7 Must-Haves for a Successful Relationship (With Your Business Coach)

If you are thinking of engaging a business coach, it can be muddy waters. The internet is filled with many claims and ‘secrets.’ So how do you know what to believe?

This article, of course, is totally biased because I am a business coach. That said, I am also a business coach who has learned much about what makes a successful coaching engagement. I’ve been coaching business owners since 2005, and while I’m very proud of the results my team and I have been able to generate for clients, there have certainly  been a few engagements that have taught me some lessons the hard way.

Here are the seven components I believe make a successful client/coach relationship:

  1. Think long term, not a quick fix – there are times when you will indeed have some quick wins. In many cases when we start working with a new client, there is some low hanging fruit that is easily reaped and that makes everyone happy. That said, long term sustainable results often take time and hard work. Be willing for that. Make sure neither you or your coach have a ‘quick fix’ mindset. There is no need to make things harder than they need be – in today’s world of ‘hacks,’ and immediate gratification, shortcuts can be tempting but rarely last.
  2. Personality fit – you need to like each other. Sure, coaching can work without likability, but if your sessions with your coach are not enjoyable because of a personality clash, you just won’t get all you could from the engagement.
  3. Communication and simple language – a personal red flag of mine when engaging any professional is when they use complex language and excess industry jargon. This is often a mask to make them sound smarter than they may be. An effective coach should be able to communicate complex ideas using simple language. At the end of the day, building a business, while certainly not easy, is not overly complex, make sure your coach sees that too.
  4. Asking uncomfortable questions – you are not looking for someone to tell you what you want to hear. In fact, in many cases, you may need the exact opposite. When you are speaking with your prospective coach, notice how willing they are to ask you uncomfortable questions. Also look for objectiveness and compassion in the way they ask the questions.
  5. Root cause – a great business coach, will be able to identify the root cause of an issue quickly and help you find a path through it in a way that is doable for you. Everything in life and business boils down to the first principles of business, which are the real keys to success; and a great coach is a master of using these principles.
  6. Responsiveness – this is really a 101 for any service provider. If you really matter to your coach, they will respond to you within an appropriate time frame. This is a simple point of respect and professionalism.
  7. Your intuition – after speaking with a coach, you should feel clearer in your thinking and empowered and able to act. You should feel a degree of growth in your thinking and/or skills. At the end of a session, your gut should tell you ‘this is working.’ What I’m really saying here is, check in with yourself after speaking with the coach and ask ‘does this feel right?’. For me, every client engagement that has not gone well (don’t worry, there aren’t that many), I really knew at the start the fit was not right. You will also know, if you slow down, take a quiet moment and ask yourself the question, “is this the right coach for me?”.

While this list is not exhaustive, it is the top seven things I would encourage you to consider when hiring a business coach. This will be a very important relationship in your business life. A relationship that can and should change you and your business or the better.

Good luck.

P.S. If you’re still not sure how business coaching can help you be the entrepreneur you seek to be, consider subscribing to our Business Nutrition Newsletter, packed with just enough fuel for your fire. Sign up below.

To access the entire Business Nutrition archive for free, click HERE

Emotion Can be a Business Asset

Time to Watch: 4:34

It’s important to know what your goal is and how you’re going to execute it, but sometimes one of the missing ingredients is having the emotional leverage or clarity around why you’re going for something and the drive to see it through. This clarity of emotion is a business strength your don’t want to ignore.

In the pursuit of any goal, there’s ups and downs, but it’s when things are challenging and going against you, that you need those emotional reserves. In this video I’m not going to walk you through the actual planning process—there’s a cracker of a guide HERE that teaches you how to do that—but rather, we’re going to go through some east steps to tap into those emotional reserves when you need them.

What you’ll need to complete this exercise is a blank piece of paper, divided into three columns and enter your information as follows:

  1. Write your goal in the middle column. The only guideline here is to make sure you are picking S.M.A.R.T. goals. That is, goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-oriented with a Timeframe. SMART goals are critical in the planning process, particularly so you can gain a better picture of what success for that goal looks like in reality.
  2. In the left-hand column, write the all the “WHY” reasons which relate to the goal. Behind every goal is a feeling, an emotion – and the emotional result that you want to achieve through that goal. Don’t skip this step or shake this task as a feel-good, fluff piece which doesn’t have any basis—nothing could be further from the truth. What you want to distill here are all the emotional reasons you want to achieve the goal. For example – if the goal is financial and you want to pay down your mortgage faster, list the emotional benefits you will gain by doing so (more disposable income to travel, more time with family, helping your children financially—whatever it is that fuels your fire). It is the feelings you will get from achieving that goal that will sustain you in the low times.
  3. Finally, in the right-hand column is the “HOW.” Don’t worry about getting this column ‘right.’ The ‘how’ column is all about brainstorming. This is the place to list every possible way you can think of to achieve that goal (and you may need an extra page to do this—that’s ok!). Once you have an exhaustive list, you can go back, prioritize and figure out and ask yourself, “which ones make sense?”, “which ones do I have the resources/time/ability to do.” Etc…
  4. From there, we advocate that you develop a structure to execute the plan and to help solidify your tasks and timelines. To do this, feel free to access our free 90-Day Planning guide which has all the tools and resources to help you develop and track your plan.

That’s it! The absolute importance of planning with purpose and emotion can’t be understated. The clearer you get on your goals, the more emotional leverage you have behind you to help you achieve those goals you’ve been dreaming of.

Dream big!

P.S. You can access the jam-packed Planning Edition of our Business Nutrition Newsletter HERE.

And for more free training Videos, subscribe to our Youtube Channel.

The Hidden Profit Centre in Your Business

Think HR has no bearing on profitability? Think again…

Having long been denounced as nothing more than a cost centre and a necessary part of doing business, the people management aspects of an organization (specifically HR) have been overlooked as an integral component of the profit structure of an organization. The link, however, is a lot stronger than many businesses have traditionally thought.

In a recent study on management practices in Fortune 1000 companies, the Center for Effective Organizations at the University of Southern California found that employee involvement measures (that traditionally sit well beneath the HR umbrella) show a solid ROI and link to the bottom line.

For small to medium-sized businesses who don’t even have an HR department, the impact of this study is even larger, as decisions made at owner-run businesses see an immediate trickle-down effect due to the smaller work structures, and can see a positive impact in the bottom linke much sooner than a larger organization. The key is in increasing the employee commitment to the organization.

Any one of the following measures can be implemented by a company to see a lasting improvement in financial returns (not to mention the cost-savings garnered from reduced turnover):

  • Employees generally feel that if an investment is made in them, they will return that investment in-kind. Establish a feeling of “repricosity” through:
    • Information-sharing
    • Skills training
    • Encouragement of ownership thinking
    • Fostering “buy-in” for organizational change measures
    • De-centralizing decision-making
  • Using technology for process improvement, not just cost-cutting benefits. If employees are brought into the process on the ground level, working backwards and can have input into process design, hey are more willing to manage change, and feel a greater benefit of new technology as a tool for them—not just because it’s cheaper for the organization
  • Building a culture which values job-security – which means attaching value to the person over the employee number.

Each of these measures is fiscally achievable in one way or another, even for very small businesses and engage in the employee’s higher level needs, which leads to increased productivity, better customer interactions, a willingness to tackle challenges and stick with the company–all which have a positive impact on profit.

Small tweaks can often have the greatest impact on profitabilty, particularly if they are seemingly unrelated to the bottom-line. Remember that everything in your organization starts and ends with culture, so before you tweak your marketing, sales prices, or slash costs to boost productivity, have a critical look at how investments to your people-practices can pay you back in spades.

Business Lessons From the Bike Trail #1 – Knowing Where to Focus

There’s a basic object to enjoying a safe ride on a mountain bike: Look where your going.

While the same can be said for business, it’s amazing how many people focus on the obstacles in front of them instead of focusing on the track, but when you fixate on the obstacles which are in your way – they tend to magnify – which makes your changes of hitting one fairly high.

The same goes for them you start riding faster on the trail. The faster you go (ie: the more you grow) the further down the track you need to look. Just don’t look so far down the track that you get blindsided from something you didn’t see just up ahead.

Have a think about your business. How far down the track are you looking? What obstacles do you face that you could find the answer to if you just ventured to look a little beyond them? Are you getting blindsided by other things that are stopping you from making progress?

The Secret to Managing Attitudes at Work

The number one stressors in business are (and may always be) money, and people. In fact, you likely know first hand how much emotional energy and loss of team synergy is wasted on a member of your team that just doesn’t fit the bill.

It turns out – the key to managing attitudes in the workplace is as simple as communication and follow-up. Sounds easy, right? Well it can be more difficult that you expect to implement, but once the expectations are set, it can become remarkably easy to keep momentum in your team.

The tools we need start with creating our core value and culture. You see, if expectations for every member of your organization aren’t clear, and we don’t hold people accountable, you will always have an organizational culture that is driven by the quality of people within it.

A good starting point is to check out “The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business“, by Patrick Lencioni it is a fantastic read about the concrete advantage that can be gained by having a healthy organization.

 

The Reality of Open Book Management

Truthfully, this is just one reality .. but a good one at that 🙂

Norm Jefferies of Computer Merchants has been running his company for over 20 yrs and I think it’s fair to say, he’s doing a damn fine job at it.

Norm and his team adopted the philosophy of Open  Book Management (OBM) at an early stage and it has become a key part of their culture.

In this interview, Norm shares how they implemented OBM and what the benefits and challenges have been of sharing the numbers within the team. We dive into the specific of day-to-day tactics, how OBM affects performance and how they make it a living and effective tool to align the team.

If you are thinking of implementing Open Book Management or are on the other side and think it’s crazy, either way you’ll get some direct benefit of learning from Norm’s experience.

Enjoy!


 

Links from the interview:

Computer Merchants website – http://www.computermerchants.com.au/

Norm on LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/normjefferies

The Great Game of Business – http://greatgame.com/

Ownership thinking – http://www.ownershipthinking.com/

What’s Your Daily Number?

What if you had a friend who was trying to lose weight, but they never stepped on a scale and didn’t know their weight when they started? I’m sure, being a good friend you would suggest they find our their true weight, so they could track their changes and get a sense for if they were heading towards their goal.

Now take that same principle but apply it to your business. Whether it be sales, marketing ROI, or employee turnover, knowing where you stand is a huge part of success, and knowing if you are (or will) meet your goals. Having those metrics in hand will also help you determine the time it will or has taken you to reach your goal and provide a critical baseline for further attempts to improve your numbers.

The truth is this – if you don’t keep track of your numbers, you will always think your track record is better than it actually is, because our brains can sometimes confuse intention with action. Numbers don’t lie. Creating a hard goal will allow you to be objective in its achievement and is easy to measure. This number should be shared in your daily, yes daily, meeting with staff so everyone knows where you stand. Why daily? Well, if you measure the important goals quarterly, or even annually, you deprive yourself of critical moments to adjust your course which could mean the difference of a goal exceeded and one which has fallen short.

3 Critical Things You Need your Team’s Input on

When doing strategic planning, it is essential to gain some insights from your team members on their perceptions of the business, where it’s going, and why things are the way they are. Remember when it comes to your employees, every action they make is a direct result of their perception of the business and their understanding of why it is being done. The important part is to marry their expectations with yours, so that the team can function as a cohesive unit for the purpose of growing your business. With that said, there are three key questions you needs to ask of your employees before the strategic planning process begins (and is something to keep a gauge on at least once a year):

1. What should we START doing?

2. What should we STOP doing?

3. What should we KEEP doing?

With the answers to those key questions, you will be able to spot trends and patterns of thinking in your employees which will guide your planning discussions.

Good luck, and have fun.

Culture Shift: An Interview with Aaron Lavell

Today, we sat down with Aaron Lavell, Managing Director with WMS Chartered Accountants, to speak about the shift in workplace culture which led to the creation of WMS, and their fantastic culture growth which has seen them grow to be one of the Gold Coast’s largest professional firms.

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Aaron tells us why principles matter in business planning – and what impact that has on retaining the best talent.

 

 

 

J: Give us a bit of an overview of WMS and how you came to be…

A: We started in May 1994. 2 partners and 5 staff left a Big 4 accounting firm at the same time after an extended down turn period emanating from the “Recession we had to have”. The “W” and “M” stand for the surnames of the founding partners and the “S” stands for Staff. From day 1, the staff have been recognised as the core ingredient of what the firm is about.

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J: What led you to embark on formally developing your culture?

A: Day 1 was easy. We simply looked at where we had come from and assessed the merits of doing the opposite. That isn’t intended to be a criticism per se of the former firm, it was just a result of an extended down turn and their former policies around transparency in numbers and decision making processes. For example at WMS for over a decade, we were totally open book and staff set their own salaries. As the firm grew we found it harder to keep everyone on the same page and certain newer staff didn’t appreciate the history and the fragile nature of a true open book approach. We found staff making ambit claims for pay rises expecting to be shaved back. In the first 5 years of operations, not one pay rise was knocked back, because the requests were fair.

Around 2006 we implemented the “WMS Culture Wheel”. This was 10 core cultural concepts usually expressed as one word. We received immediate positive impact with same. A true test of any culture is hard times, with the onset of the GFC we found that some of the one word concepts could be interpreted in different ways and some were aspirational. As an example, our final concept was “Fairness” which was the outline of the wheel and designed to be a tie breaker provision. What is “Fair” can vary depending on your perspective. So with that by way of background, in 2014, we embarked on a fresh approach trying to keep the genesis of the firm’s origins whilst introducing an explanatory framework for each core principle. It coincided with a brand and web site refresh.

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J: Can you give us an overview of the process?

A: We grabbed our 6 partners and a range of 6 staff. By range, we covered from our next partner in waiting to the leader of our Secretarial team. We were facilitated by someone external and we had regular break out groups of 3 armed with butcher’s paper to brain storm concepts and associated explanation. We had decided to include 3 to 5 core principles with about 3 explanatory lines per principle. This was designed to address the ambiguous nature of the original one word concepts. By day’s end we had a draft list of 5. We met again internally the following week and then again the week later with the entire office (approximately 50). During that workshop, which was again facilitated by the same external party, we updated the proposed imagery for the core principles to go onto our new website. We workshopped on a Friday afternoon and the website went live on Monday. This gave us bang for our buck internally and also drew attention to it for visitors to our new website.

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J: How did the team engage/react to the process/outcome?

A: You could feel the energy in the room which was great to be part of. As it was designed in-house, we all had ownership of it.

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J: What have been the benefits of the process?

A: Straight up, it gave us to have a focused above the line discussion as a group as to “what type of work place would you want to come to everyday?”. You then assessed each principle as to whether we as a group were prepared to commit to live and breathe it in both good and bad times. We have a go to framework to assess any key decision facing the firm.

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J: How do you keep it alive?

A: It has to come into your daily vernacular. As an example, every email our HR manager sends contains a footer with some different play on words of one of the principles. We filled an entire wall of our main break out area with graphics of the 5 principles. Our screen savers are a rotation of the core principles. We had about a dozen of the staff do a culture video which sits on our website. The framework was allocated in terms of what principle each team member would cover, but what they said was completely unscripted. We wanted it to be real and the only way to do that was to have it come from the coal face.

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J: What are some of the setbacks or pitfalls you’ve experienced around developing your culture?

A: We adopted two broad approaches pre the present framework. Both were entirely appropriate for the firm at that stage of the firm’s evolution, however, for broad reasons outlined above, they both ran their course.

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J: How has it impacted your ability to attract or retain talent?

A: Huge impact. 99% of applicants make reference to the culture video on the website and the initial perception of what it is like to work here is very high. Our challenge of course is to provide the tools and environment to enable the reality to match the brochure.

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J: How has it impacted performance and happiness of the team?

A: Our last financial year results were great. The staff turnover here has always been good compared to industry standard but has further been enhanced. I think the staff trust the culture and we encourage them to “shoot straight” if they feel we have slipped up as a partner group. We all work hard and deadlines can stretch the odd friendship, however the group get along very well because we have a common goal to understand our client’s business and make a difference to their lives.

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J: How did you get all leaders aligned to buy into the process?

A: That was easy, as our own observations combined with our 360 degree reviews told us the old Culture Wheel had run its race. When you get that feedback, you ignore it at your own peril. None of our partner group are perfect, but we all understand that if you don’t have the foundation right, anything you try and build on it will be fragile.

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[two_thirds]Aaron Lavell is the firms Managing Partner, and has over 20 years experience in the accounting industry with his initial years at Ernst & Young, before commencing as a founding member of WMS.

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Aaron has a strong focus in the property sector and heads the firm’s Corporate Finance Team, which holds and AFSL

For more about Aaron, click HERE.

How to Hire GREAT people

hiring great people – Long BUT massively value packed post.

 

Hiring is probably one of the most important areas for any business owner and while most may know that, it is usually a task that has the most disproportionate amount of time allocated to it. As owners we tend to focus on the things that give us more tangible immediate results like making sales, solving crises, responding to customers  etc. And if asked “how important are your people?” we answer with a resounding ‘critical’ yet for most of us, we don’t invest the necessary time to get the right people.

This post is going to outline all you need to know to get the right people on board. And I will preface that while what we’ve laid out below has worked many many times with consistently impressive results, the systems and processes YOU use, must be a match and fit for your company. I will give you the framework, you need to modify it to fit your needs.

Now, given the amount of time most of you are currently investing in hiring, what I outline below is going to seem like a lot of work so I need to get you into the right emotional head space so you can see the benefit of doing the work necessary. Consider the following questions:

  • If you had a system for hiring that gave you an 80% success rate and all you had to do was say ‘go’ to make that happen, how would that benefit your company?
  • If you had a team of sales people who continually perform to grow your company, what would that mean to you?
  • What is the true cost to your company for making a bad hire?
    • think actual costs + you and your team’s time (recruiting and training), loss of momentum on projects due to others involved with training or just having  a new (non-fit) member involved. And the list goes on …
  • What is the emotional toll on you and your team of making a bad hire?
  • What would it be like if you had a pool of great candidates to choose from and they were lining up applying to work for you?

Some of those questions may seem a bit ‘oh come on’ and I guess that is one of the key points I want to emphasise. I believe most people don’t give hiring the time it deserves because it is seen as a distraction and pain in the ass. The first stage of hiring GREAT people is to acknowledge that hiring is the absolute foundation to a GREAT company. Your people are your company … so as a leader you need to make finding the right people one of your top priorities. Great People bring Great customer service, they bring Great finance skills, they bring motivation, they bring Great sales skills, they bring Great operational systems and skills and they are Great at working as a team. All these characteristics and skills are what are going to make your company Great.

OK … let’s get into the nuts and bolts.

The Foundation.

Firstly the bad news. While this post outlines a system and process for attracting GREAT people; a process is useless without a great culture. Great people want to work for great companies and great companies have a great cultures. If you want to understand about great cultures, read ‘Delivering Happiness’ by Tony Hsieh or here is great article about adventure company GAP that was featured in Profit Magazine. I’m not going to go on about culture here (that is another massive post topic) but I will say that it is critical. Top performers are attracted to top performance cultures. Your culture will attract those who are a fit for it. Be very intentional about your culture.

Another critical foundational piece is a clear  and compelling vision. Great people want to be part of a company that is going somewhere. To be part of a company that has a purpose and the drive to fulfill it. It is not enough to want to grow, be successful and make money. Your vision, mission or purpose (whatever you want to call it) must be something you truly feel passionate about and it must be something you can communicate well to others. Hiring Great people is like trying to acquire new ideal customers. You need to be able to sell them on the ideal of working with you. There must be an emotional benefit that goes beyond ‘having a job’. If you are hiring people who ‘want a job’ then you are not hiring Great people. And you will never have a Great company.

So we have our 2 key foundation items Culture and Vision (or purpose or Mission or whatever … yes I am a bit cynical about all the terminology. Just show me you have passion about something that is more than yourself). There are many other factors that can affect the success of a new hire but I believe if you have a solid culture, then most of those other things should be in place. An example of what I’m referring to is great managers. If your managers are not able to develop great relationships with those they manage, you will have turnover.

The System.

The key philosophy behind this system is ‘deselection’. What I mean by that is you want to attract as many applicants as possible then allow them to deselect themselves based on the barriers you are going to put in their way. It is also important for your mindset to be one of deselection. You want to feel like you are in the position of ‘if you don’t find the ideal candidate, you will not make a hire’. There is nothing worse than feeling like you HAVE to hire … that is when the big hiring mistakes are made.

If a candidate gets the feeling that you are extremely selective it brings an exclusiveness to the process. Now we don’t do this with a ‘fake it’ type approach. It must be sincere. I truly want you to have a ‘selective’ mentality.

Picture your current team like a finely balanced mix of chemicals that if they were to tip slightly off balance would explode. Your job, as the chemist, is to test all new chemicals (potential hires) you want to add to the existing mixture to make sure they are not going make an explosion. You have to be selective or your business will be blown to pieces. This might be an exaggeration .. but the analogy applies.

The Flow – I’m going to outline the steps involved so you can see where we are headed.

  • Attraction – you will work to attract as many applicants as possible and have them apply by email.
  • Phone Screening – after they apply, you will send them an email  (ideally an auto-responder so you can save time) asking them to call a phone number and answer some questions
  • Short list – from these telephone-message responses you will select a shortlist based on how well they presented on the phone and answered the questions.
  • Test Drive – Now you will send the short list a group of tasks. These tasks are designed to simulate and test the skills required to excel in the job. The tasks should require a significant time investment (3-4 hrs) so you can see how committed people are and test their work ethic.
  • Profiling – After the test drive you should be down to 1 or 2 top candidates. You will get them to complete a profile tool (I use DiSC and Flippen) that will help you guide your questioning in the last stage
  • 1-on-1 Behavioral Interview – In a face to face or Skype meeting, you will interview the candidate and make your final assessment.

Step 1 – Your Ideal Candidate

Define your Ideal Candidate. Download our Ideal Candidate form to help you here. This step might seem quite straight forward but the more detail you can define, the more chance you have of finding the ideal person. There is an attraction process that helps here (like in all areas of life). The clearer you are on what you want, the more chance there is of you getting it. The purpose of clearly defining the ideal candidate is for you to get clear + allow you to write the best Ad. Just be mindful that the key attributes you assemble for your ideal candidate are essential for success in that role. (In other words, be sure to steer clear of any prohibited grounds or attributes when selecting your next great team member, and stick to what related work skills they require)

If you aren’t aware of the prohibited grounds, feel free to check out the following resources:

Australia

Canada 

USA

You’ll see an area on the Ideal Profile called DiSC. If you are not familiar with the DiSC behavioral profile tool I’ll be putting a post up about it soon. Sign up to follow my blog and you’ll get the notice when it’s live.

Step 2 – Writing Your Ad

Writing a powerful Ad (like any marketing) is only possible when you know who you are writing it for. Now that you have your ideal candidate your wording must be crafted with that person in mind. Avoid making your Ad generic like all the other ads out there. The ad must speak to your ideal candidate and also represent the culture of your company.

Critical point – you want people to apply by email. It is best to have a dedicated email address that receives the application because you are going to have an auto-responder set up to respond to each application.

Setting up the logistics – as well as having a dedicated email address (e.g. careers@yourdomain.com) you will need a voice mail box to receive the phone responses. If you have a phone system that can handle that great – if not consider using a Skype (or similar service) virtual number. I’ve also had clients use their mobile phones after hours to receive the phone responses.

Step 3 – Placing Your Ad

In short, you want to place your ad in as many places as possible. The services available to your will depend on your location. Use free sites, paid sites, community channels (notice boards, newsletters etc), social media (yours, your companies, your employees, your friends) and even print classifieds if you think your ideal candidate might look there. You want to give applicants every opportunity to see your ad. Avoid ruling anything out.

Consider using training agencies and recruiters also. Recruiters can be a little tricky as they will want to do the screening and placement for you (for a fee). You don’t want that at this stage. You can however negotiate with some of them to provide candidates to go through your process and if they are successful, a fee be payable. This is not my favourite method but it can work.

Step 4 – The email response.

Once someone applies by email you need to email them back with instructions on what do to next. Use a script similar to this. Include a copy of the position contract/job description for them to review. I’ve had great success with the questions listed on this script but if you want to put your own in, by all means. The goal is so you can get a feel for the persons phone manner (important even if the role they are applying for is not phone based. How they prepare and present for a phone call is how they will prepare and present for everything), their level of preparation, how well they follow instructions, their confidence and their mojo :).

Key point – resist the temptation to read the resumes before you’ve received a phone response from the applicant. Reading resumes takes time and can be meaningless. Resumes are what the candidate wants you to know about them. We’ll get to that. We need to do some screening first so we don’t have to look at as many resumes. Someone who takes the time to prepare and leave a decent message is way better than someone who can’t be bothered but has a kick ass resume.

Step 5 – The Short List

As the phone responses come in, you’ll obviously listen to them and score them. Here’s a scoring sheet you can use. Use these scoring sheets to select your best candidate. Feel free to involve other people in your organization in this part of the process – particularly those who will be working with the new hire. As you review the best responses, now is the time to go back and review their resume.

Step 6 – The Test Drive

Once you’ve got your best candidates, now we need to continue our screening for attitude (work ethic) and skill. Forget what they say they can do, let’s see what they can ACTUALLY do and are WILLNG to do. You need to devise suitable activities that will simulate and test for the key skills and ability you require from the new hire. If they can’t be done remotely (i.e. truck driver) then now is the time to bring them in to do the test on premises. This can also be a good idea even if your skills can be tested remotely. Here’s an example of how I did it when I hired my right hand person Melina.

Video 1 – Introduction

Video 2 – About my company and the role

Video 3 – Test Drive Exercises

Step 7 – Profiling

Before we do a 1-on-1 interview it is extremely helpful to have some more objective insight into the person. Everyone has strengths and everyone has constraints (behavioural tendancies that don’t serve them). We want the scoop on that so we can ask pointed questions and see how they handle.

The two tools I use are DiSC and Flippen. Flippen is by far the better tool and really gives an pin point accurate assessment on a persons abilities. It is not cheap but it is amazing. And given the true costs of a wrong hire, it really is a no-brainer. For an understanding on what Flippen is, take a look at this video I give people to watch before I do their debrief. I only use this video when working with clients (not hiring applicants) but it gives you the low down on Flippen.

DiSC can be helpful also and if you didn’t want to do the Flippen, DiSC is an easy assessment to understand. The weakness of DiSC is the applicant is the only one who takes the assessment so you can get a biased answer. In a Flippen, it is a 360 assessment; another 6 people complete the profile on behalf of the applicant, making it impossible to fudge.

Step 8 – The Interview

OK so we are at the interview stage. We have our final 1 or 2 top applicants, they’ve done some assessments so now we are ready to spend some quality time with them.

Probably the most important thing to remember here is the type of questions you need to ask. You need to ask situational and behavioural type questions vs one-word answer style questions. Any question like “can you do X?” is a waste of time because the candidate usually knows how you want it answers. A better type of question is “Tell me about a time when X happened to you … how did you handle it?”. Here’s a list of questions you can ask. Choose those which are applicable to the job you are hiring for…and look for opportunities to ask follow-up questions if you need more information.

Another great tactic when asking questions is to name drop one of their references/past employers such as – “When I ask (name of past employer) about how you deal with X situations, what will they tell me?” This brings about a level of honesty in the response because they assume you will be checking up on them.

Have a couple of people in the interview so while one person is asking a question, the other can be either listening/observing or picking the next question. It is very hard to capture everything in an interview so having multiple people enables you to discuss after the interview and compare notes. I highly advise having people involved who will actually be working with the person once they are hired. If they buy into the hire, they will be more invested in making them successful.

Another learning I’ve seen time and time again is the benefit of have both male and female on the interviewing team. Different sexes pick up different things. And there is a lot to be said for the female intuition when it comes to reading people.

Step 9 – Reference Checking

While in some countries there are laws prohibiting what can be said during a reference check, I still believe it is a vital step. Even if someone is restricted in what they can tell you, you can tell a lot by how they dance around questions or even their tone and words. Don’t skip it. Anytime I have, I’ve regretted it.

Summary

Yes, there is a bit of work to set this all up. But once you’ve done it and run the process a couple of times you’ll experience massive time savings and a much higher success rate. You’ll also learn how you need to tweak the system to improve it for your company.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments, successes and challenges with it.

Happy Hiring.