Tips on Hiring a Team of A-players

Can I boast a little? I promise I’ve got some tangible, and hopefully helpful, tips for you also. So, here it goes.

I’ve got a kickass team.

A team of rockstars, A-players, or whatever other buzz word that is in vogue nowadays. I’ve got a team that makes me feel proud, inspired and ready to conquer the world. A team that makes it possible for us to take on crazy projects – putting together one-of-a-kind epic large scale events comes to mind. A team that makes it conceivable for us to open a new office across the country after only 4 years of founding Pronexia. A team that teaches me things, challenges me, pushes me to elevate my own game and makes our mission of revolutionizing an old school industry actually feasible and within reach. A team that’s got my back no matter what.

They work relentlessly hard, come in on weekends when a client asks them to, take any negative external feedback so much to heart that it almost scares me sometimes – the dedication is real and tangible. They ‘fire’ clients who don’t align with our values even if it means foregoing commission; they back each other and help out with tasks far beyond their job description. Turns out, some of them don’t even know they have one!

I have to admit that building this team has been no easy feat. My partner and I have learned a lot along the way. Every hiring mistake has translated into sleepless nights and countless hours of discussion and self-reflection, but here we are – we finally nailed it and here is what we learned along the way:

Be picky.

Never pull the trigger because of time pressure. Thankfully, our business is booming and, frankly, we need to hire. Big time. My partner and I are an impatient pair – a true asset for entrepreneurs, yet a trait we have learned to subdue and control when it comes to hiring. We meet so many people who are almost right and the temptation of “giving it a shot” is real, but we have learned to wait.

Use your gut.

Oh I know, I’ve read the countless articles and books on using a scientific approach when it comes to hiring. I’m just not sold. I’ve hired purely with my head before and it simply didn’t work. I believe in the importance of having chemistry with every single team member and I look for it during the interview. Sometimes it means more conversations, more meetings, finding a more casual environment to engage in – whatever it takes to see if it clicks. But, it has to click – and you feel it in your gut when it does.

Hire for fit, train for skill.

You’ve heard this before and everyone talks about it, but do you actually walk the walk? Most of our consultants had no experience in our field; the ones who did had to forget it all and start fresh anyway. We look for people who share our values, the drive, the passion, who prioritize working hard and are obsessed with service above all. Quick wit and charisma are also essential to us – we’re in the People business, after all. The rest can be trained and we are patient, as long as the fit is there.

Hire people who are your “raving fans.” 

Don’t hire someone who is lukewarm about your company or the position, no matter how great they seem. Be dedicated to your employer brand, the culture of your organization and sell your prospective hire on it all. But then: observe. Look for passion, the clearly-obvious desire to join your team to be part of whatever mission drives your business. We’ve had a few of our consultants sign their job offers without even checking the “compensation package” page – talk about being all in!  It’s easy to get carried away when the need to hire is real and you meet someone great. Just don’t forget to make sure the person is great for you. The process may be frustrating, feel infinitely long and complete with self-doubt. But you know what makes it all worth it? When one day you feel overwhelmed with the liberating desire to scream off rooftops:

I’ve got a kickass team!

 

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