Stop making hiring mistakes, learn 3 counter-intuitive tips

Screen Shot 2014-02-09 at 1.33.20 PMHire the right person over the right skills
I believe the largest hiring mistake that’s pervasive in American business falls within the interviewers subconscious bias towards hiring people we like, which often means people like us. DON’T DO THIS – IT WILL KILL YOUR BUSINESS!

Every company needs the right assemblage of different types of people to do various jobs with excellence. When you have too many similar kinds of people, at some time in the future your team is destined to fall apart.

Hiring the right person is everything. Take that over someone with the perfect set of skills and experience. If you can find both, great! But remember skills can be taught, you’re never going to change who people are. So ultimately – look for the right person.

How do you know who the right person is?
This is the great challenge in hiring that no system, assessment, or hiring manager will ever get perfectly all the time. I believe there are very few activities in a company as important as hiring the right people for the right jobs. This is what you want to learn how to master. If you’re building a company then you’ve got to become a great talent scout. It’s one of your main skills to develop. Assessments and tools are great, but your ability to make the right final choice will make the difference. Personally, I will continue to play some part of the interview process at Choose Growth for as long as I possibly can, because I highly value its importance.

Jim Collins says it so well in his book “Good to Great”: “Get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.”

Here are some tips to developing this skill:

1. Make sure they will contribute to the culture you’re creating
Be able to describe the culture you’re building, be as descriptive as possible, in fact, you may want to write it out. Culture is the unwritten rules people go by. It’s what drives behavior – the ethos of your company. What is the culture you want in your company? Only when you intimately understand the culture you want will you ask the right questions to discover who will contribute to it’s direction.

2. Make sure the daily tasks align with the person’s natural strengths
You have to understand the different ways people are wired. I believe there’s an innate wiring within us that’s unique. Of course we change over the years but there’s a core that stays with us. Although everyone’s unique, there are human energies you can pinpoint that will give you unbelievable ability to understand if someone’s wired to excel in your position.

Pick a good assessment to learn about the four discreet human energies, I don’t care which one it is, most of the validated ones will give you an understanding of these main differences in how we are wired.

The only way to match how someone is wired with his or her daily tasks is to have absolute clarity on the position you’re interviewing to fill. You have to completely throw away your job advertisements and create a new document. Think through the activities they will need to do, be specific and write them down. On Monday they will do this and this, then this. Think about the percentage of their day they will be doing the various activities. Have a really clear sense on what they will actually be doing. This will greatly heighten your awareness in the interview process to make sure their strengths match the parts of their job they will be doing the most.

3. Recruit in the first interview
The best people you want to hire care more about doing significant work than they care about money and benefits. If you do a traditional first interview just quizzing them, increasing their nervousness, you will attract C and D players. You want to attract the people who have choices in where they work, and the people who have choices will only work for a leader and company they believe in and will have room to truly contribute their genius. They want to work for someone who doesn’t give off that power trip they’ve felt before from strong Hierarchical companies.

Instead of exerting your power, give respect before they’ve earned it, which drives them to want to earn what you’ve given.

Do a great screening process so you get the people in front of you that you’re interested in, otherwise you will become a jaded interviewer doing the same thing over and over vs. treating the applicant like the most important person in the world. Throw out the strict interview agenda in the first interview. Every first interview I do is different because every applicant is so diverse. Of course there are some things you need to ask everyone. Instead of a rigid process, review your culture document and review the details of the position. Have clarity about what mix of human energy you’re looking for.

Then go into the interview curious and ready to ask meaningful questions, ready to engage them as you describe the culture of your company and inspire them with your words about the future you’re creating together with your team. Give them a taste of what they could be contributing to if they get chosen. People are starving for a place to truly contribute their genius, to have the freedom to be themselves while being part of something bigger than themselves.

The whole goal of the first interview is to further attract the best people, to spend half of the time attracting them to you and your company.

Now you have brilliant people vying for second interviews. You won’t believe the caliber of people you are saying no to because you’ve hired the right person for your culture, with strengths that match the work and who will contribute to the culture and build your vision with you.

By Isaac Tolpin, Leadership Expert, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Founder of Choose Growth and Co-Founder of Throwing Boulders. Isaac has an inexhaustible well of energy and motivation and uses it to fuel his driving purpose: To elevate everyone around him to make their highest and best contributions to the world.

About Guest Author

Guest Authors Welcomed! Please visit to learn more about how to get published on our site.