How to Hire the Right People for Your Business

Two hiring managers interviewing a female candidate sitting around a round desk in a busy office with a laptop, glasses, and clipboard on desk

One of the hardest parts of leading a company is handing over the reins to others. Nearly two decades have passed since I first experienced this challenge after opening my own business, but I remember it like it was yesterday. It was anything but easy, but also absolutely necessary.

Simply put, prioritizing the strategic initiatives required to drive the business requires putting trust in employees. The right employees. Hiring conscientious, trustworthy people will allow you to focus on the big picture while overseeing a cohesive, well-functioning workforce.

The Importance of Hiring the Right People

Hiring the right people will benefit your business in several important ways – both tangible and intangible.

Achieve goals

Scaling an organization is not a solo act. To grow and prosper, a leader needs the right team. Strong talent is required to accomplish meaningful business objectives, whether you’re reaching a certain revenue level, shaking up your industry, or making a difference in customers’ lives. 

Build a cohesive culture

One thing that sets the greatest companies apart is that their employees genuinely love working there. A positive, healthy culture makes people want to come to work every day. Strategic hiring will help you build a team that works together effectively and enjoys doing so. 

Promote longevity

When you hire thoughtfully, you’ll be more likely to select candidates who are the right fit, making them more likely to stay on staff for the long term. Strong retention promotes a resilient, seasoned workforce that will ensure your business can stand the test of time and weather the challenges that will inevitably come your way. 

Avoid hiring mistakes

Hiring the wrong people costs money, causes service disruptions, and lowers morale. A sound hiring strategy prevents hiring mistakes and their negative impacts on the business. A well-thought-out plan for interviewing and decision-making can have a significantly positive impact.

It’s also worth noting that no company or interview process can prevent bad hires. Yes, I said it, just as I’ve said to countless staffing clients and prospects. The very nature of hiring people creates infinite possibilities for things to go awry, so don’t focus on or expect perfection. Instead, increase your odds of success by implementing an efficient and consistent interview process.

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Strategies for Recruiting the Ideal Candidates for Your Company

1. Identify your hiring needs

Unfortunately, there’s no playbook that can tell you which roles to hire for at what time. Every business’ hiring needs will be different depending on market, size, goals, and other factors. One business might hire an entire executive team before building out its sales force, while another might have a team of salespeople in place before finding it necessary to have a dedicated CFO or CMO, and so forth. So, you’ll need to assess your unique situation to determine your most prominent staffing needs. 

Consider the company’s growth trajectory. How fast are you growing, and how much additional bandwidth is required to accommodate that growth? What new initiatives will impact staffing needs? Which roles are most critical to facilitate growth without interrupting operations?

Next, consider skills gaps. Which core competencies is the company lacking, or where is more depth required? Can existing employees be provided further training to cover gaps, or is additional expertise required?

This analysis should give you a solid foundation to set hiring priorities. 

Related: How to Identify and Set Hiring Priorities

2. Define your culture

Before you begin posting job listings, it’s important to define the culture you want to build. It’s impossible to conduct intentional hiring without a clear idea of the type of team you want to form. 

Your culture consists of a number of elements: intrinsic things like your values and desired staff attributes like integrity and humility, but also more tangible things like your work style and how teams are structured. 

A clearly defined culture will make hiring easier because it allows you to see which candidates will fit into your culture plan and which are clearly a poor match. It also helps you hire for potential, which is the idea of prioritizing trainable people aligned with your ideals versus onboarding candidates who have loads of experience but are a weaker cultural fit. 

3. Write strong job descriptions

Job descriptions are part sales pitch and part wish list. If written properly, they can do more than explain the position’s responsibilities – they can actually help you attract great candidates.

Make sure your JDs include all relevant details, including a well-defined list of requirements like education or prior experience. It should also share the value proposition you offer as an employer–your culture, what sets you apart, and why a prospective applicant would want to work for you. 

We talk in-depth about how to write a job description that will attract top candidates here. 

4. Choose the best recruitment channels

Recruitment channels are the platforms and methods you’ll use to get candidates to apply for your job openings. A few of the most common recruitment channels are referrals, job boards, online advertisements, social media, and job fairs. 

Recruitment channels should be selected based on who you’re looking to attract. For example, if you’re looking for a top-notch developer, you’d recruit in different places than you would if you were aiming to hire a seasoned sales pro. 

No matter what role you’re hiring for, a heavy emphasis should be placed on referrals. They’re consistently the most accurate channel for hiring strong performers, so it pays to incentivize your existing employees to recommend qualified people in their network for your open roles.

5. Verify skills

There’s a reason skills-based hiring is on the rise: it promotes objectivity and increases the likelihood of hiring strong performers. When you hire for skills, you place a greater priority on a candidate’s technical aptitude and relevant experience than you do on other factors like their degrees. This forces you to drill down to the most important question in hiring: Will this person be able to perform the job effectively?

Pre-hire assessments can help answer this question. Incorporating skills tests into your hiring process helps objectively verify that candidates meet a minimum threshold before proceeding to the interview process, where you can assess more subjective aspects like personality and culture fit.

6. Ask the right questions

Think of your interview questions as a discovery tool. They should be selected carefully to zero in on specific aspects of a candidate’s aptitude. 

To help with this, use the list of requirements you outlined in the job description. Each interview question should help you verify whether the candidate meets or does not meet one or more of those requirements. 

Using a mix of strategically chosen personality, background, behavioral, and situational questions will give you a well-rounded view of a candidate in the context of the job you’re considering them for. 

Related: The Best and Worst Interview Questions to Ask Candidates

7. Use hiring scorecards

Interview scorecards are another great hiring tool. They help interviewers objectively assess candidates and compare them against one another. 

Scorecards incorporate all of the hiring criteria for a role: education, experience, skills, personality, professional credentials, and any other important qualifications. During the interview, candidates are scored on each item using a predetermined scoring system. 

In addition to helping interviewers track candidates, scorecards help mitigate personal bias. It’s natural to be drawn to people who are similar to us, whether in terms of appearance, background, interests, race, ethnicity, or any factor that gives us common ground with a candidate. But these factors don’t predict job performance. So, it’s important to use bias-reducing tools like scorecards to hire more accurately. 

Check out our ultimate guide to interview scoring sheets with a customizable template here. 

8. Employ technology

One great thing about the times we’re living in is that you don’t have to tackle the challenge of hiring on your own. There are tons of highly useful pieces of technology that can simplify various parts of the process.

Use scheduling tools to automate the process of setting up interviews and sending email reminders. Leverage an applicant tracking system, or ATS, to manage your talent pool and move candidates smoothly through each hiring phase. Artificial intelligence tools can be deployed to identify strong candidates and predict their likelihood of success. Background check software can flag problematic items in a candidate’s history. 

We share the details on our favorite recruiting tech tools here.

9. Vet candidates thoroughly

In a perfect world, we’d be able to take every candidate at their word that they have the skills they claim to have or the experience they claim on their resume. However, it’s not a perfect world, and candidates sometimes embellish or downright lie about their qualifications. 

As a business leader, you can’t afford not to vet candidates thoroughly. One bad apple can tank team morale, lose you your top client, or clean out your bank account. Thus, tedious as these steps may be, it’s critical to verify references and conduct background checks before finalizing an offer. 

10. Make compelling offers

Finding the right people is only half the battle. You also have to convince them to work for YOUR company and not a different one. The offer you make to a candidate plays a big part in this decision. 

Offering competitive salaries is a given, but it takes more than that to woo top talent. Are you comparable to your competitors in other benefits, like 401(k) matching and wellness offerings? Work-life balance is a top demand. Can you offer greater flexibility in hours or work location to set yourself apart? What about employee development opportunities?

Making your offers as compelling as possible will help you close the deal after all the hard work you’ve put into finding great candidates. 

11. Develop employees strategically 

Top candidates crave opportunities to advance their careers. Strategic employee development initiatives not only strengthen employee engagement but make hiring easier, too. After all, it’s much easier to promote an all-star employee from within than to search for someone external starting from scratch when you need to fill an opening. Employee development also promotes retention, which reduces hiring costs. 

12. Don’t settle

This is the most important piece of advice on this list: don’t hire until you’ve found the right person. 

Which would you prefer: someone who will do a mediocre job for a few months and then leave or a long-term employee who’s committed to doing a great job and growing with the company? The answer is obvious; if it takes more time to find that second person, it’s worth waiting. 

If your staffing needs are urgent, consider using a temp agency to help cover gaps rather than making a rushed hire. 

Hiring the right people will strengthen your organization and ensure its continued success. Investing the time and energy to get it right is one of the most worthwhile things you can do for your business.  

Pete Newsome

About Pete Newsome

Pete Newsome is the President of 4 Corner Resources, the staffing and recruiting firm he founded in 2005. 4 Corner is a member of the American Staffing Association and TechServe Alliance, and the top-rated staffing company in Central Florida. Recent awards and recognition include being named to Forbes’ Best Recruiting Firms in America, The Seminole 100, and The Golden 100. Pete also founded zengig, to offer comprehensive career advice, tools, and resources for students and professionals. He hosts two podcasts, Hire Calling and Finding Career Zen, and is blazing new trails in recruitment marketing with the latest artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Connect with Pete on LinkedIn