How do you hire the right person so you can build a highly successful organization?
The choices you make are critical. Like a great marriage or a bitter divorce, hiring or firing an employee affects everyone. If the new person is the right fit – harmony for you and the team. If it’s a bad fit, like a bad divorce, not only do you lose time and money, it affects the morale of your team.
So how do you know if a person is the right fit for your company? And if they seem like a good candidate, but lacking in skills, how much should you spend training them if they still need to develop their skills?
Before you answer those questions, understand the marketplace. The best people are trying to decide amongst several opportunities at once. If you want to get their attention, you have to cut past all the noise of all the recruiters and ads.
When it comes to building a company and organization, having the right people in place is most important. In business, the best team wins because they will find a solution no matter what happens to the market or the economy. The right team and right culture will be resourceful and will always be able to solve problems.
My hiring philosophy and my leadership style are very different from most CEOs and business owners. Most companies hire based on resumes. My company does not. Not a single person on my team has ever submitted a resume. Even though we are a rapidly growing global organization, no one on my team has done a traditional kind of approach.
Watch this video about how we hire the best talent.
Hire For Attitude And Train For Skills
There’s a saying, “Hire for attitude and train for skills.” Even for the leadership positions within my organization, not every single person was “qualified” for the job. None of them “have the training” for their particular position.
They might join the team to do a certain task and from there when I see they’ve got potential, I give them more and more responsibilities. They rise up the ranks depending on their attitude, their skills, their capabilities, their desires, and their loyalties.
I don’t believe in resumes because anybody can write a good resume. A candidate can give a very good interview but when you actually hire them, they’re terrible. The reason they are good at giving interviews is because that’s what they do. When it comes to getting the work done, they cannot do it.
So I like to make people jump through a lot of hoops. Not the traditional hoops in which you submit a resume and go to multiple interviews and take personality tests or complete certain tasks to see how you perform. Talk is cheap.
The people who apply to my organization send me a video resume. I get a better sense of their personality on video. After they send me a clip, I give them a series of projects to see how they perform. I watch their attitude and I always give them different opportunities and chances to excel. Then I ask for feedback from my team.
If the candidate does well, then I give them more and more responsibilities. I always look at a person, not their skill set because skill set and knowledge can be acquired later.
Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, also looks beyond the resume. A question he likes to ask during the hiring process is “What didn’t make it onto your resume?” Candidates can talk about their personal accomplishments… anything that would show their resolve, empathy toward others, or ingenuity.
Hire People For Your Company Environment
Everyone is different. Some people thrive in a more quiet and calm environment. Some people thrive in chaos while others work better when everything is very systematic.
My organization moves so fast that when something doesn’t work, we change direction immediately. So if a new hire is not used to that kind of environment, they might crack under pressure. We are very nimble, flexible and quick.
If there’s something I want to implement, we just do it. If there’s something we need to change, then we change direction like the flick of a switch. It’s very very fast. Most people are not used to that kind of environment.
The people we bring in like the challenge and this kind of pace. They are at home. Others may find this speed way too stressful. Then they will leave because it’s not a good fit. Or they quit because they don’t have the right energy with other team members and they don’t get along with the team culture. It’s an organic process.
Hire Young People To Keep Up With Trends
People have asked me why there are so many young people in my organization. They ask, “Why is a kid responsible for millions of dollars of marketing budget?”
They think I should hire someone with 10 years of experience. But I don’t believe in that because at the end of the day, my team is in the online education business where things move incredibly fast.
I need to be on the pulse of what’s happening day to day, hour to hour. I hire millennials so that I know what they’re thinking, even if they make me feel old. They always bring in new ideas about what’s hip and what’s trending. If I want to know what young people are thinking, I need to have young people in my organization.
Hire a Team of High Achievers
I love the Russian Doll Principle. When it comes to hiring, a lot of business owners, entrepreneurs and CEOs hire people who are smaller or worse than they are.
A CEO who is hiring a manager will look for someone who is less skilled, and then that manager will hire a team leader who is less skilled than the manager. Then what you will have is a company made of dwarves.
On the other hand, if that CEO hired a manager who has better skills, and the manager hires a team lead with better skills than the manager… you end up with a company of giants.
The CEO or manager hires people that are smaller than them because of their insecurities. They are afraid that if they hire someone with better skills, they can’t manage them or get their respect. If they hire someone less skilled, then they can more easily control them. This type of superior/inferior thinking is common in Asia.
The problem is when you hire less skilled people, the organization doesn’t grow. Hiring people that are better than you will get you that company of high achievers.
Hire a Team of Specialists
As the leader and CEO of my company, my job is not to make sure that directors, department heads and executives can’t do their roles better than I can. That’s not what a CEO does.
Each person in the company has their own area of expertise. As the visionary, my job is to come up with the strategic plan for each of them to execute. My job isn’t to outperform them at certain tasks.
Think about the book, The Art of War. In military terms, the general is not necessarily the best horseman or archer, or even the best soldier. The general is the one that sees the big picture, such as how to mobilize the troops and where to allocate resources. Similarly, the big picture is the CEO’s job.
Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, wanted a team that liked to create and explore. He didn’t want people who were only skilled in management, so he devised a test as part of the interview process. Those who asked questions and showed excitement and showed promise that they were A players made the cut.
So, to hire a team of specialists, find people who are experts at what they do. They should also be creative A players who are very motivated.
Hire Motivated People, Then Get Out of Their Way
I think it’s very difficult to motivate people. The better solution is to find people who are already motivated.
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” That means, instead of trying to motivate people with motivational quotes and all that stuff, find people who already have the fire and desire within them. When you find good people who are already motivated, then all you need to do is create the culture, and give them responsibility, authority and power. Then get the hell out of their way and let them do their thing.
Drew Houston, founder of Dropbox, says that one way to find out a person’s motivation level is to ask them about who they admire. You will quickly find out who is there for the paycheck and who really cares about their work depending on their answer.
Motivated people will make stuff happen. They will want to help you grow, not because it’s an obligation, but because they have that desire.
Myself, I’m a very motivated person. I don’t need people to motivate me or pump me up. I am motivated. I’m driven. So I want people with the same desire in my organization.
If you spend so much time trying to motivate your people, then you’re not spending enough time getting work done or moving forward. So find motivated people and get the hell out of their way.
Hire People Who Will Pay for Their Own Training
In this very competitive business, the key to thriving in any economy is constant learning. It doesn’t matter how much success you had in the past. What matters is where you’re going in the future and what you’re doing now.
As the leader of a global education organization, I believe constant learning is extremely critical. I invest hundreds of thousands of dollars every year in my own education and I expect my members to do the same. My training policy is very different from most organizations because I don’t pay my team to attend workshops. My team members invest in their own education.
They pay for their own flight, their own hotel, their own workshops and courses. I don’t want them to do it because it’s an obligation or it’s required for their promotion. If I invest in my own education, they should do the same. When they upgrade their skills and perform better, they will get compensated.
The other reason is if they invest in their own education, they will pay more attention and get more out of the training. I lead by example. I’m always learning, reading, and attending workshops. When it comes to education, I don’t take shortcuts. I’m a good leader because I’m a dedicated student, and that’s the culture a successful company should have.
If you want to hire the right people, you must hire people with a desire to work hard and excel at what they do. It does not matter if they are more talented than you, or younger than you. When you have a team of high achievers, you will have a powerful team.