The Ultimate steps to Evaluating a New Hire

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This is one of the most important parts of our business. When you can take the time at the beginning of a new relationship with a potential new hire to figure out if they’re really a fit for your company, you can avoid some major pitfalls three or four months down the line.

It’s way better for your business to hire right the first time than it is to fix the mistakes later on.

Step 1: The Research Stage

Get resumes, check out referrals, and check out your potential hires’ social media pages to get a feel for the people who are applying to the job. You can also do interviews, though sometimes we’ve found that interviews are more of a distraction than additive to the hiring process.

The research stage is where you take the TIME to really get a feel for who your employees are. It’s not about looking at their skillsets - it’s about checking out if they, personally, are a fit for your company’s culture.

Step 2: The Testing Stage

Find a task that you know you’re hiring your potential employee for and create a test that allows you to see their work before you make a final hiring decision. Not only will this give you an idea on their actual skills, but you’ll get a feel for the way they work within a company.

The testing stage has enabled us to get a feeling for our potential hires’ personalities, as well as their communication skills, both of which are hugely important when you’re bringing someone new onto the team.

Step 3: Hire on a Trial Basis

The majority of the time we hire someone, we know before this stage if someone is going to work. However, we still do the trial period every time we hire. Not only does this help us in case we missed something, but it also helps put our hires in the mindset of continuing to work for us.

Most people are on their best behavior in the hiring stage, but many of them start to immediately work less diligently when they’ve gotten the job. The trial period helps give them more incentive to work hard early on, which can set the standard for what is expected in the job all around.

Step 4: Interpersonal Check

It’s easy to get caught up and hire someone you LIKE, rather than hiring someone who is truly the best fit for the job. We like to surround ourselves with similar people, so when you have a new hire that you just really LIKE, but who may not be best for your business.

In this stage, ask yourself some critical questions. Of course, you should ask things like “Is this person enjoyable,” but you also need to ask things like “Do they ask for help when they need it?” and “Do they take criticism or correction well?”

You need someone who is going to integrate into your business and do something amazing and impactful.

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Full Transcript:

[The following is a full transcript of this episode with Joel Bower. These videos are recorded unscripted and are filmed in a single take. Subscribe to our RSS feed and follow us on YouTubeFacebookTwitter, and Instagram to keep up with our video series.]

Hey everybody! It's Joel Bower, co-founder of Skirmish Strategies and business leverage expert. Today I'm covering the ultimate steps to evaluating a new hire.

Now, for us this is one of the most important parts in our business, because if you can get more done at the beginning of the hiring process of figuring out if that's a person that's going to fit you, your team and what you're really trying to accomplish, or if they even have the skills that you really want, taking that extra time to make sure that that happens rather than realizing 3 to 6 months after training them and really being disappointed and giving them chance after chance to find they shouldn't be in your business.

They've actually cost you something. Now you have to go back and clean up everything and possibly be in a real bad spot, because some of the things they were doing or the few things they were doing well now have to be done by somebody else, and you've got to rush to get that done, because this person's got to go. They got to get out of your business. Instead of finding that out later, let's figure out how to really evaluate that hire in the beginning.

The first is probably the most common thing you see and that's what we call the research stage. That's going through and getting resumes. That's checking out the referrals. We did add an extra step where we start looking at their social media profiles to see how they want to present themselves out there. If they're willing to put certain pictures on Facebook that present them in a certain manner, maybe that's critical, or maybe that's an issue for our business and what we're really trying to become.

Then the last one is the interview stage. We really look at that as a maybe in the research. We don't always do interviews. There's times where we think it's actually a distraction rather than a value. It doesn't really tell us what they're able to do and can they do the job we want. It just tells us if they can answer really inane questions like, "What's your 3 biggest weaknesses?" That's almost a trap question if you really think about it anyway. Either that person's going to go, "Oh, good. Now I know that that's something you do bad. You're not hired." Or, "This person wasn't honest at all. They must have some problem."

I've had an instance where I didn't get a job, because, and they told me outright, it was because of one of the things I said in my weaknesses. I even added that, "Hey, I'm working on this. This is what I'm doing. This is how I'm building that skill. I know what's needed for this and I'm going to get there," and I didn't get the job.

Well, a friend of mine was able to get a job and he said on that question, he said, "You know what it really was? I just care too much about my job. I find myself working too much. I'm a workaholic." Real weakness. They took them on that. That was something they were excited about. Again, we had confirmation later they mentioned it to him. They said, "You know, I really liked how strong worker you are. That work ethic, it was important for us." 

Instead of asking questions like that and then trying to play this guessing game where are they lying to you or are they just trying to look good - they don't really know you that well, so are they really telling you the truth? Why don't we find something that would actually help them?

That takes us to our next step. We do this. Whether we do the interview or not, we will do this next one. We find some task, something that we know we're hiring them for that they should be able to do, and we actually have them try the work, do a piece for us. In some cases, we'll pay for that depending on how complex the task is.

If it's coding something for us or doing some website layout and design layouts for us, we'll add payment to that just to make sure it's fair, but I'd rather see their work. I'd rather see how they dig into a problem or situation, get the information from us they need to make that happen. That's going to tell me so much more about that person. Plus, I can just see their work.

If there's someone you're hiring as maybe a social media coordinator and you want them to be able to write some of your social media posts, well, maybe you want to see the quality in that. Maybe give them an assignment of 10 or, hey, you have this new product that's coming out or you have this project that you just finished up and you'd love to see some social media push on it. What would they suggest? Have them go through a project and actually show you what it's like.

After you've done that, you'll have a much better understanding. Make it a little bit of a lengthy project. We usually find something that's 2 or 3 days and that allows us to have the interaction with us, there's a pre-stage. Then if that works out really well, will we have proof that they can do what they need to do?

Then the next step is we actually hire them on a trial basis. We do this. In many cases we actually know a lot. By the time we've gotten through one project and we've gone through this process of research, we know if this person's going to fit or not, but we put them on trial hire, so in case we're wrong, in case we miss something. That happens.

Really it's to put them in the right mindset of continuing to work really hard in this business. A lot of people come and they work through that hard process of getting the job, and they'll almost do anything. They're at their absolute best and they're doing a lot, because they really need the job. Then they get it and it starts curving down. In trial periods, especially if there's a possible raised bump at the end of the trial period, that person will continue working hard throughout the whole spread of time. That's what you want, A, because it conditions them to work like that in your business and keeping that standard afterwards.

You're like, "Yeah, you really crushed it in the last three months. I've been seeing some things that haven't been happening." Or if it's before they enter that start programming them ahead of time going, "You know, it'd be really great to keep seeing this level of work, because we absolutely love what you're doing." You can jump over that natural decline that when people get comfortable at something and make it, "Hey, you don't have this job locked down yet. I'd like to offer it to you, but I really want to see what you do for this company, how you can grow here."

That is absolutely critical. The last piece. This piece is missed so much I can't believe it. It's either missed or it's ignored. I'll explain the difference in those. It's either missed because it's the interpersonal ability of the person. How do you check that? That's more of an intuition for you. It should be, because it's how that person interacts with you. Now, a lot of people do that and they get a bias. They go, "Oh, I like this person, so I'm just going to hire them," and they find out that they screwed up, because that person was friendly and enjoyable to work with but wasn't very good at the work. That's one common mistake and that's where they ignored it.

They think it didn't happen at all. "I just really like this person. He must be more talented and skilled than everybody else," because maybe he's like you and you're like, "Yes, someone like me. This is going to be great," but they don't have the same work ethic or they don't feel the same way about your business and suddenly you find yourself in the decline. That's where they would just ignore it outright.

This is so critical to make as an important piece, and I think it's actually in this order. I really do think it's in probably actually right after the pre-hire trial of some sort of project. About then is where you can make this decision before you lead into even if you're going to do a trial hire offer. In the interpersonal check we think of a few things like, is this person enjoyable to work with? Are they pleasant? That's one piece. The other piece is do they ask for help when they need it? That you'll be able to find from the project.

If they just move forward and what came out was, man, if they just asked you one question or they even say later they were confused, but they didn't want to bother you, that might be trouble. You might have an issue when they are on a really important deadline in your business and they can't reach you right then and they go, "Oh, well, you know, I'll just push through." Then you show up and you need the thing done and had they just asked that question you would have had what you needed, but they didn't. Do they have the ability to know what they need and really ask for it and interact with that not in a timid way where they're afraid, like "I don't want to bother you."

You want someone that's going to integrate into your business and do something pretty impactful. That's how I evaluate the communication piece. Yes, are they pleasant? Do you enjoy working with them? That is a piece, but make sure it's also about is there communication in their interpersonal skills? The ones they need to actually thrive in your business.

Quick recap. We go through the research stage. Then we go through a pre-hire test. That's where we just give them something that we know we want them working on. Another little just quick bonus on that, what we generally do is we pick two activities we know we're hiring them for and then one we think is going to be difficult. It takes about 3 to 4 days to really complete those. That way we can see at least if we get these, we can hire them. How they push on something that we don't think they can quite do yet or won't be ready yet to do will tell us a lot about their initiative and their desire to learn on their own.

Then we will bring them in and we'll put them on a trial hire. That keeps that work ethic very high or that drive to keep moving forward. Really train them how it feels to keep doing a lot in your business and really wanting to accomplish and make sure they make it through the trial period. That's how you want to feel about your business and working in it. Then lastly, really doing your interpersonal skill check. Do they have the interpersonal skills to make it work in this business and to be enjoyable to work with?

Those are my tips. Please, if you're hiring, test these out, try them. Just run them against past hires and see how the hire that you got would have done and how they ended up turning out. That might tell you a lot. Thank you guys so much.