The 10 Golden Rules For Hiring All-Star Employees

Business.com / HR Solutions / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

The recruitment process is one of the most crucial aspects of running a successful business, and the benefits of hiring a superior...

The recruitment and hiring process is one of the most crucial aspects of running a successful business.

Bad hiring decisions lead to poor performance and excessive employee turnover, costing you money -- a lot of money - with each lost employee.

The US Department of Labor estimates that the expense of losing and replacing the average employee is one-third their annual salary.  For higher-level employees like managers, that number can be twice their annual salary.

Meanwhile, the upside of hiring a superior employee is immeasurable.  Why would you want Joe Schmoe when you could have the next Daniel Ek or Evan Sharp?

Related: Search for competing quotes on employee screening and background checks

10 Golden Rules for Hiring All-Stars:

1.       Always Be Recruiting

Keep your eyes and ears open, and don't throw away resumes unread.  If someone truly exceptional comes knocking at your door, it's worth your while to create a position.

2.       Don't Be Afraid To Hire Friends And Family

Referrals from exceptional employees can be some of your most valuable hires.  The referrer has a vested interest in training, mentoring, and assisting their friend, and the referee feels a responsibility to do their buddy proud.

3.       Use Teams To Hire, Not Individuals

Hiring should never be in the hands of one person - candidates should be interviewed by a panel.  Individuals make snap judgments and can be swayed by petty personal preferences. Committee-members have to justify their decisions to the rest of the group.

Related: 3 Tips for Hiring Managers: What to Really Look for on a Resume

4.       Ask Specific Questions And Look For Genuine Answers

The more detailed and specific your questions, the more likely you'll get a thoughtful and genuine answer.  If the candidate insists on answering questions like "what's your biggest weakness?" with nonsense like "I'm a perfectionist," then cut them loose.

5.       Hire The Person Truly Excited About The Opportunity

It's better to hire someone who wants to work their butt off to meet the opportunity, versus someone experienced who thinks they're "above" the position you're offering.

6.       Pay Attention To Small Mistakes

If the candidate is late, poorly dressed, or makes off-putting comments, pay attention.  You're seeing potential hires on their best behavior, so if they're still giving excuses or making little faux pas, you can imagine how they'll behave once they're good and comfortable in your office.

7.       Value Personality Over Experience

Remember Eric Schmidt, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg - there was a time when they were up-and-coming employees with little experience.  But they had drive, passion, and vision.  It's better to hire a go-getter on the way up than a turnip with 30 years of mediocre experience under their belt.

Related: 5 Tips on Hiring the Right People for Your Startup

8.       Check References

It's incredible how many employers don't bother to take this simple step, assuming potential employees won't provide references that aren't legitimate and positive.  Not all companies will disclose specific information about job performance, but at the very least you should confirm that a potential hire actually worked where, when and in the position they listed.

9.       Pay Generously

You get what you pay for: only mediocre employees will stick around for peanuts.  Shell out only the bare minimum, and your best people will jump ship for someone who will pay what they're worth.

10.   Shun Job-Hoppers

To paraphrase Raylan Givens, "If you meet a jerk in the morning, you met a jerk.  If you meet jerks all day, you're the jerk."  If somebody quit their job, it probably wasn't a good job.  But if they change jobs a lot, they're probably not a good employee.

Hiring doesn't need to be complicated, but it takes time to find great employees.  Like marriage, hire in haste, repent at leisure.  It's better to wait for someone exceptional, even if the position sits empty for a while, because hiring the wrong person will cost you a lot more in the long run.

Bio: Ryan Kohler is an HR Consultant and the CEO of ApplicantPro - hiring & applicant tracking software for HR professionals.

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