It’s really pretty simple. If you don’t have the right person in the right seat, there is no way you can focus on running a great business. Instead, you’re going to spend all of your time trying to get the people who don’t fit to do so in your company.
Too often people tell me they don’t have time to hire in a systematic manner. My reply is, “You can’t afford not to have the time.” Every hiring mistake you make costs you tons of money, time and momentum. It’s a cost you just can’t afford. Learn to hire correctly and you’ll find hours and hours of time you never had before.
Some of the things we’ll cover in today’s episode is:
- How so use a simple hiring system to get the right person for your company.
- Why culture trumps both skills and what activities your new hire will do.
- Why writing down the traits you want in a systematic manner allows you to recognize the right person when they appear.
- What looking at technical skills last can do to improve your hiring methods.
- Why you need to make sure you actually rate each of your potential hires on a scale of 1 to 10.
Narrator: Welcome to the Sustainable Business Radio Show podcast where you’ll learn not only how to create a sustainable business but you’ll also learn the secrets of creating extraordinary value within your business and your life. In the Sustainable Business, we focus on what it’s going to take for you to take your successful business and make it economically and personally successful.
Your host, Josh Patrick, is going to help us through finding great thought leaders as well as providing insights he’s learned through his 40 years of owning, running, planning and thinking about what it takes to make a successful business sustainable.
Josh: Hello. This is Josh Patrick. Today, I’m going to be with you by myself. It’s a little departure from what we normally do. Every once in a while, I have run across a topic which I think is really important, one that you might be interested in listening to and today is one of those days.
Today, we’re going to talk about how to get the right person in the right place or as Jim Collins likes to say “the right person in the right seat” at your company. Now, when I first started in business about 40 years ago, we would hire by the gut. Frankly, that’s how most people hire today. If it feels good, they hire them. It can be someone that you like, looks like you or might be like you but hey that might not be the right person for you to hire. Instead, wouldn’t it make sense to have a system that you use to hire? And instead of getting 30%, 40%, or 50% of the time, you get a good hire? How about if could do it 75% or 80% of time?
So, here’s where our goal is. Our goal today, to give you a system that you can use, that’s easy, what I call a super simple hiring methodology. The goal is to get the right person the first time, every time. Well, not every time because I don’t think anybody can get the right person every time but how would you like to hire the right person and have them be the perfect fit for your company 75% to 80% of the time? If that’s something sure interested in, well just keep listening and at the end of the program you’ll learn how.
This is a program I’ve used for the last 30 years. I mentioned Jim Collins just a minute ago. One thing I think is really important for us to realize is that our goal is to get the right person in the right seat. There’s two pieces to that, 1) the right seat and the other is 2) the right person. We’re going to talk about how you do both.
Here’s what we’re going to talk about today. We would spend about the next 18 or 19 minutes doing that. The first is we’re going to talk about the system that we use. Then we’re going to talk about why you must – and I mean must, start with cultural fit at your company. We want to have you understand where your company mission fits into the hiring process. And yes, it does fit in. And yes, you do need a mission statement. I’ll even tell you the type of mission statement that you need. We’re going to help you understand why you never—I mean never, want to start with technical skills when you’re in the hiring process. Yes, technical skills are a screen to make sure you have the right person that can work for you and do the job but it’s actually the last thing that you want to consider carefully when it comes to hiring. We’ll tell you why that’s true. Finally, we want you to know why you always – and I mean always, want to start with your personal and your company values.
So here are some things you need to know first. Values – that’s the place to start And there’s really four types of values, I think, in the world. I want to thank Patrick Lencione for this. In his book, The Advantage, he does a great of explaining in detail each of these four types of values and you might even want to read that book. The first type of values is what we call core values. These are the values that we’re actually going to talk about when we’re in the hiring process. The second type, aspirational values. These are values you would like to have in your company but don’t exist today. The third type is permission-to-play values. Those are values that you hold true to about 85% and 90% of the time but there are times where you let those values go because there are reasons to do so. And finally, there’s accidental values. Those are values that creep into your company that you really don’t want there but somehow they manage to end up anyhow and is part of what you are. So, it’s really important for us first to understand what our core values are.
Now, what I want you to do is I want you to write down all the values that you think are important in your life and all the values that you think are important in your business. I want you to encircle them until you’re left with only five, so keep crossing out values and keep crossing out values until you’re left with those five top values. That will come in play when we start going into the hiring process.
Now, your next step in this, to make sure that you have a mission statement that your values support. Here’s what I think a good mission statement is, I think a good mission statement is something that’s ten words or less and can be answered with a “yes” or a “no”. And you want to make sure you integrate your values – your company values into your company’s mission statement. I’ll give you an example of what I think is a good mission statement, it happens to be my mission statement here at Ask Josh Patrick. Our mission statement here is “We help successful business become sustainable.” So what that means is if you’re a successful business or you want to become a successful business, we’ll help you get there and then we help you become sustainable.
Let’s go into the system. Now, the system is what I call the Can Do, Will Do, Fit Factor Method of Hiring. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been using this for about 30 years. It’s been incredibly successful in any company I’ve been involved with. In my own companies, when it’s used, we get the right person about 75% to 80% of the time. When it’s not used, I do between 30% and 50% of the right time.
Now, I have to tell you that when we first started using this hiring system in my food service company, it took me lots of elbow grease and lots of banging people over the head to make them use it because frankly, using a hiring system is more difficult and a little bit more complicated than just hiring by the gut. But frankly, when you want to hire once instead of three times for a job.
Let’s get into the system. Now, although we call it the Can Do, Will Do, Fit Factor method of hiring, we actually do that backwards. We start with Fit. And the question I want to ask yourself is, I want you to ask “What does it take to fit in at your company?” Take those five values statements, take your mission statement and write down the five things that it takes to fit in at your company.
Next, we go to what we call Will Do. These are the activities that you need to do to be successful in the job that you’ve got. For example, if you have somebody who’s a bookkeeper, they have to be willing to be very systematic, run systems and be detailed in how they’re doing that. If they’re not willing to be detailed, they’re not going to be a very good bookkeeper, would they? So you want to make sure that Will Do is, “Are you enthusiastically willing to do the job?” And when you’re hiring for the job, make sure, during your interview process, you don’t do this. Don’t say, “Are you willing to do X, Y, Z?” Because if you ask somebody that question, what do you think they’re going to say? My guess is they’re going to say, “Oh sure, yeah. I’ll be glad to do that.” It’s not what you want to do.
And finally, we get around to Can Do in which the technical skills that make you successful in a job. Now, if I had good Can Do’s and great Will Do’s and Fit Factors versus great Can Do’s versus mediocre Will Do and terrible Fit Factors, I am going to hire the okay Can Do with a great fit, 100% of the time. The reason for that is and I bet you’ve all had this experience in your company, is what I call “The Experience of the Brilliant Jerk.” This is somebody who has an incredible amount of technical skill but they’re just impossible to get along with. Frankly, they’re not a good fit for your company. My bet is, if you get a brilliant jerk in your company, you let him stick around for a while. But eventually, you’re going to have to replace him and the reason is they just make things too difficult for you to do what you want to do and get what you want to get, and have system in place that allows you to have the right person working in your company.
Let’s get ready to run our system. The first thing we have to do is we have to write down five things in each area. Let’s do an example here. I’m going to be hiring a salesperson. And in my company, if you’re going to work for us, the fit factor that you’re going to start off with, you must be personally responsible and you must be a good listener. Those are two things which are really important.
Now, I want you to sit down, write down the job that you’re hiring for and write down “Fit Factor”. And I want you to put five at the most – three to five bullet points under Fit Factor.
Now, again, the next thing we’re going to do is going to work on Will Do issues. And again, I’m going back to my salesperson. So if I’m hiring a salesperson and they have to be on the road a couple of days a week. Well, Will Do for them means they have to be willing to be enthusiastically, on the road a couple of days a week. If they’re not willing to be enthusiastic about being on the road, I can promise you that it’s only a matter of time before they go down to a day and half and a day, and then half a day, and then some weeks, they never go on the road. That sounds something you’re going to want to want, I can promise you that.
And finally, under Can Do, I had written, understand and has successfully used a client relationship management tool. Now, that’s a technical skill that they have to know how to do if they were to join my company. However, if they were great at Fit Factors and Will Do’s, I’d be willing to train somebody on how to use a client relationship management tool. It’s not merely the most important thing – having somebody who fits in my company and somebody who’s enthusiastic about doing the activities for the job, that’s way, way, way more important.
So, we’ve now got our grid. We’ve got Can Do, Will Do and Fit factors. We have between three and five bullet points under each. Make sure you don’t have more than five bullet points. One of my favorite sayings is “Less is more.” The least number of bullet points you can have, the more successful you’re likely to have a hire. Now, you can’t have one because that’s not enough. And you can’t have ten because that’s too many. But between three and five, in my experience, is the right thing. So what you’re going to do is you’re going to have a piece of paper with you, with 9 to 15 bullet points set in front of you. And as you’re talking to the person that you’re interviewing, you’re going to rate that person on a scale of 1 to 10 on each of those bullet points, 1 being low, 10 being high.
You want to have at least three people. Interview the candidates separately and you want to have all three of those people, fill out the Will Do, Can Do and Fit Factor form on a scale of 1 to 10 rating on the jobs. You want to make sure that you train the people doing interviews on how to ask open questions. You don’t to make it so you’re leading them down the road to give you the right answer. You want to make sure you don’t start selling your company until you’ve discovered whether this person is going to be a good fit in your company, whether they’re willing to do the job that you’ve got available and when you do the activities in that job and whether they have the technical skills that will make them successful in that job.
So, after you do the interviews, you want to have the interview team get together and compare scores. What you’ll usually find, if you interview five people that your interviewers will have one of those people that kind of jumps out at them and says, “This is the right person to hire.” Now, I call this the red car syndrome. The reason I call this I call this the red car syndrome is if you do this correctly, the person you should hire will jump out to at you. So let me ask you this question, “Have you ever bought yourself a new car? And have you ever bought a new car that’s a different model than you ever had, or a different make than you had, or a different color than you had? And the week after you bought that new car, what happened?
Well, if you’re like me, I’m going to bet that all of a sudden, there were hundreds of that car that existed that never existed before. And it’s really pretty simple why this happens, it’s that we use too much inputs in our life for us to pay attention to literally everything that happens. But if we’re aware and we’ve written down what it is that we’re looking for, I will promise you that when the right person walks in your office and you’re going through your interview with them, it’s going to jump off the page that this is the right person for you to hire.
It’s happened every single time we’ve hired the right person. And every time we’ve tried to force someone into a slot that didn’t make it. It was a bad hire. It just didn’t work out. It wasn’t the right thing for us to have.
So, as you’re doing this, be aware that if it doesn’t appear to you that this is the right person, it’s not. And oh, by the way, if you’re doing an interview and you interview ten people and nobody gets an average of 8, especially on Fit Factors, you have to keep looking because the fact is, if you hire the wrong person and you say, “Well, I just need a body.” Well you’re going to get that body. They’re not going to be the right person in the right seat, you’re going to spend an inordinate amount of time – you’re going to spend way too much time trying to manage this person and eventually you’ll probably going to have to ask him to leave your company. Isn’t that a giant waste of time? Wouldn’t it be better for you to just ask yourself a question? “Shouldn’t I wait a little bit longer? Shouldn’t I get the right person, so I’m not going through this process of hiring over and over and over again?” I really hope the answer to that is yes.
So, it’s a very pretty simple system. The first thing you want to do is you want to make sure that you’ve got clear values and you want to have a clear mission statement. The values have to be not just what the company is but it also should be around what’s important for you. You need to spend some time here because once you do this once, you never have to do it again. This is all around Fit Factors.
Oh by the way, the Fit Factor issue will be the same for everybody your hire in the company. Will Do’s will change, Can Do’s will change. Fit Factors are always the same for anybody that you’re going to hire. You want to put together a hiring grid, listing 15 traits at most. Remember, less is more – 9 would be great, 15 is okay, 30 is not okay.
When you interview, make sure you use open-ended questions, that means we don’t want to ask, “Did you like your last job?” Instead ask, “Tell me about your last job. Or Tell me about the time you had a problem at your last job and how did you handle that?” And you want to be listening very carefully to the answers to see if the answer is the type of an answer of someone you would expect, if they will be a good fit at your company.
After you do the interview, make sure you rank. Do it right after the interview – not later. If you talk to five people, it should take you about three minutes. You’re just going to scale 1 to 10 on each of your bullet points. If the person averages under 8, they go into the “Not Hire” file. If they’re 8 to 10, it’s somebody that you probably will want to hire. If it’s 6 to 8, you could hire them but you have to think, “Are they coachable? Would they be willing to take those areas that you think they’re weak on and become strong?” If they’re not, you have to pass.
You want to have a recap meeting with all the people that have done interviews to see if anyone passes, anyone makes it through, is it anybody that you want to make an offer to, to have them help join your business? If the answer “no.” If there isn’t anybody, it’s really important – I can’t stress this enough, it’s just really important, you can’t accept them. The cost of starting over is just too high.
If you’re interested in more information about how to hire properly, you probably saw a pop-up. I hope you clicked on it because a click on it is our e-book on Hiring for Unique Abilities. Frankly, this will take you through our entire hiring process, step by step by step, and if you use this, I can promise you that your hiring will be better than it is today.
Thanks so much. This is Josh Patrick and I hope you decide to download our e‑book. I think you’ll really enjoy it.
Narrator: You’ve been listening to the Sustainable Business Podcast where we ask the question, “What would it take for your business to still be around 100 years from now?” If you like what you’ve heard and want more information, please contact Josh Patrick at 802‑846‑1264 ext 2 or visit us on our website at www.askjoshpatrick.com or you can send Josh an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for listening. We hope to see you at The Sustainable Business in the near future.