If you make consistently great hires, your business is more likely to be successful. And as a small business owner or leader, the first hurdle is learning how to hire great people yourself—you are the first ingredient in the recipe. But not every leader knows what exactly that recipe is. Many of us improvise when we hire. Just as a chef knows what tastes right, entrepreneurs think we know what feels right when it comes to identifying talent. In reality, some us do and some of us don’t.
Improvising on the recipe does not scale.
If you owned a multi-location restaurant chain, would you let your kitchen staff improvise on the way that they prepare the burgers?
Hiring is no different. As your company grows, you must learn how to hire great peoples. This requires a clearly defined process.
No Process —> No Growth
Once we hit 10 employees, things got messy. We felt the pain of not having well-defined processes throughout the company—in sales, in service, and in hiring. New hires improvised with their job responsibilities. And hiring managers improvised with their hiring. It felt like we were stuck in place.
In 2012, we launched our hiring software product. Once we started utilizing the system we saw a night and day difference in the talent we brought to the team. We now have over 30 employees, and our team is as strong than ever.
Building effective processes takes time—time that you don’t think you have. But it’s the best investment you can make in a growing business.
The recipe for consistently great hires is a consistently great process.
So what is this recipe we speak of for a consistently great hiring process?
STEP 1: Know the Order
When you train your team to deliver your products and services, you must make sure that they know what “great” looks like. Do the same thing for hiring. Our clients primarily hire for five or fewer roles, making it easier to create standards and justify the time investment to develop them.
Before you write the job description, think about what it takes to be successful in the role. This starts with a written assumption that when hiring for any role, the individual will be goal-oriented, a team player, a strong communicator, accountable for their actions, and will represent the characteristics of the top ten percent of the talent pool. In order to begin to draft a job description, we start with a planning tool called a Missing Person Report. This report documents the behaviors, qualities, and motivations that are most important for success in the role. These competencies can include specific skills like salesmanship, or particular personality traits. For each competency, we then list how we will measure it in a candidate. Finally, we begin breaking down the daily weekly, and monthly tasks and responsibilities to lead into our job description.
It can be difficult to pinpoint the key, but intangible, traits for a role, so begin by studying your top performers. What motivates them to succeed? What are their daily behaviors? Give them a personality assessment for further insight. You can also give assessments to your average team members to provide perspective on how your top performers stand apart.
When you take the time to plan for great hires, you’ll save the time it takes to manage poor hires and subsequent turnover.
STEP 2: Follow the Recipe
Managers succeed when their teams do well. But they must be trained to identify top talent and given resources to. attract qualified applicants.
These are the key ingredients in a successful hiring process:
- Job description with key competencies
- Job posting with automatic distribution to the top career sites
- Prescreen questions to identify top potential applicants and disqualify others
- Assessments to measure candidate personality and aptitude vs. current top performers
- Interview guides with questions focused on each key competency
- Communication resources including email templates
- A playbook with all of the hiring steps and procedure clearly outlined
STEP 3: Inspect the Plate
Most companies have quality control systems in place to make sure their people consistently deliver great products, services or experiences for their customers. This could be as simple as a separate kitchen employee inspecting the food and presentation on the plate before it is delivered to the customer.
What kind of quality control system do you have in place for hiring?
Whenever we hire someone—whether it’s a director or an entry-level role—the hiring manager must present a case for the new hire to our leadership team. This gives the leaders insight into hires while ensuring hiring managers follow all the steps in our playbook and are truly confident in their candidate.
We then administer reference and background checks. Bad hires can often be weeded out at this phase, which reduces your company’s potential liabilities.
Are you still hiring with paper order tickets?
Modern restaurants rely on point of sale (POS) systems for successful operation of their business. This provides a standardized way to enter customer orders and expedite preparation and delivery. Because POS systems are used across all locations, consistency improves, mistakes are minimized, and executives are in the best position to lead by having tools to track sales, order preferences, and speed of delivery.
Compare POS systems with the paper ticket ordering system used by restaurants in the old days. My first job in high school was working as a busboy at Burger Bob’s, a 1950’s-style diner located on a public golf course. Their system was simple: The servers wrote the customers’ orders on a paper ticket and gave them to Bob, who hung them on the line and got to work cooking. When the orders were ready, Bob gave the plates and order ticket to the server. At the end of the meal, the customer would use the ticket to pay Bob at the register. At the end of the day, Bob would go into the back and tally the receipts for the day.
This system worked well enough because Bob had a simple operation. Plus, employees were loyal to Bob and did not leave.
Imagine if Bob had opened additional locations, or if he let someone else do part of his job? His system would not scale.
Is your current hiring process closer to a POS system or Bob’s paper tickets? If you are using email and spreadsheets to manage your hiring process, then you are part of Team Bob.
The tough part is that the “old way” is familiar. You’re used to it and may not have the perspective to realize how outdated things are and the impact this has on your company. A recent client had a central spreadsheet they used to manage applicants across dozens of retail locations. They had an HR administrator whose main job was to manage this spreadsheet. She emailed dozens of field managers each Monday to remind them to update the spreadsheet. Ouch.
If you are serious about creating a recipe for consistently great hires across your organization, you need a centralized system to help your team succeed. Don’t rely on paper tickets to get it done.
For more ideas and actionable advice, download our ebook: Hire More Superstars.