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7 Steps to Finding & Hiring the Best Employees

Behind every great company is a workforce of superior employees. Hiring the best talent allows you to build your business and creates a positive work environment. But how you hire is important. Zappos hires for culture fit, Google is known for its crazy interview questions and even Chick-fil-A makes sure the people they hire already say please and thank you.

An effective hiring strategy takes a variety of factors into consideration and it’s up to you to create that strategy. Consider these seven tips for finding top-notch employees.

1. Develop a Detailed Job Description

Before you initiate any interviews, clearly outline your expectations of the new employee and how you see the person contributing to the company’s goals. Besides listing the obvious in the job description, such as main duties, also consider how the employee’s tasks dovetail with the company’s goals and vision.

What exactly do you hope to accomplish by hiring this individual? What sort of work style and outlook should the applicant possess? Develop a list of key skills, experience, training and traits you seek, which you can use to create an ad and explore in more depth during any resulting interviews.

2. Consider Hiring From Within

Hiring a “known quantity” has its advantages. Is there a current employee who possesses the necessary skills to fill the position, or is trainable? Someone already working for the company may have untapped talents. Or maybe your current employees know individuals who would make a good fit. Referrals are the new recruiter.

3. Carefully Review Each Candidate’s Materials

Thoroughly examine each applicant’s resume and supporting documents. Check for required skills and experience, look for any inconsistencies and gaps in employment and don’t be afraid to contact their references.

Also consider the overall appearance and impression the resume gives. Is the document well-written and free of typos? Does it open with a clear objective and highlight relevant experience? You want a prospective employee who eloquently explains his or her accomplishments and has a clear grasp of why those achievements are important.

4. Ask Telling Interview Questions

Besides asking the standard queries such as salary expectations and education and experience, take the opportunity during the interview to ask open-ended questions that encourage the interviewee to reveal as much information as possible.

Potential questions include: “Tell me about a successful project you were involved in.” “Why did you decide to join the industry?” “What are your strengths/weaknesses?” and “Where do you see yourself five years from now?” After the applicant answers each question, encourage the person to reveal even more by remaining silent for several seconds afterward. Many people will fill in the void by offering additional information.

5. Include Several Interviewers

Involving other members of the company in the first or second interview achieves a number of goals. Doing so gives you various perspectives on the potential employee, shows you how well the interviewee relates to other employees and reveals how the person performs in group situations. Including other members of the company is likely to bring out a side of the interviewee that you may not see otherwise.

It’s also important that before the interview, make sure all the interviewers are on the same page. What are you looking for in a candidate? What are you expecting from them? What questions are you going to ask? After the interviewee leaves, take a few minutes to discuss the applicant with the group and record the consensus and any thoughts or considerations.

6. Watch for Red Flags

Warning signs to look for when examining a job applicant include gaps in the resume the person can’t explain, hesitancy or a lack of information from former employers when you check references, inappropriate posts on social media sites, an unwillingness to make eye contact or answer certain questions during the interview and an inability to explain how accomplishments on the resume were achieved. If something feels off, it probably is.

7. Consider Chemistry

While skills and experience are critical, personality fit is equally important. An outstanding resume won’t change the fact that an applicant is not likely to positively contribute to the company culture. If your business requires that employees assist in the company’s social networking efforts, for instance, but the applicant expresses resistance at the notion, it’s probably best to move on to the next candidate. Never underestimate how important culture is to hiring and retaining employees.

Here at Grasshopper, we employ many of these tips and recently began practicing the A Method for hiring. The results have been great and the employees we’ve hired through this even better.

Any tips you’d like to share for hiring high-quality employees?

  • Shawn

    Detailed job descriptions are great, but it’s also really important not to overlook candidates just because they don’t fit the job description perfectly.
    You might find someone with tremendous potential who is only a month or two shy of your desired years of experience or who is looking to make a move from one industry to another–if you’re overly rigid and screen based on the description, you could miss out on some highly talented candidates.

  • Dana Costantino

    Its so simple, but so true. Outlining the key qualities in the employees and positions you are hiring for is incredibly important. It is also important to ask questions that give the candidate the opportunity to display those key qualities – which as you said are the open ended questions. Also you always want someone in management who is proactive. Thus, it’s just as important to listen to them as well. Take note of the questions they asked about the company, and how effectively engaged they are in the interview.

    If your a new company and just unsure of where to begin, this Bay Area company posted some fantastic blogs about hiring the right talent and retaining top talent: – of which the content is from one of Northern California’s top recruiting firms Accolo. There is also a free resource guide to download here:

    Great blog! Cheers!

    Dana Costantino

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