What's More Important In Hiring Than A Good Cover Letter? A Lot

Hiring the right people for the job is easier said than done. Choosing your "9-5 roommates" shouldn't be taken lightly.

What makes the perfect candidate? Is it their prompt 2:20 p.m. arrival for their 2:30 p.m. interview, or their cover letter so well written that you couldn’t even have caught your own attention that fast?

It takes much more than punctuality and grammatical prowess to be the perfect employee. And just because an employee will work hard doesn’t mean they will work . . . for your company that is. Here are eight considerations to take when looking for a new hire:

1. Are They Job Jumpers?

Look at how long the candidates have spent at their previous jobs--this may seem like Hiring 101, but it is so important that you don’t waste resources on training a jumper. You are taking a current employee away from their work and having them dedicate operational hours to educating your new hire, so you want to make sure it’s worth not only your energy but your team's. For every hour spent on your work, how much time are they spending on Indeed lining up their next move?

2. Do They Follow Playground Rules?

You don’t want to bring someone who needs their hand-held every step of the way; you need employees that have a sense of independence. Don’t create a new full-time job for yourself or one of your employees that requires helicoptering around your new hire to make sure they understand their work and are getting the job done.

3. What Does Your Front Line Think?

Often interviewees don’t think much of the fact that the receptionist is watching, but rest assured they are. First impressions are essential, and if the candidate is giving you one version of themselves and the front desk another, it is hard to be confident about what they will be like once they are comfortable in their new position.

It also shows who the person is. Are they considerate of all employees or only those they feel are in the power seat? As John Wooden, former head coach at UCLA, stated, “character is what you do when nobody is looking.”

4. How Did They Perform On Trial Day?

Let the person come in and actually see the people and feel the environment before offering the position. It is equally important that the interviewee picks you, as it is that you pick them. Let the employees give feedback as the person comes in for a few hours. If their expectations do not meet the reality of your environment, the working relationship will be short lived.

5. Do They Mesh With Your Company Culture?

Every office is different. Only you truly know if someone’s personality will mesh with your other employees. Identify the type of environment you are trying to build for your team and consider if this individual will contribute on more than just a business level.

If you bring in somebody with amazing work experience but the social skills of a famished grizzly bear, you’re going to find your employees spending more time discussing the bad habits of the new hire than they actually do working with him.

The last thing you want to do is offset the balance of the office. The people in your office are essentially your 9-5 roommates, so it is important that you enjoy working with them as much you appreciate the work they put out.

6. Do You Share A Vision?

You can have a vision on your own, but in order to execute it, you need a team. You have to be comfortable that the people around you can help move that vision forward. If what you envision is not in line with what they picture, you will spin your wheels and get nowhere fast.

7. You May Need To Accept Defeat

With all of the above being considered, sometimes the wrong person can still end up on-board. It is important to be as comfortable patting yourself on the back for a successful new hire as you are accepting that someone might not have been the right fit.

If by chance you do hire someone that doesn’t really fit, and you spend time trying to get things right, the best thing you can do is take the plunge and let them go. Someone once told me they correlated these situations with the saying "the longer you leave trash to sit in one place, the greater the odor." The problem will only get worse over time. You are not only doing them a favor by allowing them to go out and find the right fit for them, but yourself and your whole team.

8. There Is No Perfect Equation

As with most things in business, there is no perfect formula to get it right every time. That being said, I think it is best to end with a quote from Jim Collins.

In his book, Good to Great, Jim states:

People are not your most important asset. The right people are. Get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.

No matter what kind of business you are in, having the right people determines success or failure.

--Shelly Fisher is a consummate entrepreneur with over 25 years of business experience, having founded and operated two other companies before starting Hope Paige Medical ID Marketplace.

[Image: Flickr user Luc Legay]

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2 Comments

  • Helpful tips, for sure. I am sure the author didn't intend it this way, but writing a phrase like "Only you truly know if someone’s personality will mesh with your other employees" is exactly the kind of rationale employers use (unwittingly or not) when they don't hire minorities.

    Someone from a different culture can be just what a company needs to refresh a stale environment or invigorate a creative atmosphere.

  • Nice post! I believe unemployed should read such articles before sending a resume or going on an interview. You future career might depend on what you write\say while looking for a job. In fact one should search for various information, tips from hirers all the time to stay up-to-date. I also use one source all the time, http://resumewritinglab.com/ is a good website for job hunters, it contains good articles and provides with effective tips and some positive thinking, I like it!