Attitude over aptitude
I have to be honest here, I really don't love the hiring process. Although I love the journey of growing the business and discovering awesome talent to add to our RB family, I don't love the actual process. In 5 years of running and growing this business I have learned a few things. One MAJOR lesson for me was the value of the "gut check". It is tremendously difficult to truly read someone in a 45 minute interview, but it is of the utmost importance for me to make the right hiring decisions. I carry the weight of responsibility not only for me and the success of the business, but also for our team. We are a small, tight-knit group and all feel the ripples when someone is not the perfect fit. Therefore, I take the hiring decisions VERY seriously.
I guess I really didn't expect the small business hiring or team-building process to be so challenging. Entrepreneurship encompasses a TON of challenges, but I personally was not prepared for how far up the list hiring would be. So, I've put together a few tips. Take them or leave them, but if you find yourself in the same boat, I hope you find them helpful.
1. Attitude over aptitude.
I have found that previous experience may be nice, but it's much more about the big picture. Are they positive? Energetic? Responsive? Passionate? A motivator? See, working at RuffleButts is far from easy. It is a complete requirement to be passionate about this company and your job in order to succeed here. You can be super smart, awesome at what you do, but if you don't fit into our company culture, you will not succeed. I think this rings true for any career at any company, but ten-fold at entrepreneurial organizations.
2. You will find what you are looking for.
If an interviewee opens will all of the things wrong with their previous companies, bosses, co-workers, I know pretty early on that they likely will not be happy here either. I know that some jobs just stink, believe me, I've worked them before. And some bosses are awful...yep, worked for them too. But in life, if you are looking for the negative you are certain to find it. And if you're looking for the positive, you'll find that too. An interview is an opportunity to shine and you are just not in your best light when focusing on the negative.
3. If they make mistakes in their cover letter or resume, they'll make mistakes in their job.
Seems like a no-brainer, right? Not really. I have received resumes from some seriously talented and experienced individuals, but am dumbfounded by the number of grammatical and spelling errors. Look, I know we all make them, especially in email, but if you want a job bad enough, you'll spend 2 minutes re-reading your email or cover letter to make sure it's perfect.
4. Follow-up is key.
Mark used to laugh at my follow-up rule, although I think he has been convinced over the years. If I am hiring for any type of customer service or sales position, the candidate is completely excluded if they do not follow-up in some manner following an interview. You better believe if they can't thank us for our time, they are certainly not going to thank a customer for theirs.
5. The 'gut check' is the deciding factor.
This one is so tough, but I will do everything I can to give them a fair shot here. If I question my read, I will bring them back to interview with someone else and sit in. I don't have much time to waste, but I feel this time is ultimately time well spent in finding the perfect fit. Here's the rule, if you have a gut feeling that they are not the right fit, DO NOT HIRE THEM. I know the feeling, we're drowning, we have an open position and are losing thousands daily because of it. Not an ideal situation, but I commit to doing whatever needs to be done to ultimately find the right fit.
And my ultimate tip, and by far the most challenging...even if you've already hired them, if you know early on that it is not the right fit, let them go. The earlier the better for both parties involved. I owe this piece of advise to my entrepreneur dad. He's been in business for let's just say, many more years than I have, and has shared this advise over and again. I'm pretty darn stubborn, but this one has definitely proven true.
With all of this said, I feel so extremely fortunate to work with an AWESOME team, but I am the 1st to say that it has not been an easy task building it. I feel like we get better and better with each hiring experience and I will continue to commit to the process of building the 'perfect' team!