Tag Archives: hiring tips


Six Tips for Hiring Right

I think the hiring process is broken.

Over the last few years, we’ve let resume scrapers, personality tests, and other technology take too big a role in how we process resumes, interview candidates, and hire new people. Successful candidates today write their resume and cover letters to keywords and search terms to hopefully help them float to the top of the hundreds of resumes they are up against to fill a single job opening.

I know the technology goal is to help Human Resource and hiring managers weed out those applicants who wouldn’t be a good fit for their organizations. And, although it may have streamlined the process of determining who should move forward through the interview process, I think in many instances it’s pushed the wrong people through.

I’ve been at Lendio since spring. I’m here because a former colleague knew my capabilities and was in a position to tell me about a possible role for me when I asked about it. He was also in a position to speak for me when it came time to make a decision about whether or not to hire me. Although I had a very successful track record where I was when I started to think about making this change, I can’t help but wonder if I would have received any serious consideration had I been an unknown commodity.

I have other friends who haven’t been so lucky.

Although this isn’t intended to be an advertisement for my friend Geoff, there will likely be some who think it is. I’m putting his name to the story because it’s real and it’s happening right now.

Geoff Crane is a project management friend I’ve known and worked with virtually over the last several years. Not too long ago, he determined that he needed to finish his education to better his career, so he went back to school. Since graduating, the pickings have been pretty slim—despite a 22+ years long successful career and a recent degree. So not long ago he offered a $25,000 finders fee to anyone who could help him find a job. Again, I’m not interested in the finder’s fee nor is this an advertisement for a job (nevertheless, I’m sure he’d talk to you if you’re interested). But it’s a great example of what a broken system has forced a highly skilled and talented professional to do to find a job.

Unfortunately, aside from getting some airtime on his local TV station, a couple of articles in the news, and some interesting PR, he’s still looking for a job.

I recently read an article written by Evernote CEO Phil Libin on how they hire and keep their best talent. Although most of it is real common sense (and doesn’t rely on a resume scraper), I think it bears repeating here. Here’s the list:

  1. Recommendations from close friends (or just hiring close friends) is the best way to start: I currently work with a number of colleagues and friends I’ve worked with before. Many of them where here before I was. They knew what I was capable of, and knew how we would work together. The logic of this is pretty straightforward. Evernote offers what Libin describes as a “generous bonus” if they end up hiring someone referred by an employee.
  2. Hire people smarter than you (or at least smarter about their particular job than you are): Several years ago, when I was leading the creative team at Response (a local ad agency), we made it a point to seek out the right talent. If we didn’t find a good fit, we wouldn’t hire. We thought it was more important to hire the right people and wouldn’t settle for the best person of those who had applied. It often meant waiting, but as a result, we got to work with some incredibly talented people.
  3. Make them write: Although I had never thought of this, I intend to do this in the future. Libin argues that you can fake it in person, but your real personality is revealed pretty quickly when asked to write a few paragraphs. This is great advice.
  4. Make sure they talk sense: The ability to communicate and collaborate is so important, this should be a no-brainer. Regardless of the technical prowess a potential candidate might have, if they can’t communicate with you or their colleagues, they aren’t going to be the right fit. It reminds me of my high school trigonometry teacher, he was brilliant—he just wasn’t very good at sharing his brilliance with me. I soon abandoned math never to return (thank heavens for calculators).
  5. Be generous with benefits that help the team get stuff done: Assume your people want to do a good job and give them the tools they’ll need to do it. This might sometimes mean buying lunch, being flexible with work schedules, or any number of other things. You know your people and what they need to get the job done.
  6. Don’t hire anyone you’re not willing to also fire: This is a tough one. Nobody likes to be the guy to drop the bomb and tell somebody they’re fired. Particularly if you’ve hired a close friend as suggested in #1, but sometimes one bad player can quickly ruin morale, end collaboration, destroy productivity, and even cripple an organization. Most people don’t show up to work with an “I wanna suck today” attitude, but if they aren’t willing or are unable to learn the skills they need to make a good fit, it’s better to act swiftly—much like ripping off a Band-Aid, you know it’s gonna hurt for a little while. But it’s much better than suffering through a bad hire that’s going to have long-term negative consequences.

My grandmother used to say, “Well begun is half done.” I think that’s true of hiring people too. Hire the right people and you’re half done, hiring the wrong people and you’re in trouble. What are you doing to ensure that you hire the right people—and then keep them?


As a Main Street business evangelist and marketing veteran with more than 25 years in the trenches, Ty Kiisel writes about leading people and small-business issues for Lendio (www.lendio.com).

hiring tips

Hiring Tips: Finding The Right Person For The Job

Just as in your love life, you may have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find the right prince for you. The same is true in business; you may have to try out a few employees before you find the right fit for your organization.

After running a successful business for more than 25 years, I can relate to the struggles of finding the right person for each open position. In the process I’ve learned a few tricks.

I’d like to share my top 10 hiring tips:

Detailed job description

Most importantly, have a well-written, detailed job posting outlining exact requirement— the skills, the demands, the work load, the expectations of the position, etc. Make sure that you include not only the “fun” or “exciting” tasks, but also the sometimes harder-to-swallow tasks. Will they be dealing with customers complaints, working after hours, or on-call as needed? Be sure the applicant can meet all of your basic requirements and goes into the position with eyes wide open or you may find yourself searching for a new employee after a few weeks.

Multiple interviews/interviewers

You have to be honest with yourself and the interviewee. Ask for others on your team or even outside of your business to help you assess candidates and what you really need. Make sure you interview a candidate more than once; if the position is phone-heavy, implement a phone interview. If they’re going to be working in the field, take them out on a work interview to see how they perform.

Personality matters

Not only are the technical skills important, but also know what personality will thrive in the open position. So often, we try to make the person in need of a job fit the position. As a business professional, you must stop thinking that way. You have to find the best match, even if that means waiting a week or two or more.

Money talks

We’re all in business to be successful. This means finding the best person for the open position is imperative. It will save you time, money, stress and sometimes even your company’s reputation. Several bad hires can be more costly than holding out for the right person. It’s better to spend money on the right candidate from the beginning than hiring someone with less experience or less qualified because they’ll work for less money. You often lose more money while training a new individual than you would have spent hiring the right person.

Do they play nice in the sandbox?

If the position requires they work with several other individuals in your organization, make sure they can get along and work together. If they will be working alongside your customer base, ensure they’ll be able to represent the company well. Some individuals don’t take direction well; some have a hard time working with members of the opposite sex. And some have a hard time working with the same sex because they feel a sense of competition (maybe they’re shy). Finding someone that is easy to work with is key to your businesses success.

Some skills are not transferable

Just because your friend answered the phone for a doctor’s office doesn’t mean he or she is really qualified to work in an insurance claims office as a customer service representative. Think of how different the environments are — maybe it’s the demand of the calls, the need to multitask differently or the speed at which the calls are coming.

Know their weaknesses

All applicants have strengths and weaknesses. As I mentioned before, go into an interview with your eyes wide open. Can your company work with the individual’s weaknesses? It may be something easy to overcome, or it could be detrimental to your organization.

Establish a trial period

Try a temp agency first. Some hires feel right, some interviews are strong, but two weeks later, you wonder what happened to the person you interviewed. By using a temp agency, they can take on the burden of up-front hiring costs and HR paperwork that takes more time away from your business. If the temp agency sends someone that isn’t a strong fit, personalities clash or the work ethic is off, you can stop working with them fast and painlessly.

Do your due diligence

Protect your company’s assets, and have background checks done on every single candidate — even if you’ve known them for 30 years. You have to know you can trust them. Especially in my industry, we are in and out of people’s homes on a daily basis. I need to know my employees have done nothing in their past that would give me cause for concern now.

Next-generation employees

When interviewing candidates under 25 years old, it’s important to recognize they were raised in a technology-heavy generation. They may be more comfortable communicating via text or social media than face-to-face. They probably enjoy and thrive in group environments more than your older employees do. Don’t write them off too quick; they may need a little more help understanding their role in the company, but they can bring a lot to the table if you give them a voice.