Anyone who has ever started a business from the ground up knows how important it is to fill your growing company with top talent. But it isn’t always easy to find and retain top performing employees who care as much about your company’s mission as you do. We live in a time with a new job market landscape than the one many of us grew up with. Gone are the days when an employee would stick with one company for their whole career. Instead, we’re seeing the Millennial generation switch jobs as much as four times within their first decade out of college, according to a new study done by LinkedIn.
Given the rapidly changing job landscape, how can entrepreneurs and small business owners hire for top talent that will stick around and help your business flourish? Let these three principles (plus a metaphor about a bus) guide you as you look for your new top employees:
1. Get the Right People on the Bus
In a great article looking at what takes a company from good to great, Jim Collins uses the analogy of a bus: as the leader of the company, you are the bus driver. Before you can start moving toward your destination, the first step is making sure you have the right people on the bus. The second step is making sure they’re in the right seats. On a practical level, this means you want to hire A level talent and put them in specific roles that will play to their strengths and expertise.
Before you begin the interviewing process, make sure you know exactly what criteria you’re looking to find in a candidate. It’s not just about filling a role—it’s about knowing exactly how you want this new hire to help move your business forward. You may be driving the bus, but it’s your employees who keep the engine maintained and the wheels spinning. You’ll save yourself a lot of time by going into the hiring process knowing exactly what seat you’re looking to fill, and what skills a candidate should have to earn that seat on the bus.
2. Consider Emotional Intelligence
Determining whether a candidate would make a good hire is not just about book smarts or industry experience, but also emotional intelligence. This hard to define quality likely won’t show up on a cover letter or resume, but it’s your job to gauge a candidate’s emotional intelligence during the interview process.
Having a high emotional intelligence allows us to adapt to an industry that may be going through rapid changes, manage stress well, and develop strong interpersonal relationships. Emotional intelligence often differentiates a decent employee from a great one—or to go back to the bus metaphor, someone who is just taking up a seat versus someone who has really earned it. During the interview process, watch how a candidate makes eye contact, carries themselves, and whether they ask engaging questions. Ask them to elaborate on how they solved complex problems in previous roles. These are all good indicators of emotional intelligence.
3. Find a Culture Fit
During the interview process, be as open as you can about the culture at your company, what values you strive to uphold, and what it’s like to work there on a daily basis. One of the driving forces that Millennials cite in making job decisions is company culture. This doesn’t mean you need to fill your office with ping pong tables, though. Millennials and most job seekers are looking for companies whose values align with their own. They are looking for opportunities with upward mobility, mentorship opportunities, and career growth. Think about how you can offer these value incentives to potential hires.
Your company culture is kind of like your bus. Is it a bus built with cutting edge technology, or maybe a bus that values sustainability and runs on recycled vegetable oil? The point here is that the passengers on your bus (your employees) should be excited about promoting those values as you work together to drive your company towards huge growth.