Hire Smart People
When you hire people who are smarter than you, you prove you are smarter than they are.
Opening Case Study:
Hiring Smart People: Bill Gates
Gates is smart, but many Microsoft employees are equally smart. As Fortune magazine noted, “Microsoft has been led by a man widely recognized as a genius in his own right, who has had the foresight to recognize the genius in others.”While Gates has been the famous face of Microsoft for over thirty years, it took the help of numerous other trusted individuals to help realize the company’s success. When Allen and Gates first met as students at Lakeside, they instantly formed a strong bond over their passion for computers. And, it was a bond that would last for the rest of their lives. Knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses, interests and passions and having a strong sense of trust enabled these two entrepreneurs to form one of the most successful working relationships of the 20th century. Gates, recognizing the importance of a solid and trustworthy team, also brought on two former high school friends, Ric Weiland and Marc McDonald, to be part of the core Microsoft group. Gates knew that if Microsoft was going to get its feet off the ground, it was going to take the hard work and sweat that he trusted few others to put in. From day one, he understood the importance of having a small team that could join together each person’s enthusiasm around a common goal. Microsoft continues to seek out only the best in order to help it stay ahead of its increasingly fierce competition. “The key for us, number one, has always been hiring very smart people,” says Gates. “There is no way of getting around, that in terms of IQ, you’ve got to be very elitist in picking people who deserve to write software. Ninety-five percent of the people shouldn’t write complex software.” By hiring the best and the brightest and carrying out work in small teams that stimulate free and creative thinking, Microsoft has managed to retain its competitive edge for over three decades.
A founder can’t establish a winning enterprise singlehandedly. Some may try, but it is all in vain. Every renowned entrepreneur has built a flourishing company brick by brick with great employees by his or her side. Hiring the best employees is more important than ever.
An entrepreneur can formulate and even commercialize an idea as an enterprise of one. Over time, though, the task of running a business smoothly becomes too huge for the entrepreneur to manage himself. At this juncture, a savvy leader must find and hire the finest workers to help accomplish the entrepreneurial dream.
In today’s economy, hiring the best people is more significant than ever before. Entrepreneurs can’t make a choice that leads to loss of time, money and results in a bad hiring alternative. The price of screening, interviewing, engaging and training new employees is high. Employees also need a lot of resources in the form of desks, computers, phones and related equipment, let alone the largest costs of being an employer—salaries, benefits and taxes. Leaders look upon new employees as an investment and foresee an excellent monetary return in due course of time.
Over the course of a entrepreneur’s career, he hires hundreds of people. When the entrepreneur appoints exceptionally talented employees, they become major contributors to the success of the enterprise. Others who don’t perform have to be terminated. Being aware of how to properly hire new employees is essential.
What to look for in a Prospective Employee?
The one & only criteria to find the candidate with the best skills, experiences and ability is to look for the 7C’s in a prospective employee.
These seven categories should be considered to find the best new employees, which are as follows:
1. Competent: This is the most basic characteristic that is needed in a prospect. It is important to know whether or not the potential employee has the necessary skills, experiences and education to successfully complete the tasks you need performed?
2. Capable: Only competency is not enough. It also matters to know whether this person completes only the easy tasks or he or she is also capable to find ways to deliver on the functions that require more effort and creativity. Capability implies that the employee has talent for growth and the aptitude and keenness to take on more responsibility.
3. Compatible: An employee never functions in isolation. For him to be successful, he must be able to get along with a team. It pays to know whether this person can get along with colleagues, and more prominently, can he or she get along with existing and potential clients and partners. Having harmony in relations is needed. If the new employee can’t have harmony, there will be problems.
4. Commitment: How long does the employee foresee himself working with the organization? Is he serious about working for the long term? Or is he in search of always a better paying job? An account of past jobs and time spent at each provides clear insight on the issue.
5. Character: Does the value system of the prospect align with the organization’s value system? Is he honest in his dealings? Does he speak the truth and keep promises? Is he selfless and a team player? These questions determine the underlying character of the employee.
6. Culture: Every organization has an inherent culture. There is a certain way in which people behave and interact with each other. Culture is rooted in definite values, outlook, policies and procedures that influence the behavior of a leader and employees. Employees who don’t reflect a company’s culture tend to be disruptive and difficult.
7. Compensation: A major reason for under-performance is a compensation-package that is not competitive with the market-based compensation. If an employee feels unacknowledged he may not be able to do justice to his job.
While looking forward for this seven C’s in job applicants, they may modestly present the answers or exaggerate. A good way to find out the truth is to talk to former employment associates. The references a job candidate provides will nearly always provide a biased report. Instead, ask the candidate for the names of former bosses, peers and subordinates.
True references will reveal the truth and not play with words. With these names in hand, call former co-workers and ask them if the job applicant fits in the above listed seven characteristics.
How to ensure a Better Hire?
Simply said; talent matters. The difficulty is very small numbers of people actually have the aptitude to identify talent. Discovering and employing talent demands a much broader skill set than screening a resume and having a set of typical interviewing questions to direct you. The concerns of leadership, values, vision, culture, context etc., need to be resourcefully and instinctively tackled in the hiring process. If these issues are ignored and/or misunderstood, there will be a heavy cost down the road.
Smart hiring involves creating a talent advantage. Screening should never be left to people who are not adept at it. Smart leaders do more than just hire smart people by having a smart hiring procedure and/or methodology.
You can make the right hire by following the guidelines outlined below:
Define what you want: Ensure that you are aware of exactly what you are in search of, both in terms of the job description and job specification, and the profile of the prospect most likely to be successful in that role. If you can’t describe who and what you’re search of, you shouldn’t be looking.
Timing: There is insight in the old adage “hire slow and fire fast.” Avoid desperation and don’t panic as it may end-up in making a regrettable hire. Give yourself plenty of breathing time. It is far better to take your own good time and make a good hire rather than using the ready, fire, aim methodology.
ABH: Always Be Hiring: Great talent is rarely accessible on a moment’s notice. As an entrepreneur, your organization should always be on the look-out for great talent whether that talent is still in graduate school, working for competitors, or working outside the industry. Some of the best hires are made when you are in the always hiring mode.
Involve Talented Scouts: In the interview panel, look out for and involve the person within your organization who has the best nose for talent. Despite of what position this person holds; get them involved in the process. If you don’t have a natural talent scout internally, seek outside assistance in the form of an advisor/consultant.
Follow Team Based Hiring: Team-based hiring doesn’t mean management by committee. It means hiring based upon a team approach, where the team consists of your HR manager, your internal and external talent scout, the direct supervisor over the position being hired for and the senior executive who is the best at promoting your organization. Hiring in a team-based fashion eliminates many of the typical mistakes that can be made in the hiring process individually.
Hire Leaders: Majority of companies talk about the lack of leadership among employees. When raising this question, the solution is simple: Why not to hire a leader to begin with? Certainly, leadership can be learned, but not everyone is willing to learn, and even if they are, education takes time and has a very real cost. Development of an existing leader is faster, easier, and more effective than creating a leader.
Constantly Upgrade: You can hire the best talent in the world, but keep in mind that “best” is a subjective assessment mainly calculated within the context of a snapshot in time. Obsolescence can take root in anyone if growth and development are not focus points. Growth needs to occur at every level of the workforce – the top, middle, and bottom performance tiers. Top performers require to be stretched, mid-tier performers require to be challenged to up their game, and you should always consider upgrading the bottom 20% of your workforce. This goal can be achieved by training and development or via new hire. As an entrepreneur you must ask yourself the following question: Who are the least productive members of your team? Why? Coach them to productivity or replace them – there is no third option.
Hiring is a blend of art and science. The reality is that those organizations that identify, recruit, deploy, develop and retain the best talent will be the companies who thrive in the future.