How to hire the best people you’ve ever worked with

18 June 2007

For many small businesses there comes a point when you have to decide; employ or outsource? For some businesses outsourcing may not be an option. In a lot of instances, particularly with the small to medium sector, proprietors may never have had the experience of interviewing and hiring employees. How you proceed at this juncture can make or break a small business. An enthusiastic, capable and experienced addition to your business will be worth their weight in gold whilst unmotivated, surly employees will help you shed customers like you never thought possible.

I came across this great no-nonsense article by Marc Andreessen this morning and thought I’d share it with you.

I think Marc’s got more here than perhaps he intended as the article can be applied to not only the hiring of staff but also in your selection of contractors or service providers to your business. Sure, with suppliers you may be able to quickly move on to the next one if you’re not satisfied with your current one though, depending on the amount of work they do for you or the nature of it, this may be more time consuming and costly than you think – particularly where your business image is concerned. In my opinion, trust is one of the most underrated commodities in business today.

I agree with Marc wholeheartedly in his assessment that drive, curiosity and ethics may be some of the major traits to look for and to be wary of those claiming ‘big company’ backgrounds and ongoing lists of qualifications. A degree or stint at a large company does not always produce motivated individuals – in fact I’ve often found this to be quite the opposite. To quote Marc:

“Career success is great to look for — but it’s critical to verify that the candidates out of hugely successful companies actually did what they claim in their roles at those companies. And that they really get it, that the real world is a lot tougher than being IBM in the 80’s, or Microsoft in the 90’s, or Google today.”

Marc’s suggestions for interviewing and testing prospective employees prior to hiring are essential reading to any business owners lacking hiring and firing experience.

In 14 years in sales and marketing, I’ve seen most of the situations Marc discusses and witnessed the variety of characters he talks about – and the way they CAN make or break companies. There’s nothing worse than seeing companies lose good employees for the inclusion of bad ones so I hope you can take something away from this article to help you in your quest for the right stuff!

I think this paragraph just about sums it up:

“Finally, although this goes without saying: value the hell out of the great people you do have on your team. Given all of the above, they are incredibly special people.

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