Hiring is our most important job – Mark MacLeod

November 9, 2022 - Mark MacLeod

Hiring is our most important job

Many companies say that their people are their greatest asset. This sounds nice. But for starters, your staff are not an asset. They are portable. More so than ever. They come. They go.

But this statement does hint at the right conclusion: that hiring great people is the most valuable thing you can do.

Despite all of our technology, automation, etc everything comes down to people. Every issue. Every opportunity.

As a CEO, your success is 100% tied to the strength of the leaders you hire. And the results that those leaders deliver is 100% tied to the strength of the teams they build beneath them.

In boom times, when companies are growing, the demands on staff to make time for interviews can be high. Staff feel the pressure of fitting this on top of all their deliverables.

I don’t think I need to state how important hiring and people are to the success of your company. Instead, the point I want to make here is that it is vital to design your company around the notion that hiring is the most important thing you can do.

So how do we do that?

Start from the top – As with most things that I suggest, if they are important and if they are to stick, they must come from the top. From the CEO. People watch what you do, more than what you say. How much time are you making for hiring?

Google was a very large company before the founders stopped being involved in EVERY hire. Now, they were not meeting every candidate personally. But, they did receive a ‘hiring packet’ of information on every hire and were part of every decision.

This clearly showed the importance of hiring. And if you knew the founders were involved, then you needed to only send the best candidates up to them.

Create & continually improve a hiring system – I operated inside startups for 14 years. I never once received any training on how to hire. It was up to me to figure it out. My interviewing style could be completely different from someone else that was interviewing the same candidate.

As a result, the hiring conclusions we reached were likely flawed.

Again, going back to Google, they created a standardized system for all hires. The hiring packets that I mentioned before were the same for everyone. And every attempt was made to remove subjectivity from the content of those packets.

Create space for staff to hire well – If you are asking employees to fit in hiring on top of a full workload of other meetings and deliverables, they are going to feel pressure and either the hiring or their other work will suffer. In the worst case, your best people, the ones you trust to help hire more great people, will leave.

Recognizing this, what if you designed jobs and assigned deliverables knowing that your best people are going to spend a large amount of time hiring? You build this into their schedule from the start, making it a core responsibility.

Staying on Google, they reward staff that make hiring a priority. Staff that are involved in this get more advancement and promotions. This is aligning the importance of hiring with how they operate.

Measure & iterate – this goes back to systems, but what gets measured is what matters. There are so many ways to measure and improve your hiring process. Here are just a few metrics to consider:

% of candidates by source (inbound, referral, recruiter, etc)

% by university

Your hiring funnel (just like a sales funnel)

Attributing your best staff back to where you found them and the hiring manager that recommended them

Time to close great candidates

% of staff referring (a key sign of engagement)

If you want the best team for your company, then hiring needs as much space and importance as the building and selling of your product. After all, it is the people you hire that will do those things. Nail that and the rest gets easier.

Questions to consider:

In what ways am I setting (or not setting) the example around the importance of hiring?

How much of my time is allocated to hiring? Do I track this? Am I happy with it?

Do I explicitly create time in my schedule for hiring or do I just fit it in when I can?

Do we have a system for hiring consistently? How can we improve it?

Are we good at hiring? What % of our hires are truly great people?

Do staff realize that hiring is their top priority? How do we make this their top priority?

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

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