On my current team, we have a strong culture of getting sh*t done.
We set our goals extremely high and we’re not satisfied unless we absolutely crush them. We are competitive together, but not with each other. All the while, we bleed Glassdoor green and nobody phones it in—ever. We are a true team that helps each other, gives honest feedback, and always works to get better as a team. We joke, we laugh and we can be pretty sarcastic, which helps ease the tension when you’re working with a dozen A Players in a small space!
As someone who’s done a lot of hiring and built amazing, kick-ass teams, I would like to share a few things that work when hiring a dream candidate to help build or expand your dream team.
Know what you want
It sounds obvious, but if you’re not clear on what traits you want in your next hire, you’re not going to find them. Before you post the job, have a discussion with the key people involved and agree on what you can’t live without and what’s a showstopper.
Assess culture fit first
A strong culture is the key to building your dream team. Understand and articulate the key qualities of the culture you have or want to build. Then dig deep in the interview process to uncover convincing examples of how your candidate fits the bill.
It’s all about personality
A few qualities always seem to be present in the high-performance people I hire (and missing when I’ve made a hiring mistake). Look for these qualities in your interview process by developing questions that specifically assess these traits:
An A-Player has confidence that they can get the job done, even if they haven’t done a particular task before. They are able to convincingly articulate the specific positive impact they’ve had at every company they’ve worked for. In the words of a recent addition to our team, “I haven’t done that before, but I’ll be here nights and weekends until I figure it out.” That’s the kind of dedication you’re looking for.
#2: Sense of Humor
If you’re going to kick ass all day, everyday, you’d better be able to laugh when the going gets rough. Your next hire needn’t be a standup comedian, but make sure they can at least roll with the jokes (appropriate, of course) dished up by your team.
#3 Lifelong Achievements
People that get sh*t done have always gotten sh*t done. Determine if they have a pattern of overachieving by digging into their high school and college years and the awards that they’ve won. Your dream candidate should be able to articulate lots of achievements throughout their lifetime, not just their last job.
I’m not saying they had to be the star of the college basketball team, but there better be a spark in there. Ask whether they see themselves as competitive, explore what that means to them. What is your team competing for? Does your candidate seem to have the competitive juices to keep up?
#5 A Good Person With a Dash of Humility
Make sure you’re hiring a person that cares about doing the right thing, not just getting sh*t done. Whether the right thing involves putting on the brakes on a questionable initiative or picking up a low-level task outside their normal job duties because it needs to get done, make sure they can showcase examples where they’ve sacrificed to do the right thing.
Conduct a thorough interview process
I like to involve my entire team in the interview process. Part of building a tight team and culture is making sure the entire team is “bought in” with someone joining the fold. It’s tempting to skip interview steps, especially when you have a lot of hiring to do. Don’t do it. Hiring mistakes will cost you tenfold later.
I like to start by meeting as a team to discuss the role and specific skills and personality traits we are looking for. Then we assign areas to dig into that we discovered needed further exploration after a phone screen. After the interviews, we huddle immediately and hear each person’s opinions about the candidate, one by one. If we do decide as a team to move the candidate to the next step, we bring them in to give a 15 minute presentation to the entire team about who they are, why they are a great fit, and what they want to accomplish. This is followed by a 15-minute Q&A session where the team has one more chance to ask any lingering questions. You’d be surprised how many “sure things” we’ve ruled out after this step—I’d never hire a single candidate again without this step.
When making your final decision, don’t get swayed by perfect experience, an amazing education, or a need to fill a position immediately. Unless you’ve uncovered the special traits of someone likely to get sh*t done, keep looking. Your dream candidate will likely make up for the extra month you spend on a search in their first month on the job!