Secrets of the Successful: How Influential Business Leaders Choose Their New Hires

With the chaos of the holidays behind us and budgets set for the new year, many employers are looking to build upon their team. Hiring a new employee is exciting but by no means is an easy feat. Bringing on the right person requires a lot of thought, time, and money (the average ROI of a bad hire is -298%. No pressure). Choosing the best candidate and the best fit in some ways never gets easier, so whether you’re a hiring manager for a small start-up or an experienced CEO at an established company, one should always jump at the chance to reflect and improve upon their hiring strategy. Need some inspiration? Here are a few insightful ways in which some of the world’s most famous company leaders pick their winning candidates.

Disney’s Chief Executive Bob Iger is drawn to people who exude optimism- “When you come to work, you’ve got to show enthusiasm and spirit. You can’t let people see you brought down by the experience of failure. I believe in taking big risks creatively. If you fail, don’t do it with mediocrity- do it with something that was truly original, truly a risk.”

David Brown, founder and managing partner at Techstars, relies on making his needs crystal clear from the very start- “Have a great job description. Make sure your candidate meets it. Don’t just rely on cultural fit.”

LinkedIn’s Russell Glass, however, prefers to put culture first- “The right culture fit is easy to train on the right skills, but the wrong culture fit with the right skills will never be successful.”

Thomas Schranz, CEO of Blossom, believes in milking your connections and your team members’ networks. Pursuing the referrals of your colleagues leads to building a group that works well together- “A lot of hugely successful companies got started by friends, fellow buddies from university and previous coworkers. Check for cultural fit. A-teams consist of extraordinary people who work well together.”

Editor-in-Chief of American Vogue Anna Wintour seeks individuals who don’t let intimidation stop them from sharing their ideas and personality- “I look for strong people. I don’t like people who’ll say yes to everything I might bring up. I want people who can argue, and disagree, and have a point of view that’s reflected in the magazine.”

As one might expect for such a trailblazer of a company, Apple CEO Tim Cook says you need to have the passion to change the world if you want to join his team- “You look for people who work for a different reason. People that see things and know that it should be different and they sit and focus on it until they find the answer. People that can’t be told that it’s impossible; they don’t accept it.”

For PepsiCo’s CEO, Indra Nooyi, the importance lies in investing in each candidate’s personal interests and professional goals- “The only way we will hold on to the best and brightest is to grasp them emotionally. No one may feel excluded- it is our best to draw the best out of everyone. That means employees must be able to immerse their whole selves in a work environment in which they can develop their careers, families, and philanthropy, and truly believe they are cared for.”

Hiring Mistakes to Avoid

Finding the right hires for your company or business is crucial to productivity, profit, and success. In order to grow and succeed the way you want to, you need the best available talent. One way to not get that talent is to fall victim to hiring mistakes. When you don’t know what mistakes to avoid when hiring, you could end up hiring someone who isn’t a great fit for your company or the position you’re hiring for.

Hiring mistakes happen every day. Unfortunately, they can be rather costly. Instead of wasting money on poor hiring decisions, know those mistakes so you can avoid them in the future:

1. Going with your “gut” feeling.

No matter how great your “gut” or instincts usually are, it isn’t enough when it comes to hiring a new employee. You need to have evidence and data to back up your decision. Just because a job candidate looks great on a resume or nails that pre-screen interview, it doesn’t mean they are right for the job. Take your time, get to know candidates, and interview several people before you make your decision.

2. Not knowing what questions to ask.

It’s important to know the right questions to ask before interviewing someone. Asking about educational background and work experiences are great places to start, but ultimately won’t give you enough information. Instead, you need to ask for specific examples that can point you in the right direction of what this candidate will be like as an employee.

3. Checking for cultural fit.

Whether you know it or not, your business has a culture. Before hiring someone, it’s important to know they’ll fit in the culture you’ve created. The best way to do this is to get to know a candidate on a more personal level. You need to make sure their values as an employee line up with your values as a company.

4. Not having a defined process.

Before you ever begin the hiring or interviewing process, you need to have established processes. These processes range from sourcing job candidates all the way to onboarding new hires. Before you get started, think out timelines, questions, and how you will handle all of the paper work.

Do you have any advice for those getting ready to hire? What mistakes have you made in the past? Leave your stories and suggestions in the comments below!