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Hiring a strong team is one of the toughest parts of entrepreneurship. An owner goes from doing everything, to learning how to delineate tasks to someone else who may not love the work the same was as they do. Even though I had managed hundreds of people before, and taught leadership to leaders, learning to let someone else be the face of my business and do things on my half was tough. Most founders either give away too much of their business to someone who isn’t ready or they hold on to too much, and waste time on tasks that take away from doing the things that make the business profitable. Hiring the right people is key to business growth and success.

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I often get asked, “how do you know what is important to learn from a potential new hire, in the interview process?” My answer is always the same, you need to know if the person can do what you need them to do. Although it sound simple, most interviews don’t find out what people can do. They may do a quick Google search before hand, and only ask the candidate what they’ve done in the past, during the interview. In most cases, the person being interviewed is going to relay the most positive information possible, in hopes of getting the job. But, how does that tell you if they can actually do the job?

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In my hiring process I conduct a quick interview that does the following:

Work on a sample project that someone in that position has completed in the past.

Have them respond to a couple of past problem situations or emails.

As them to respond to a difficult task with little direction, so that they have to use problem-solving skills to get it done.

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From this, the potential employee can see what is expected of them and if they are interested in the job, and it gives me insight onto how they complete tasks and respond to challenging circumstances. I don’t make the tasks too hard, but just tough enough to be a challenge. When I use this style of interviewing it saves so much time and money by not hiring people for positions that would not have been a good soft-skills fit. Or, I would have found out later that they couldn’t really do the job.


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The only problem is that you have to trust the process and your gut. During this process, if you see that an interviewee doesn’t represent your company the way you would like, believe it and move on. They may kiss up to you in the interview, but not have the professionalism or desire to serve your customers. Don’t be so desperate to hire a body, that you hire anybody. You’ll never know why your customers don’t come back or you’ll always know why your team isn’t successful.

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This style of interview also shows your candidate how you operate as well. Giving them a sample project and feedback allows them to see your leadership style and what would be expected of them. Auditioning candidates with position-relevant tasks is a simple process that can save you time, stress and money.