The team that executes your plan is just as important as the plan itself.  So how do you find the right people?

If you aren’t asking “What can I do to grow my revenues, businesses and myself this year?” well, why not?! It’s not too late. You can ask it now. And while having a solid strategy (a good dive plan, if you read my last blog) is crucial, knowing who is going to execute the plan is just as important. One of my favorite mantras is “to go big, don’t go solo,” which is why this blog is dedicated to helping you recruit and hire the best team.

There are three legs to the hiring stool: hiring, onboarding, and creating the right culture. There will be more on creating the right culture in my next blog on core values.

Trust your gut, but not when you’re hiring

When I made the first hires for my company, I often hired based on a gut feeling that I would work well with someone. And that’s a really great way to make a big mistake. In fact, studies show that hiring on instinct has a 50 percent rate of failure. And you can’t afford coin-toss odds when you’re developing your team’s key players.

As we grow our companies, we have to learn to be very intentional about our hiring practices. How are you finding talent? Are you vetting candidates to make sure they’re the right fit for the position and the culture you’re creating? Do you have a plan to onboard new hires and integrate them into your team? Even solo practitioners who are handling hiring entirely on their own can use more clear-cut hiring and onboarding processes. Getting into that habit now will help you grow your team the right way when it’s time to bring on new talent.

While there are many components that make up a hiring process, I’d like to focus on the two most crucial things to get right:

  • Have a method for hiring

The A method for hiring

Geoff Smart and Randy Street created the “A Method” of hiring which is used by millions of entrepreneurs after 1,300 hours of interviews with more than 20 billionaires and 60 CEOs, investors, and thought leaders. Covered at length in their book Who, this method was extremely useful to me while I was developing the hiring process for Little Pim. In short, the A Method for hiring is a way to find your “A Players”.

An A Player is a candidate who has at least a 90 percent chance of achieving a set of outcomes that only the top 10 percent of possible candidates could achieve. The book stresses these four fundamental elements of hiring that anyone can implement:

Scorecard: Begin with an end in mind.

  • When hiring, communicate the mission and clear goals of the position you are looking to fill.
  • Come up with a list of outcomes that the ideal candidate will be able to handle.
  • Communicate specific competencies with potential candidates.

Source: Find the right applicant pool for your team.

  • Utilize the three R’s: referral, recruit, research 

Select: There are four main interview types for spotting A Players.

  • Screening interview: Brief, phone-based interview designed to clear out B and C Players from your roster of candidates.
  • Topgrading interview: The key interview in the selection process that includes a walk-through of the candidate’s career and experience.
  • Focused interview: Interview focused on the competencies and capabilities of what a scorecard for the position will include.
  • Reference interview: Very straightforward, the reference interview includes contacting candidate’s references.

Sell: The final point of the A method for hiring is selling your company to your A Player candidates! More on this in the next blog when we delve into your core values and company culture.

The automated solution for hiring

I recently discovered Talent+, a company that creates interviews and assessments that measure talent, or a person’s capacity for “near-perfect performance,” as they put it, for a particular job. With an affordable annual subscription, Talent+ has tools that allow you to create sourcing, selection, and hiring outcomes for your organization.

The organic method for hiring

Your network is also a great way to find your first hire. Loren Brill, the CEO of Sweet Loren’s cookie company, met her first hire through a Women’s Leadership Forum. She made suggestions on how Loren could pitch her product to a national supermarket chain, and they wound up developing a friendship. A few months later, Loren hired her as Sweet Loren’s first VP of sales. The take-away? Always be on the lookout for talent and develop relationships with the long view in mind.

  • Have a method for onboarding

Onboarding and training a new employee are not the same thing. A structured onboarding process sets new hires up for success and is often what employees remember as the best or worst part of a job (who could forget a first day with no computer and not sure if you are allowed to take a lunch break or not? that is not the kind of “unforgettable” first day you want your hires to have!). Onboarding is an important part of retaining good people, because correct onboarding builds engagement and ensures new hires feel seen, heard — and accountable.

So what does a well-organized method for onboarding look like?

  • It starts immediately after hire, perhaps with an introduction to the rest of the team at a lunch or happy hour.
  • It makes the goals for the person and the position crystal clear (in writing, and mutually agreed upon is best).
  • Communication before, during, and after their first day is key. You can begin to include this person in communications so he or she is familiar with what’s happening before Day 1. You want them to feel like they belong even before you start working side-by-side.
  • It’s a learning process that should not be rushed. Encourage him or her to ask questions and be specific and detailed in your answers. Explain who people are, what they do, and why they’re important. Make introductions.

A few of the questions that should get addressed during your onboarding process include:

  • Who the person should go to in the organization for what; this is less about the formal hierarchy and addresses how things really get done in your company.
  • What processes they need to follow and whether you need their help documenting those processes.
  • What their responsibilities will be and how they will be measured.

As you start thinking strategically about your hiring and onboarding plans, make sure to document what your best practices are so you can start to build a great hiring and onboarding system in  your company. A company of one will more likely become a company of ten if you have those systems in place!

Stay brave,


P.S. Looking for more insights from women entrepreneurs who have grown their teams, scaled their businesses, and are ready to give back via coaching women just like you? Apply now to attend the Million Dollar Women Summit in New York City. Join over 200 successful women entrepreneurs for networking, workshops, and coaching by female founders. Or set up a free 45-minute Accelerate Session with us to get some 1:1 coaching around your business scaling plans. Find a slot here. Slots are limited so make a move up now!