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Quickly scaling businesses are our specialty over here at Bigcommerce, and we know that with growth often comes the need to let go a little. This typically means backend automation to increase business efficiency and the handing off of workloads to free up intellectual bandwidth. In this three-part series, first published Candid Culture, a Bigcommerce customer, you’ll learn how to effectively hire, manage and train your staff so that every new team member you bring on is as passionate and hardworking about your business as you.
Most hiring best practices tell you not to hire people like you, and instead create diversity in your workforce. And, that’s sort of true. You should hire people with different skill sets, experiences and ways of thinking. But, you should also hire people with a similar work ethic and values, or you will consistently be frustrated.
Here’s what I mean: if you live to work and hire people who work to live, that’s a difference in values. If your view of what is reasonable regarding expected hours worked is different from your employees, that difference will cause conflict. If you value open, honest communication, but your employees can’t or won’t speak truthfully, that’s going to cause frustration. And these values and practices won’t change. Trust me.
The question is how to identify candidates’ values and work ethics before you hire them. Here are a five hiring tips to ensure you hire people who reflect your values and work ethic.
- Describe what it’s really like to work for you and your organization. Don’t sugar coat the bad stuff. Tell the truth. Candidates will find out eventually. If the negatives of the job are deal breakers, your new employees will leave anyway.
- Check references. I’m shocked at the number of hiring managers who don’t check references. You might think that references have been so well trained to say nothing incriminating that making the call is a waste of time. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Be personable, make friends with the reference, ask innocent-sounding questions, and references will tell you everything you need to know.
- Require candidates to jump through some hoops during the interview process. Ask candidates to invest time doing a little of the work they’ll do on the job. This is called a “practical interview,” something way too few hiring managers do. If candidates aren’t willing to invest this time, cut them.
- Ask about a candidate’s preferred work hours, and believe what they tell you. If someone wants to work 35 hours per week and your culture is 50 hours a week, it won’t matter matter how much your new hire wants and enjoys her new job. She doesn’t want to work 50 hours a week, and won’t do so for very long.
- Don’t ignore red flags or your instincts. If you think, “I have some concerns, but let’s see. Maybe it will work out.” Run the other way. It won’t work out. You’ll end up cutting that employee after months of training and coaching, or s/he’ll end up cutting you. It’s faster, cheaper and easier to wait to hire until you find the right person.
Overall, the number one hiring rule of thumb is this: Be slow to hire and quick to fire.
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