with the position — you’re not hiring for now, you’re hiring for where you want to be.

When we interview, we look for hungry people. We want to know where they see themselves five years from now.

— Steven Kark, Paycorp

 

2. LOOK FOR ACCOUNTABILITY

One of our favourite interview questions is ‘Tell me about when you missed a deadline.’  It’s an immediate red flag if they say they never have; either they’re lying or they’re not accountable.

We’re looking for an answer that says they had an issue, what that issue was, that they recognised it, and how they found a solution — solution and accountability are key.

We also believe technology makes the whole process easier, particularly if you are stretched for time. Spend time designing questions and then get someone else to ask them.

Video each interview, watch the interviews in your own time, and then select the top candidates for face-to-face interviews.

— Elvira Riccardi and Donna Silver, Afrizan

 

3. DIG INTO THEIR CURRENT ENVIRONMENT

We can’t compete with corporates on benefits, so we offer something even more valuable: Time and flexibility.

There is a caveat though: Don’t employ someone whose benefits were better than you can offer. We interviewed someone who was a perfect candidate, except she was coming from a large corporate that offered an on-site masseuse for free, amongst other things.

As much as we loved her, we knew we wouldn’t hold on to her. She was used to an office environment that we could never offer.

You need to be hiring people who are stepping up; not the other way around. We always dig into what their current office environment is like.

— Renay and Russell Tandy, Ngage

 

4. MAKE THEM SWEAT

For years we had issues around high staff turnover. We realised that the problem started in the interview process.

We were hiring the wrong people who didn’t suit our culture, and they would quickly burn out, or challenge our expectations.

We realised that 80% of the success of a hire is culture. Natie Kirsh used to recommend going for a drive.

He said that if you sit in the passenger seat and just chat, asking any questions that come to mind, the candidate will soon reveal themselves in the simplest ways.

You’ll see the person, and you can make a judgement call on whether they suit the requirements of the position and the company.  We also love the questioning method of four-year olds.

Whatever the answer to a specific question is, follow it with a ‘why’. At the beginning it’s not even about the answer. Candidates will always arrive at an interview with certain rehearsed answers.

If you keep asking why, eventually they have to start giving you completely unrehearsed, unplanned answers, and that’s when you’ll get a real sense of who they are.

— Ran Neu-Ner and Gil Oved, The Creative Counsel