It is often said that “employees are a business’s greatest asset”, yet how do you go about finding that greatest asset? We will often hire those folks we know or like, but may not look in detail at things such as skill set or personality type.


 How well will this person fit the particular job we have in mind for them? Will they be able to perform the job functions? Will they like doing what is required? How do you the owner/manager, hire the right person?

The first part of the process should be to define what is needed from the new employee. A great way to do this is with what I call a “Positional Specification”. Think “Job Description”, but with more clarity. It should include things such as;

  • Summary of Duties;
    • Explain in overall terms what the position will entail and what is expected of the team member.
  • Key Qualifications;
    • Educational Requirements
    • Specific Skills
    • Computer Proficiency
    • Professional Appearance
    • Proficient written and spoken communication skills in English (or other language if needed).
  • Key Responsibilities;
    • List specific areas for which this person will be responsible.
  • Additional Requirements;
    • Include such things as work hours or appearance requirements or restrictions.

Be as specific as you can with what you expect from the employee. Don’t explain how to do the job. That will be in the Operations Manual, but do be specific on what it is you want the employee to do so they have clear expectations.

Consider also the personality type you want for the position.

I recently worked with a medical service client looking for a person as the liaison for the insurance companies. Conflicts in such a position are almost unavoidable. The medical provider wishes to help their patient while the position of the insurance company leans more toward saving costs. Sometimes it is necessary for the person in this job to defend a position to the insurance company.

We looked at several candidates. Some with more task orientation and some with more people type orientation. Some candidates had a more outgoing personality and some with a more introverted personality. We are all made up of different levels of each and different jobs will be more comfortable for different personalities. In this case we found the candidate with the mix of qualifications and personality to be suitable for the various aspects of the job. This person needed to be more forceful than a candidate for a receptionist position. There is no right or wrong type of person, rather a comfort level fit with the duties and requirements of the specific job.

What about the hiring process itself? My past experience as a Vice President and General Manager for a manufacturing facility was to advertise the position, collect resumes, and call in the best candidates for individual interviews. We would then select the person with the best perceived fit. There are two problems with this system;

  1. Individual interviews take a tremendous amount of time.
  2. This system does not really look for passion or the “want to” for the job.

Once you have created the Positional Specification for the job consider the following hiring procedure;

  1. Throw the net wide by advertising broadly, but do not mention your company name.
  2. Have the candidates call a non-company phone number.
  3. Instruct the candidate to respond verbally to questions and send an e-mail with their resume and some other chore you would like them to do, to an outside address.
  4. Assign yourself or a manager to filter the verbal and written responses to select candidates for a group interview.
  5. Conduct a group interview with the finalists and some of your team members.
  6. Review and rate the candidates with your team.
  7. Conduct individual interviews with just one or two of your team members to see the final two candidates and make an offer, if appropriate.

We recently used the process above. We began with over 60 responses to the advertising. Some would just hang up when asked to respond to questions. Some would not send in the information to the e-mail. None of these required any time by the owner to meet or review any information. The group interview was held with 11 candidates from whom two were chosen as finalists for the individual interviews. Time spend in the entire process was reduced by probably 90% and resulted in a new employee with the passion to work hard and fit well with the other team members.

Employees really are our greatest asset, but how will you find them?