Until you stop running your company, you will be looking for employees. And if you're intent on doing it well, every hire takes very deliberate intention and planning.

Here are some insights for finding good candidate that came out of notes Mary Gordon of InSite Builders. She sent these to me for review after a consulting call I had with her and her husband Stephen to explore specifically how they could find good candidates for a full-time office manager position.

Begin the search online, perhaps on your web site and/or on your social media accounts. 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.

Focus on your company, not the position when describing the job. Say enough about both so the the resumes from interested folks are more likely to be a fit.

Ask for resumes. There are two ways to receive the resumes:
1) 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.
2) Stay anonymous: Begin with, “A noted remodeling company working in Bethesda, Md., …” Have the resumes sent to a dummy address.com
Choose the way that makes you most comfortable.

Within the compoany, 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. After weeding out and selecting candidates, you can share the resumes with key personnel who will be overseeing and/or impacted by the new hire.

Qualifications. Use the DISC Personality Assessment Profile: A person in an office manager position should be a High C (likes systems and follows them) and High S (wants to be liked).

Decide if the candidate should have an undergraduate degree that is compatible with the position. For this position, a degree in business management or related field, but may not be necessary if the candidate has relevant prior experience running an office and has good references.

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.

When questioning prospective hires: 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.

To prepare, consider reading Hiring Smart by Pierre Mornell.  It contains an lot of useful information on establishing your company’s hiring system.


  • Don’t  try to sell the person on the company.
  • Don’t talk 100% of the time.
  • Ask questions. Ask follow-up questions (e.g. "Why is that important?"), then ask more questions.
  • We are like detectives in this case. Ask questions.
  • Don’t make it too easy to get in the door.
  • Hire slowly, fire fast.