5 Essential Ingredients for Making a Smart Hire

Finding the right people to add to a team is almost a sacred process. The perfect candidate can make everyone better. The wrong hire can drive the whole team crazy.

learn more about Marty Fukuda

By Marty Fukuda • Dec 15, 2014

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Finding the right people to add to your team is almost like engaging in a sacred process, whether you're recruiting your first employee or your thousandth. The right hire can make everyone feel better. The wrong one can drive the whole team crazy.

Here are five tips to consider:

Related: 9 Questions to Ask Candidates' References

1. Impose a three-interview minimum rule.

Even the best evaluators of talent have been fooled in job interviews. An applicant presents himself or herself one way in a first meeting and then acts in a whole different manner after being onboarded.

Or perhaps you miss out in hiring a superstar because an applicant had an off day. The three-interview rule helps solve this issue. By spending quality time with the applicant on several occasions, you and your team can make the most accurate assessment about a candidate's fit. This strategy (of having multiple interviews) also lets you obtain second or third opinions from other colleagues when you included them in the decision-making process.

Your company reputation likewise benefits from this approach. By conducting at least three rounds of interviews per hire, even when recruiting for entry-level posts, you're branding your firm as a selective one. The perception that your company is difficult to gain admission to (much like a top-tier university) can attract higher-caliber people. Some of the nation's most successful corporations have used this tactic to their advantage.

2. Wait for the right person.

If your company is growing rapidly, you may be tempted to try to bring in reinforcements quickly, rather than carefully. Hold off. The wrong hire will damage the culture and the morale of the team far more than waiting another week.

If team members are drowning in work or pushing for you to make a hire, be sure to explain to them why you want to find the right person. Stress that you're thinking of them and the overall culture -- and include them in the selection process.

3. Hire for attitude. Teach skills.

Certain roles, such as that of chief financial officer, simply require someone with a high level of experience. For other positions, hire candidates with winning attitudes and who fit in well with existing staffers.

Not only will the positivity of such candidates be contagious. Their can-do outlook will endear them to co-workers, who will be more likely to train them to achieve success. If you hire a highly skilled worker with an awful attitude, soon no one will be happy.

Related: 5 Tactics for Checking for That Elusive Cultural Fit

4. Hire for cultural fit.

Every business has a culture -- and it's OK that your organization's vibe is unique. Even so, knowing what works and what does not within your company is key information that everyone on your team must understand.

To that end, ask open-ended questions during the interview process to help you identify a candidate's fit. Treat this element with as much importance as you would any other credential. If you do, you'll build a team of people who are ready to work together.

5. Set expectations.

Some leaders make the mistake of waiting until the onboarding process to establish workplace expectations for a new employee. In my opinion, this process should start during the three-interview sequence. The better job that you as an employer do in painting a picture of the environment and the role, the more likely a new hire will meet and exceed your expectations -- and your team's, too.

Related: Avoid Costly Churn. Provide Candidates a Realistic Job Preview.

Marty Fukuda

Chief Operating Officer of N2 Publishing

Chicago native Marty Fukuda is the chief operating officer of N2 Publishing, overseeing operations at its corporate headquarters in Wilmington, N.C. He first joined the company as an area director in 2008 after working in the direct sales and print industries. 

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