To Hire the Right People You Have to Do Some Digging

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On June 1, 2018

Any successful business leader will tell you that hiring the right people is absolutely essential in order to grow your business. It also happens to be one of the most challenging tasks a leader can undertake. In theory, it should be fairly straightforward. Determine the skillsets and characteristics that you want and interview candidates until you find a good match. Naturally, it’s not quite that simple. To hire the right people you have to dig a little deeper.

What Does “Digging Deeper” Look Like?

As an executive business coach, I’m always on the lookout for tools that will help leaders be better at what they do in order to grow their companies. The folks at Topgrading use something they call TORC (Threat of Reference Check) technique. It’s simple, free, and effective. Here’s a great article that goes into the detailsof how it works. In short, it involves telling any interview candidate that a final step in hiring is for them to arrange reference calls with former bosses and others(I told you it was simple!).

Why Is It So Important to Do Reference Calls?

Some people are really good at doing interviews. They talk a good game. They present themselves well. They’re charming and convincing. They know what to say to make a good impression. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they can deliver. And sadly, some people pad their resumes or leave out negative experiences. By letting candidates know up front that you’re going to check references, you’ll scare off some of the pretenders. Of course, this only works if you follow through with your threat.

A Real-Life Example

I recently had the opportunity to observe firsthand how this can play out. One thing I do as a business coach is stress to my clients the importance of hiring wisely—to “get the right people on the bus” when they are filling key positions. One of my clients was in the process of hiring for a critical position on his leadership team and he invited me to participate in the process.

My client had one individual that seemed to be a perfect fit. He was smart, engaging, and growth-oriented. He talked about how he had helped his previous company grow by 25x. That was exactly what my client was looking for.

Then we asked for references. We asked him to set up reference calls with his last three direct reports and with the CEO of the company that had grown so dramatically. The candidate stalled. He gave us multiple reasons why the CEO couldn’t be contacted. And when it came to providing us contact information or setting up calls with his former reports, he simply didn’t do it.

He was great in the interview, but when it came time to verify what he’d told us, he folded. It was pretty obvious that he wouldn’t have been able to deliver what he had promised.

Hiring the wrong person is costly. Not only does it consume time and energy to bring someone on board and get them up to speed, but it will also delay you from achieving your goals. It might take months for you to realize that the person you hired isn’t delivering. Not only have you lost the money you paid that person, but you have also lost precious time.

If your business isn’t growing, it may be because you’re not hiring the right people. But that may just be one thing that’s keeping you from growing your business. Click on the orange button below to take a 5-minute assessment that will help you identify other areas that may be keeping you from the kind of growth you want to experience.