One of the greatest skills an entrepreneur can possess is the ability to hire the right team members. If you know how to hire the right team members, you can build a Unique Ability Team that will allow you to expand your capabilities and exponentially grow your business.
But let’s be honest: Not all entrepreneurs are great at hiring the right team members. They might like to think they are, but this is a skill that needs to be learned—you can’t simply trust your gut and hope everything will work out. Hiring is a complex process, especially when you’re building a team that requires many different roles.
Learning how to hire the right team members ultimately comes down to two things: You have to be able to find and hire the right team members, but you also need to learn how to decide when your current team members aren’t the right fit for your business.
And the latter skill is very important. It can be uncomfortable—no one wants to tell a long-term team member that they’re not a good fit—but it’s absolutely necessary for anyone looking to build a strong team. It also benefits everyone involved, because if a team member isn’t the right fit for your business, they won’t be able to grow and expand their capabilities.
So let’s take a look at some of the best advice I’ve learned over the years around how to hire the right team members for your business.
The most important hiring lesson.
My passion is helping entrepreneurs build Unique Ability Teams, and a huge component of that is, of course, knowing how to identify and hire the right team members.
Years ago, I found myself getting frustrated when I would work with entrepreneurs. I’d go to their office and meet with their senior team members, and sometimes I would notice right away that certain team members were not a good fit for the company because they were only in it for themselves—not the company.
Later, I’d tell the entrepreneur about this, and they would almost immediately tell me that I was wrong. They’d say, “No, they’re a great fit! They’ve been with me for two years and it’s been great. I can’t let them go.” But sure enough, a few years later, I’d get a call from them saying I was right and that they wished they had acted on my advice years ago.
It’s one of the most detrimental mistakes an entrepreneur can make, and one of the most important hiring lessons entrepreneurs need to learn.
Before you consider hiring new team members, you have to first understand whether your current team members are the right fit for your business. I’ve found that there are three distinct ways that team members can be a “misfit,” and understanding these are vital if you want to learn how to determine whether your current team members are a good fit.
This, of course, also extends to hiring the right team members. When you’re looking at hiring new people, you want to make sure they’re going to be committed to your company and be a good fit within the rest of your team. Here are three indicators that will help you determine this during the hiring process, which you can also use to assess current team members.
This might seem obvious, but entrepreneurs often overlook personality during the hiring process, choosing instead to hyperfocus on experience and skills. But really, personality is a core component of someone’s role at a company.
If a team member has an extremely outgoing personality, they’re probably better suited to a client-facing role like sales than something behind the scenes. And if someone is a little more introverted, they probably aren’t going to work best in client-facing roles and would perform better in something behind the scenes.
This is a bit of an oversimplification, but it’s important to recognize personality if you want to learn how to hire the right team members. It’s also important when looking at your current team members.
Personality is not necessarily a dealbreaker for current team members, but it can help you determine what role they may be best suited for. Just because someone has been in one role for years doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the right team member for that particular role. They may be better suited to something else, and personality is often the deciding factor.
Want to make sure you have all the right team members in the right roles at your company? Start with a personality check.
Want to make sure you’re hiring the right team members for your company? You guessed it—start with a personality check!
This is a unique aspect of hiring the right team members, and I’d even go as far as to say it’s the one part of hiring that most entrepreneurs get wrong. You need to learn how to hire team members who are able to keep up with you and your business.
This is something that can cause a lot of friction for entrepreneurs. If you’ve ever found yourself getting irritated when working with certain team members, this might be the reason. It can be very frustrating when someone you hired just isn’t able to keep up with you—and it’s just as frustrating for them as it is for you. In these cases, they might not be the best fit for your business.
This one is also unique in that you really need to understand your pace. Are you someone who moves quickly, or do you prefer to do things slowly and methodically? It goes both ways—if you like being more methodical, you’re going to get irritated when your new hire starts moving a mile per minute.
Like everything we’re discussing, this skill is important in hiring the right team members but it also extends to your current team members. I know letting team members go is painful, but if they’re not the right fit, it’s the best move for everyone involved. They’re probably just as frustrated as you are, and keeping them on your team when they’re not the right fit just means you’re preventing them from going off and finding a different role where they can provide more value and better utilize their Unique Ability.
3. Conative fit.
Conative is an adjective defined as “of or pertaining to a striving action,” and the best way to describe this as it relates to hiring is that it can tell you how people act and behave. It’s the way you operate in life, and this is where tests like Kolbe come in.
We all know that the Kolbe test and other personality tests can be useful during the hiring process, and it’s because they tell us what type of person someone is. This goes beyond just personality to explain how someone works and thinks—so it’s no wonder that it’s useful for hiring the right team members.
We use a number of tests at Strategic Coach during and after the hiring process, including Kolbe, DISC, CliftonStrengths, and Wonderlic. I’d highly suggest taking a look at some of those and thinking about how to best incorporate them into your hiring process. These tools are incredibly useful for entrepreneurs in the hiring process, but they’re also very eye-opening for the people taking them.
If you’ve never taken one of these tests before, stop reading and take one now! They will give you some amazing insights into how you work and what type of person you are. They tell you a lot about yourself, and you can use that knowledge to improve the way you work. You might even realize that you’re not in the right role!
Just to give you an example, my Kolbe shows that I’m a “Quick Start” (I have a natural ability to innovate or improvise when solving problems). It shows that I’m not a very detail-oriented person, and based on that, I could tell you dozens of roles that I’d be terrible in. I should not be tracking inventory or doing accounting where tiny little mistakes can cause huge problems. That would be a nightmare for me, but it would also be a nightmare for everyone I’d be working with!
Imagine if you could have that type of information during the hiring process. Hiring an accountant? They should be a “Fact Finder”! Hiring a salesperson? You probably want a “Quick Start.” Hiring a project manager? A “Follow Thru” will be a good fit.
If you’re not already using these tests in your hiring process, you have to start now. It’s one of the best methods for hiring the right team members. And in the same vein, if you haven’t used these tests with your current team members, I’d highly recommend doing so. It will show you how to utilize everyone’s unique working styles, abilities, and mindsets in the best ways possible. It’s a key part of building your own Unique Ability Team.
Want to help your team members develop an Entrepreneurial Attitude? Get them a copy of The Team Success Handbook today!
Getting clear on your own strengths, non-strengths, preferences, and working styles is so crucial for hiring as an entrepreneur. You want to build a team that complements you and is capable of handling all the things that you don’t want to do. And you’ll never be able to do that if you don’t first know yourself!