Why you should hire the best: In almost every category the best is way beyond good. You’ll get 10 times the results from the best people than you will from really good people. It will be more fun to work with a team like that. And they won’t cost you 10 times as much.
About hiring the best sales people, Seth says Good is not almost as good as great.
About hiring the best programmers Joel says It’s not just a matter of “10 times more productive.” It’s that the “average productive” developer never hits the high notes that make great software.
Similar things are true in every job category.
When you should NOT hire the best: Extraordinary people won’t work at an ordinary company. So you have to be extraordinary, not just have it on your mission statement. They need to be managed like adults and this is harder than you think. You have to pay them more (not 10 times more but certainly at the high end of the pay scale). They need the right environment. I’m not talking super-star requests for a certain kind of bottled water (this occurs but is rarer than you fear). I’m talking the right equipment, training, culture, and other support.
So if you’re not in a position to support these people financially, managerially, and culturally so they can do their jobs well, you should just hire ordinary people. Seriously.
How to hire them.
1. Describe what you want in behavioral terms – not vague platitudes. Don’t say “self-starter.” Would anyone look at that and think “I won’t apply to that job, I’m really a bum.” Instead, describe how you’ll recognize a self starter’s behavior. And, it won’t be the same everywhere. For example: At one company a self starter may be someone who comes in early and stays late to get the job done. At another company a self-starter may be someone who invents new ways to get the job done quicker so they can leave at 3 and hit the golf course. Same platitude, different behaviors. More about behavioral interviewing here from Inc Magazine.
Note: I was recently in a meeting with a person who at one point told me he wanted to hire people who would come in early and stay late. At another point in the meeting he said he wanted to hire people who could invent ways to get the job done sooner and leave early. You’ve got to get clear on what you really want.
2. Find them. They aren’t looking for a job. They have a good job. And if they have a good job and they are still looking, you don’t want them working for you because they’ll be looking then too. [Exceptions are the ones who are looking because of a reason you can fix - like they want to move to your part of the country]. Look for them as individuals not as a demographic. Find names, find addresses, find current employers. So you’ve got some sleuthing to do. Get going.
3.Woo them. I’ve always said the best metaphor for business is dating. Here’s the coolest example I’ve seen of how to woo people. Not that you should copy the details – they won’t be relevant to your company or the people you’re wooing. But you should copy the approach. And here are details of the pitch with pictures.
Seth Godin’s comment about this effort is: It’s not particularly difficult or even expensive, yet it’s rare. The reasons are simple: most recruiters don’t really care about hiring the very best people, and/or recruiters haven’t yet realized that they are marketers too.
[tags]hiring, entrepreneur, small business, [/tags]