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We’re hiring! Now what?

By Sander Biehn | Aug 23, 2014

Looking for the right kind of help is challenging. I swore when I left the corporate giant that I would only work with people I liked, and who wanted to be around me. I am a pretty likeable guy, but I definitely have opinions on how I like to see things done and, much more importantly, why I am in business to begin with.

My ‘why statement’, as my friend John Haldi puts it, has been my guiding light since I started Thought Horizon. Nothing is more important to me, and reminding myself in the mirror of the hotel room of just why I am in business has been the secret to my success. This is the what my customers buy from me and it is how I have grown their business and mine.

While no one will care about your business as much as you do, you can make the best choices when hiring by following a few simple steps that incorporate your ‘why statement’ into the process:

1. Find someone who shares your world view. I am not suggesting you find a clone or someone exactly like you.  In fact, by doing that you may create large blind spots in your business approach.  I am suggesting you find someone who has similar motivation. For me, it is the spirit of conquering the unknown, stretching to understand how new technologies and media can not only do more for clients, but help the world evolve into a better place. It is someone who wants financial gain, but is not working solely to make more money. It is someone who wants to be part of the greater societal conversation on how we can make business more efficient for everyone.

2. Hire a relationship builder. We all know them. The person who is so crazy smart or creative, you can’t help but being impressed. You salivate over how their talents will impress your clients.  But here is the reality: while this person may have great ideas you can sell, nothing is more important that relating to clients and understanding what customers need.  That is why I advocate hiring a listener, someone who can empathize and understand what is needed from the point of view of a business executive or salesperson on any given day.  This type of employee can help you think expansively. Your business will be different in 2015 than it is in 2014. You must continue to evolve and no one can show you the way better than an employee who knows how to build relationships with customers.

3.  Diversity.  Finding someone with a different background than you is important. In nature we find that lack of genetic diversity can yield fast short term growth, but almost always guarantees long term obsolescence.  The same holds true in business. The first step in innovation is embracing diverse ideas. Diversity is going to have a slightly different meaning for everyone. Figure out what it means for you and be bold in your hiring.

Make your hiring decisions count. By following these steps you will embed your ‘why statement’ into your business. This is at the core of building a company culture. Small to medium size business struggle with building culture, not knowing that each hiring decision made is another brick in the wall of how the company as a whole will function.

I welcome your ideas and comments. What do you think? What are your guiding principles when hiring?


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