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Improving Your Business Hiring Practices: An Interview with Dr. Geoff Smart

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When Jay Turo and I founded Growthink a decade ago, we each had a ton of responsibilities.

We had to find new clients, serve clients, develop our website, answer incoming phone calls, manage the books, pay receivables, negotiate partnerships, and so on and so on.

Like other successful entrepreneurs, as we grew our company, we knew we had to hire great people. There is no way that Jay and I could have possibly managed everything the company had to accomplish.

In fact, according to management guru Peter Drucker, an entrepreneur must narrow their role as they grow their organizations. The entrepreneur must focus on the areas that provide the most value to the organization, and delegate the rest.

Yes, your ability to determine what to delegate and to delegate to the right people is the only way to grow a successful company. As author Jim Collins states, "the most important decisions that business people make are not 'what' decisions, but 'who' decisions." That is, determining "who" should do the work is absolutely essential to the work getting done right, and the company being successful.

As a result, it's no coincidence that new ventures succeed, or fail, based on the quality of people they hire. It's no coincidence that Apple was so successful with a key early employee like Guy Kawasaki. Or that PayPal was so successful with Steve Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim as key early employees? (Steve, Chad and Jawed would later found YouTube.)

Simply put, your ability to hire the right people is absolutely critical to your success as an entrepreneur.

In order to teach you how to hire like an expert, I interviewed Dr. Geoff Smart. Dr. Smart is the Chairman & CEO of ghSMART, which helps companies and investors identify the right people to hire to ensure that they can achieve success. He is also the co-author of the current New York Times Bestseller "Who: The A Method for Hiring."

Interestingly, part of his research in conducting his book was interviewing more than 20 billionaires and 60 CEOs, investors, and other thought leaders, so Dr. Smart was able to learn real-world methodologies that allow entrepreneurs like you to hire with precision.

During our interview, Dr. Smart gave tons of actionable information. Some of the highlights included:

1) Tap referrals when seeking new employees: 77% of successful hires come through referrals. That is, by asking your employees and advisors/friends/colleagues who they know that could be "rock stars" in the open position, you can find great talent.

2) Don't just create a job description. Rather than simply creating a job description for your open position, create a "scorecard." Among other things, this scorecard should focus on the desired outcome of the employee. For example, rather than saying that the employee will be responsible for calling on prospects in Indiana, the scorecard must include numeric sales and prospecting goals (e.g., must make 10 to 15 sales calls/day and close $250,000 worth of sales each quarter). Importantly, entrepreneurs should also use the scorecard to judge employee performance after hiring them.

3) Probe in your interviews. Most interviews don't unmask the real information and insight you need to make quality hiring decisions. For example, if a salesperson said they generated $2 million in sales in their last job, it might seem very impressive. But, only by asking the three "P" questions can you really tell if it was. These questions include how the $2 million compared to the Previous year's sales in that territory, how the $2 million compared to the Planned amount of sales, and how the $2 million compared to sales by the individual's Peers.

Dr. Smart made tons of great additional points that entrepreneurs can use immediately to start building stronger teams and achieve more success. In fact, we are in the process of hiring more customer support staff for Growthink University, and will be employing his techniques immediately.

To hear a short clip of the interview, click the blue triangle on the player below:




Growthink University members can download the full interview here: http://www.growthinkuniversity.com/members/376.cfm



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NeilWechsler says

I have applied many of these practices while being a manager and I can say that they do not work all the time. The referrals part does not work all the time. Yes, it is a easysaver of time, but sometimes you don't get good referrals. Of course if you really know how to interview the man, then the chance of getting a good employee drastically increases.
Posted at 3:16 pm

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