Until you stop running your company, you will be looking for employees. What follows is based on the remarkably good notes Mary Gordon of InSite Builders in Bethesda, Md., prepared and sent to me for my review after the consulting call that she and her husband, Stephen, had with me. Specifically, we were discussing how to find good candidates for a full-time office manager position:

  • Begin the search online, perhaps using Craig’s List. Create a description of the work and highlight with bullet points the key attributes you are looking for in this person. Lay out benefits but say that the salary is negotiable.
  • There are two ways to receive the resumes: Go public in the ad—Say that this is InSite Builders, a noted remodeling firm, and then title the position and lay out the key responsibilities. If a person is interested they should send their resume to Mary@insitebuilders. Stay anonymous—Begin with, “A noted remodeling company working in Bethesda, Md., …” Have the resumes sent to a dummy address.com
  • Focus on your company, not the position, in describing the job. Say enough about both so the the resumes from interested folks are more likely to be a fit.
  • Owners should review the resumes coming in first. Decide ahead of time what the deal killers are, e.g., proximity to the office, choppy past work history, poor grammar, etc.
  • The candidate should have an undergraduate degree that is compatible with the position.
  • Use the DISC Personality Assessment Profile: A person in this position should be a High C (likes systems and follows them) and High S (wants to be liked).
  • One of the most important attributes in this position is someone who can systematize office methods, procedures, formulas, etc. So make sure to ask about his/her experience doing that for others.
  • If this new hire is to be answering the phone, he or she should have some "I" (per DISC) and be able to ask probing questions. but someone with a lot of "I" will not be good at creating and following systems so be clear about exactly what you what from this position.
  • Draw on all of the things that have driven you crazy in the past regarding this position. Turn those unfortunate realities into questions. Make sure the questions cannot be answered “yes” or “no.” Always ask probing follow-up questions, such as “Tell me more” or “What made that the right choice?” and so on.

In the next few weeks, I'll lay out step-by-step tips on reviewing resumes, doing phone interviews, the application process, and the in-person interview.

  • Finally, consider reading Hiring Smart by Pierre Mornell.  It contains an lot of useful information on establishing your company’s hiring system. Remember:
  • Don’t  try to sell the person on the company
  • Don’t talk 100% of the time
  • Ask questions. Ask follow-up questions (i.e. "Why is that important?"), then ask more questions
  • We are like detectives in this case. Ask questions
  • Don’t make it easy to get in the door
  • Hire slowly, fire fast