One of the biggest decisions a business owner makes is hiring that first new employee.  On the one hand, they wonder if they can afford to pay someone full time.  On the other hand, they worry about whether that person will do the work the way they want it done.  If I had a third hand, it would point to the third issue — the business owner needs to hire someone who will represent the company in the manner that will reflect positively on the owner.  And the list of concerns goes on…

Assuming that the business owner can afford to hire a new employee, what are the three biggest obstacles to hiring superior performers and what can they do about them?

#1 Be clear about the job – why it exists.  Too often businesses create a job description as a list of activities and tasks, but fail to consider the desired results.  For example, a task might be “answer the phones,” but the desired result might be “to provide customers with accurate, timely and friendly service.” Having a clear picture of why the person answers the phone will give the company insight that helps them overcome the second biggest obstacle to hiring superior performers.

#2 Be clear about what it takes for superior performance on the job. Thinking about why the job exists, it is easier to objectively identify what it takes for superior performance.  A job that requires significant interaction with people in a friendly manner will require a different person than a job that requires attention to detail and data analysis.  With clarity of what it takes for superior performance and using assessment tools, the business owner can identify whether you are (or are NOT) a good match for the job.

#3 Be clear about their company’s culture and the shared core values. Just because a person can do the job, doesn’t mean they will be a good fit in your company.  Companies will use the job posting and interview process to attract the person who will thrive in their company’s culture. This means using values-based questions to help them recognize a good fit.

A thorough and effective selection process takes an investment of time and money but a bad-hiring decision can be significantly more expensive.  It is worth the time and effort for companies to invest in hiring a superior performer; otherwise they will end up paying the price for a bad hire later.

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