Marketing For Health & Wellness

Our Step-by-Step Guide to Better Hires

Title that say our step by step guide to better hires

Our Hiring Process

Getting to know someone can be a long process where it takes time to uncover all their talents and their quirks. Hiring a team member is similar and can be a lot like dating. Sure, you can follow the premise of the reality show “Married at First Sight” and jump into marriage (hiring) after one date, but it likely won’t work out that well. People are complex. It takes time to get to know them. So how do we go from first date, to first vacation together, to meeting the parents, to asking the big question? How do we increase our chances of not only a good match, but one that will take us closer to our goals?

Because ⅔ of the couples of “Married at First Sight” get divorced. Let’s not do that.

We’ve worked hard on developing our hiring process and I’d like to share our experiences and our results with you.

People make or break a company. This undeniable fact makes it essential to bring the right people on board. An amazing hire can propel your team and business forward in novel and energizing ways creating heretofore seen or anticipated success levels. A bad hire can hurt morale, cost money, or even damage client or customer relationships. Selecting the right candidates will be a factor in your chances of success in any market.

For a small business, it’s even more critical to make the right hires. The ratio is much more key. 1 employee out of 5 has a much greater impact than 1 employee out of 55. 

So, how do we vet great team members so we don’t spend lots of team time interviewing candidates who aren’t a great fit? How do we make our “dates” with them count?

Our Step-By-Step Guide To Better Hires

Many companies, especially when interviewing for high-level positions, ask for a work output exercise – whether it’s creating a marketing campaign or building a strategy based off of some data the company gives them. Personally, I think this is immoral. You’re asking the person to do work for free, and companies can (and have) steal the prospect’s work to use as their own, with no compensation. Consider what this practice says to others looking at the company for a position. How could this affect their branding if they are known for taking information without compensating in the “dating” process of employment?

As a small company, we simply don’t have unlimited resources and time to spend on interviewing someone for months.We HAVE to make our time count.

There are a few ways we speed-run the dating process to find “the one.”

  1. Resume AND cover letter
  2. Application survey – quantitative and qualitative
  3. Interview rounds with matrix & consistent questions
  4. Predictive Index

Why a Cover Letter is Imperative

Our Step-By-Step Guide To Better Hires

A resume is simply the what of your career, and a cover letter is the why of your career. A resume doesn’t tell a complete story, so we always ask for a cover letter. We want to know WHY you want to become a part of our team.

Additionally, we want to know if they have thought about the job and were interested enough to tailor a few paragraphs to us. Yes, it’s “hoop jumping”, but we want people who will jump through hoops. We don’t want to be just another job they are applying for. We want them to WANT to work with us. After all, we are planning on developing a working relationship with them. 

Application Survey with Quantitative and Qualitative Questions

Our real secret weapon is an application survey.

Our Step-By-Step Guide To Better Hires

On the job description, we direct all applicants to a Google form to apply. The Google Form asks for their resume and cover letter, then goes into qualitative and quantitative questions.

Quantitative questions ask things like “On a scale of 1-5, rank your experience in managing Google Ads.” I can hear some of you saying, “because it’s self-ranked, people can lie!” – well of course they can. 

My rule of thumb is that everyone exaggerates their experience by a point or two and I account for that in looking at the scores. And, because we ask qualitative questions about the same topics, we can ‘double-check’ for the answers. Remember, we rely on all the elements in the process–not just one.

Here’s an example. I once had an applicant rank themselves a 5 on email marketing experience. Then, when we asked “What is your preferred email tool and why?” they said “gmail.” Clearly, this person would not fit for a marketing firm that regularly develops email campaigns and marketing funnels as part of our strategies.

Qualitative questions are a chance for the candidate to explain themselves, their thinking, and share some of their experience. This is an opportunity to get to know what makes your candidate tick and what gets them jazzed.

  • “Give us an example of your experience with looking at analytics to inform your marketing and make it better.”
  • “What job, campaign or project are you most proud of?”
  • “What job, campaign, or project would you do differently if given the chance?”

And, my absolute favorite question: “Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about why you want this job, why you’re so amazing, or why we absolutely have to schedule an interview with you?”

The response to this last question is the most important one to me. Here is where I really make the majority of my “to interview” decisions. I typically sort all responses by the total quantitative score (highest to lowest), then look at that last question.

Christian Miller, our team member, wowed me with his response:

“Interview me because I promise I will be one of the best hires you make. I don’t say that to sound cocky or confident, I say that because you will enjoy working with me, AND I will do anything to make sure I deliver on that promise.

I understand I lack some industry expertise, but I am an avid learner and an effective communicator. My greatest asset is I do not need to be told to get to work or what to do, I seek help when I know I need it and utilize my expert Google-ing for everything else.

Thank you for your time and consideration and I look forward to hearing back from you!

P.S. If we are not a good fit I would greatly appreciate any feedback so that I can improve.” 

I mean, come ON. Look at that response. It’s beautiful. It’s articulate and well thought out. He acknowledges his weak spots, explains his special skills, and asks for feedback on how he can better himself. How could it be any better?

(And he was right – he IS one of the best hires we made!)

Not only that, but he showed up the interview prepared! He had done his research.  He had already listened to the media appearances I’d done and had even read my book. I knew he was interested in the job and that made me interested in him.

A wonderful benefit of this survey is that you can compare and contrast people’s answers to each other, and get some basic skill information out of the candidates as well. Don’t just list “Excel” as a skill on a resume, tell me how you used that skill in the real world.

Interview Rounds With Core Values Matrix & Consistent Questions

Just like you wouldn’t hire after the first date, we don’t hire after the first interview. We always have at least two interview rounds, if not three. Typically, I (the principal) am the last interviewer before a decision is made.  I want to involve my  team members in the process. I want the team members to talk to their potential future co-worker and get more detailed tactical information before they get to me for a “gut check”.

To keep things consistent, we have an interviewing matrix with questions drafted based on our core values. Prior to the interviews, the interviewer selects one or two questions from each core value to ask each candidate.

Our Step-By-Step Guide To Better Hires

Having consistency in the questions you ask the candidate helps you better compare apples-to-apples, and not bias interview results toward people who are naturally more friendly and chatty. 

Each candidate is ranked on a score of 1-5 based on their answer to the questions, which gives us a rough rule of thumb for an overall score. Of course, qualitative opinion counts here too!

For the first (or second) interviews, I like having two of our team members on the call. This way they can individually gauge the candidate and ask any specific questions the other person may have forgotten. It also provides an additional level of comparison as each of the team members may evaluate the answers differently.

Using Personality Tests to Gauge Team Dynamics

Personality tests are a hot topic – some people hate them and think they’re pseudoscience, others love them and ascribe to everything they say. I fall somewhere in the middle – they are interesting tools and can be directionally correct, but these aren’t the end-all-be-all that will fully outline how a person will act and react. It does, however, help to provide additional information that can help to make a decision when concerning all of the elements in the hiring process.

I’ve met quite a few business owners who are proponents of Predictive Index specifically. We’ve just started to utilize this as we evaluate candidates, but it’s early days.

One way that these test are useful is to provide balance within the team. I usually consider the personalities and workstyles of my existing team when considering a candidate. Then, I consider what is needed to help create balance in our workflows. 

If the team is full of extroverted, P-types (in the MBTI parlance), I’ll look for a J or someone more introverted. This kind of personality diversity helps balance us out and brings a different style to the table.

Our Step-By-Step Guide To Better Hires

The Ultimate Litmus Test

And finally, we have an internal litmus test every candidate must pass. 

“If it’s not a f— yeah, it’s a no.”

Let me repeat that.

“If it’s not a f— yeah, it’s a no.”

It’s easy, especially when in a time crunch, to go with the candidate that’s the best out of the current options – not the candidate that’s best overall. Sometimes you have a set of candidates where none of them is a winner. 

It’s better to walk away and try again another day than to go with someone who’s “good enough.”

Like many, we work to find the best way to find the best people for our company. While our process may not be perfect, it does include a few elements of comparison. 

It is our goal to utilize these tools so that those who walk in our doors share our values, goals and work ethics. We would love to hear from other business owners who have struggled or have developed their own answers to the “dating” process of gaining new team members. 

Let us know how you find great people for your team!

Effective marketing is tough. Arnold Marketing Consultants makes it easier. Right-fit, no-nonsense marketing.

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