Less Zeros, More Heroes. How to Hire an Inspired Workforce

by : Paul Berkovic

The right hire can make or break your business. The right employee can be the difference between staggering growth and business as usual.

Given the potential value of the right employee, it’s important to refine every aspect of your recruitment process. This means going well beyond a candidate’s capabilities and qualifications to understand their simplest motivations, personality type and how they respond in complex situations. Below, four business experts share their tips for going beyond skillsets when hiring top shelf employees.

Go deeper than the CV

There is always much more to an employee than what their LinkedIn profile tells you. Reckon CIO Zack Levy says finding skilled people who fit the job description is relatively easy, but the difficulty lies in matching people to the culture of your business.

“When recruiting top talent, I make sure they’re not only skilled and can do their job, but they’re a good fit for the organisation and the team that they’re going to work with,” he says. Meeting with top prospects more than once gives a better impression of the person as a whole, rather than just their skills and experience, Levy adds.

“[Multiple meetings] give you a touch of their personality — whether they’re a positive person, whether the person likes smiling, whether they’re proactive, whether they tend to talk positively about things. Those things tell me more about the person and their attitude to work than just their experience and skills.”

Discover their motivating factors

Founder and former owner of recruitment business Xpand Group Aaron Williams says employers must look for people with strong emotional intelligence and an ambitious, career-driven attitude.

“A key discriminator for me is to look through the individual’s own lens to see where they see themselves at in their career and gauge how self-aware they are,” Williams says. “Individuals with a high level of awareness and emotional intelligence tend to be better learners. They’re more adaptable, they work well with others and they can fit into a variety of cultures.”

Adam Pozniak, senior vice president and cloud business unit channel director at Dimension Data, asks interviewees “what did you want to be when you were 14?” as a way to determine if the role matches the person’s base career aspirations.

“I don’t want a job that looks great on paper,” Pozniak says. “I don’t want someone filling their resume. I don’t want the person who thinks this is going to be good for them. I want the person who fits the role naturally.”

Seek out decisiveness and adaptability

People who can make solid business decisions in the heat of the moment are extremely valuable to a growing company. Cloud Quarterback founder JP Harvey says interviewing for this skill is difficult, but presenting complex business problems to a candidate and gauging their response can expedite the process.

“It’s important to have someone who is not only is intelligent, but can make decisions and isn’t afraid to kind of move sideways in their role if they need to,” Harvey says. “If something needs to be done, they’ll do it, rather than wait for input from someone else.”

Employees with attributes such as decisiveness and adaptability are crucial to rapidly escalating a small business. Williams believes companies can stagnate without them.

“We see a lot of businesses come unstuck when they only focus on skills and struggle with individuals with a particularly strong skill set but not that flexibility or sense of awareness,” he says. “Often they force the organisation to try and grow around them rather than going on the business’s journey.”

Treat soft skills as essential

An employee’s ability to interact with others effectively and harmoniously is a good indicator of future high performance, according strategic growth specialist and Lexmark executive Rod Hogrefe. Without those skills, the ups and downs of small business can overwhelm people and reduce their effectiveness.

“The traits that I try and test for are resilience as a starting point, energy and optimism,” Hogrefe says. “Many say working in a startup is like a roller-coaster ride. If you don’t have the stomach or fortitude for it, you shouldn’t really be in that game.”

Place a premium on sense of humor

Williams believes workers who can diffuse the tension of a high-pressure business situation are worth their weight in gold. “There’s no shortage of people that are focused on outcomes, and that’s great — you need to really drive that productivity forward, but we’re all human,” he says. “Individuals that can achieve great outcomes with a sense of humor and a smile on their face go a long way.”

In short (TL;DR)

Hiring the right person can work wonders for your business’s productivity and workplace culture. Before you enter the interview process, make sure you:Meet skilled candidates more than once.

  1. Meet skilled candidates more than once.
  2. Uncover their simplest, earliest motivations.
  3. Look for decisive, adaptable people.
  4. Make sure they’re both technical and personable.
  5. Seek out those with a positive outlook and a good sense of humor.

Paul Berkovic is co-founder and CMO at ScribblePost, the world’s first Productivity Network. If you need to work with colleagues, customers, or suppliers, ScribblePost is the fastest way to get things done. Learn more.