By Ringside Talent Partners

December 27, 2023

 The most important decision for business leaders is deciding on who will come aboard to help build the corporate house.   Here are three strategies I now use to make sure I am choosing the right candidate for the job. These tips should help you simplify the hiring process in 2024 and beyond.

1. Avoid hiring under pressure

Executives are particularly vulnerable when the work is piling up and weeks go by without a new hire.

Vetting people starts with observing the person in a variety of circumstances, including the time leading up to the interview. Little things are tells. How does the candidate respond to others? You can have an assistant talk casually with the candidate and give feedback later. You can hold a secondary interview. I often bring in the top choices and have the person in that role interview them. The way a candidate treats everyone, from the receptionist to the CEO, is valuable information.

Have all of your candidates send an email with specific verbal instructions they must follow. You’re testing their ability to listen. Despite the simplicity of these requests, I have had people fail to use the correct subject line, fail to send the appropriate attached file and fail to follow the organization I requested.

For in-person interviews, I ask candidates to bring a physical copy of their resume. You may get excuses like, “My printer was broken.” This tells you what you need to know.

The best strategy is proactive. Prepare for the turnover that all businesses face before you hire another person. I learned quickly to create training materials and to spend time cross-training my employees. Not only will this method help new hires get up to speed faster, but when positions go unfilled, other employees can follow the guides and fill in.

It’s best to have multiple guides in a variety of formats — video, audio and document style. This allows anyone in your organization to move into position and fill gaps as needed.


2. Rise to the challenge of hiring remotely

According to research from CurrentWare, “Disengaged employees cost the U.S. up to $550 billion in lost productivity per year.”

Many companies like Upwork and CurrentWare can provide a variety of services, including productivity metrics, inactivity alerts and attendance verification. There are also phone apps that record and track sales calls.

You can interview remote candidates in the environment where they will work. During the virtual interview, check their office space and look for tip-offs that display unprofessionalism. I’m legally blind, so my assistant sets up our Zoom call and watches as I have the candidate walk around the space, talking to me about their home office. I no longer ask for photos because it’s tempting to use virtual environments rather than revealing our workspaces to each other.

The work-from-home model means you have less control over little things that mean a lot. You can implement a dress code for team members who will appear on camera with staff members or clients. Whether the applicant has a dog matters, as does the noise level in a neighborhood. Generally, getting the candidate talking about their work, their home life and engaging them in real conversation can reveal much about a potential hire’s viability.

3. Eliminate the unknowns in potential partnerships

Many partnerships come through networking. I was once interviewed on a podcast and really hit it off with the host — he soon became involved in my new business venture, even though I didn’t really know this person. I didn’t take the classic advice, “Look before you leap.”

After several months, there were some serious red flags. At that point, I looked into his background, but not before I had wasted time and money entrusting him with important tasks he simply didn’t do. Oftentimes, friendships evolve into business partnerships that end in the loss of both.

There are red flags, and I’ve learned not to ignore them. If you don’t have a giant company with a huge HR staff, you may be tempted to trust your judgment and go with your gut. However, even if you know someone, you should look them up.

People have aliases, and they make up resumes. In fact, bios and CVs provide all the information you need to vet the claims. Look for awards that don’t exist and titles such as Ph.D. or M.D. that they don’t possess. Look for multiple social media alternate identities. Search the name of a potential business partner with the word “scam” and “fraud.” You can look individuals up through professional organizations or verify business licenses for the startups and/or organizations listed on the resume. You can also speak to former colleagues to vet your potential partner’s version of things, from the breakup to how they ran their business.

The workforce is truly the face of the company. Knowing this, it doesn’t make sense to skip important steps in the hiring process, including fully vetting and researching candidates, reaching out for information and obtaining feedback and referrals.

In the virtual world, it is easy for people to mislead us, exaggerate their experience or even cause harm to the company. When we take the time to fully engage in the hiring process, the payoff is finding the right team that is poised to help guide the company to greater heights.