Hire Great Talent In A Shifted Market


It’s always hard to decide whether you should hire someone to join your team. After all, your business might have been solely your responsibility up until now. Any outcome—good or bad—was yours to handle and to own. But things have changed. You’ve realized you can no longer do everything by yourself. As Gary Keller says, “When I am doing all I can do and cannot do any more, I know I am missing a relationship.” But taking the steps to get the right person on your team can be tricky. We’re here to help. 

All too often, we don’t plan ahead. We find ourselves at our wits end, overworked, overwhelmed, and needing someone to help us breathe. We hire out of desperation. A recent survey conducted by The Harris Poll showed that in order to fill an open position more than a third of businesses (39 percent) hired someone they typically wouldn’t have. When we hire from pain instead of a plan, it’s possible to end up with the wrong people around us.

But there is another way. Even in a difficult market, it’s possible to recruit someone to your team who is both the right fit and prepared to deal with the tough times with you. But first you must take an honest look at yourself and your business to determine the type of hire you need.

1. Assess Your Needs

Hiring smartly requires you to look at your own role in the business differently. You have strengths and you have weaknesses. We all do. But now that the market has shifted, it’s likely your weaknesses aren’t hidden as easily. Ask yourself if you are truly maximizing your own productivity and spending time doing what really matters. If the answer is no, you’ll need to find someone who can free up your time so you can focus on your highest dollar-producing activities.

As Gary and Jay Papasan explain in SHIFT, “The challenge in a shift is that in order to do more with less you must make sure that the less can do more.”

Difficult markets can reveal where our weaknesses lie, so it’s important to hire someone who complements your weaknesses with their strengths.

2. Use A Hiring Process

No matter how rushed you may feel, it’s worth taking the time to be confident you’re making the right hire. As we’ve discussed in a previous blog, following a hiring process is key. After all, making one good hire can ease the pressure and help your business start to hum again, no matter the market.

Screen Potential Candidates

After taking a hard look at your role, you should have determined responsibilities your new hire will take on. We suggest getting on the phone for a quick conversation with any potential candidates before you go any further. The point is to see if they appear to have the skills you are looking for and to see if they’re a strong enough candidate to bring in for a more in-depth interview.

Interview Candidates In-Depth

If you think a candidate has enough potential to meet with in-person, there are a couple of different interview tactics you should try. We know how pressured you may feel in a shifted market, but believe us when we quote SHIFT and say, “The more talented team members you have, the fewer you’ll need.”

First, it’s a good idea to learn about your candidate’s track record. Ask questions about the roles they’ve held, about their prior workplace dynamics and culture, and the knowledge they bring to the table. If these seem on par with the role you are hiring for, many people like to ask candidates to take a personality assessment next. While not everyone does this, it can be a good way to learn more about the candidate’s strengths and how they might fit into your organization. It’s important to note, however, that a personality assessment is only as good as the time you take to go through it with the person after it’s complete. If you don’t review the results with them, you can assume you’re missing a big part of who they are, what drives them, and circumstances that may influence the results. To get the most out of this step, make time for this review.

Take a deep breath because you’re not done yet. We suggest planning for two additional interviews—one in which you ask them to take you through their life story, and one in which you ask about what motivates them. Both help you to determine what’s shaped your potential hire and what they’ve learned from their life experiences. Together these give you clues about what their future trajectory may be. Understanding these aspects of their life will show if they’ll be a good fit for your business.  

Learn About Candidates From Others

If the thought of bringing this person on board makes you excited at this point, that’s great! Confirm those feelings elsewhere. If you have anyone else on your team, give them the time to meet with the candidate. You want to ensure they don’t catch any red flags you might have missed and that they click with the person too. And by checking the candidate’s references, you’ll make sure that they are who they say they are and that others agree with your assessment of their potential.

There’s no doubt that leaner times and market uncertainty bring a different type of anxiety to the hiring process. Remember, you aren't the only one experiencing a shifted market, which means that you may have a greater opportunity to recruit talent that may have seemed out of your league and price range previously. We know the process we suggest might seem long when you’re in need of help now. But we believe that taking the time during the hiring process to make sure you get the best possible people will save you time in the long run. When you take the time and follow the process, the opportunity to ease your workload and bring your business to the next level with an amazing new hire is huge!

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