Hiring: Getting the right people on the bus

| By:
Mark Sokol
“Those who build great companies understand that the ultimate throttle on growth…is one thing above all others: the ability to get and keep enough of the right people” – Jim Collins, Good to Great

Here’s the thing: You already know you’ve got a great company. Now your challenge is to keep it that way. The key is finding and keeping the right people. That may seem like a big challenge in a shifting market, but with the right processes and a little bit of practice, you’ll be ready to build and perfect your dream team.

Attracting your team

IT Nation is a 2-day conference where tech solutions providers gather from all over the globe. When Raja Pagadala, CEO of The Final Step Ltd., spoke to attendees at the 2014 IT Nation, the lesson was clear: Be a magnet for the kind of incredible talent that will drive your company success.

Raja had a lot of incredible information to share with everyone in the IT Nation audience, and I want to take this opportunity to share some key takeaways that can help you find and retain the best people.

Hiring is a process

Make sure you’re sticking to legal and compliant hiring practices, and that you reach out for professional advice. Even if you’re a one-man shop, it’s worth the time and resources to make sure you don’t make a costly mistake.

Be prepared with this great checklist from HTG’s Robyn Porter, which lays out what you should have in place before starting the hiring process:

  • Do you have a clear mission, vision and value statements?
  • How is your staff turnover, and why?
  • Do you have a well-created job description?
  • Are you branding your recruitment like you would any other marketing campaign?
  • Are you using social media and technology in your recruiting efforts?
  • Do you have a well-defined hiring process?
  • Do you have a well-defined professional development process?
  • Why would someone want to work for you?
Get the Details

Once you have a feel for what will attract people to your company, it’s time to start checking out the potential candidates. Start with the easy stuff:

  • Check out their social media and LinkedIn profiles: You’re looking to make sure the things they share publicly are in line with your core values
  • Google them: Just see what comes up. A simple search can surprise you.
  • Verify their resume details: Call for job references and, if applicable, confirm their degrees or certifications
  • Ask about gaps in employment: The key here is less about the gaps and more about how they’re explained
Test time

Once you have a few viable candidates in the pipeline whose details have checked out, you want to be sure they can do the job well. Look for specific technical skills that meet your company’s needs. Carefully review their experience—a good candidate for any technology service provider should have industry familiarity and the kinds of responsibilities that distinguish them as hard-working and dedicated.

You’re also looking for values and attitudes that can be harder to see on paper. The right candidate should show a clear interest in IT, either in their professional career or their off-hours activities. You’ll want to find someone with strong communication skills and an openness to feedback, so they’ll fit smoothly into your team. Most of all, the perfect people for your team will be both willing and able to learn new things, since that’s all their first few weeks will be about.

Top priority

Your employees can make or break your business. Having the wrong people on the team can mean inefficient work, unhappy customers, and bad morale for everyone. When you find the right people, on the other hand, you’re investing in your most important assets.

Be prepared. Take your time. Choose wisely.