Hire and Keep the Best People Part 1


By Brian Tracy

The critical constraint on the growth and success of your business, or any business, is the ability to attract and keep good people. All other resources are freely available and can be acquired with relative ease.

What makes productivity and profitability is the quality of the people behind them, and there has never been such a shortage of high-quality people as we are experiencing today. Brian Tracy found that attacting good people and getting them to stay is a key business skill, perhaps the key business skill. If an incompetent or inappropriate person is hired, it is the manager who is incompetent, not the employee. The fact is that hiring is a key managerial skill.

1. Make Selection Your Top Priority
If you select in haste, you will repent at leisure. One of the rules for good hiring is this : ” Hire slowly and fire fast.” Take your time to make the right decision prior to hiring in the first place. But if it becomes clear that you have made a mistake, move quickly to reassign or get rid of the person before he or she does any more harm.

Cost of hiring a wrong person involves loss of time, money and productivity. Various people in your organization get together and talk about the mis-hire. They rehash what happened and feed the rumor mill. Often, they become demoralized when they see people being hired and fired around them and wonder if they might be next. Their productivity suffers as a result.

2. Think through the job
Determine the results required from the job, identify the exact skills that the ideal candidate will need to have in order to get those results. Hire people for what they have already done successfully rather than for what they think they can do if given a chance on the payroll.

The mark of a superior executive is thoughtfulness. The very best managers and executives are far more thoughtful when it comes to personnel decisions than the average managers.

3. Write out the Job Description
The skill or proven ability to achieve the most important result of the job goes to the top of the list. Think about the people with whom the person will be working. Everyone has to fit into a team of some kind, and it is absolutely essential that whomever you hire gets along well with his or her coworkers and is accepted by them. A mistake in this area alone can be fatal to the selection process.

4. Cast a Wide Net

5. Interview effectively
Always look for and hire nice people. A pleasant personality is perhaps as important as any other quality you can find in a good job candidate. An optimistic person is generally warm and friendly throughout the interview and is comfortable with himself or herself with you. Look for this attitude in every interview. Start selling your company only when you have decided to buy.

6. Look for the best predictor of success
The one predictor of long term job success that seems to be more powerful than any other single factor is called “self-selection”. After 30 years of research into career paths of many thousands of employees, experts found that an intense desire to work for their particular company, expressed during the initial job interviews, seemed to be common among most of the best managers and staff over the long term.

7. Probe past performance
Past performance is the only truly accurate predictor of future performance. It is the only measure that can be proven. All else is arguable, based on hope and conjecture and often, exaggeration. Ask detailed questions about his or her previous work experiences and successes.

Especially, ask about his or her greatest achievements in a previous job. Probe the answer you’re given. Ask the candidate to elaborate and explain exactly what he or she did, what happened as a result, and how he or she felt about that accomplishment.

8. Check Resumes and References Carefully
The most expensive mistakes you will ever make in hiring will be as a result of not properly checking and confirming the truth and validity of the hired person’s background. An omission in this area can cost you thousands of dollars and many months of aggravation and frustration.

You will come across a special breed of job hunter in your career. These people are called “articulate incompetents” They seem to be everywhere. You must watch out for them. These people have only one skill : the ability to interview well for a job. Beyond that, they are incapable of doing anything of value. They are extremely creative at making plausible excuses for nonperformance. They are usually charming and friendly, with good sense of humor. Everyone likes them, which is why you find yourself questioning your own judgement when they don’t do the job you hired them for.

9. Practice the Law of Three
Using the Law of Three, you interview at least 3 times for any position. You can use the Law of Three in several ways. The first application requires that you interview at least 3 candidates for any position. Second, interview the candidate you like the most at least 3 times.

A candidate who looks great at the first interview might look average at your second meeting and completely unacceptable at your third meeting. Hiring decisions that you make solely by intuition or impulse can often turn out to be mistakes.

10. Make the decision properly
Before you make a final hiring decision, take some time to review what you know about the candidate and company. First of all, consider the corporate climate and the people mix in your company. This will play a vital part in the new employee’s future performance. Will he or she fit into your corporate culture and climate?

Use the “family member” method of selection. Ask yourself, ” Would I feel comfortable inviting this person to my home to have dinner with my family on Sunday night?” This is a great question to ask because it gives you a better intuitive sense for whether or not this person will fit in with you and the other people on your team.


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