A trade business relies on its people — your business is one where skilled tradesmen and women, do skilled work for your customer. You grow by hiring more people and your business profits from their labour.
There are a few ingredients for having a good team:
- Hiring well;
- Leading well;
- Managing well; and
- Having a good culture.
They all take work and active eﬀort to do well.
Now, I’m a business coach — my job is to help you put in this work and active eﬀort and to give you the education and structures so you can do it properly — so it grows your business and supports you and everybody in it. And I use that word ‘properly’ deliberately.
There aren’t really shortcuts here — you need to be disciplined, methodical and thorough. You need to care about doing a good job. And you need to care about your people.
Glib words and fakery won’t build you a good team. That’s the kind of business coach I am, and people who care are the kind of customers I’ve got.
The CEO of Xero
That’s why I found myself at odds when I saw this article about the boss who uses a coﬀee test in every interview and won’t employ those who fail.
He’s the boss of Xero, which is a hugely successful company and one I admire, but it’s a slightly odd thing — a bit tricky and mean, I thought.
It goes like this — the interviewing person gets taken for a drink – coﬀee, tea, water, whatever, and if they don’t try to take their cup back at the end of the interview, they don’t get the job.
He’s testing for attitude — “Do they clean up their own mess?” He wants people who think like that. He believes it also means he gets people who care and take ownership.
I’m sort of there — people who take ownership and tidy up are good. He says their kitchens are tidy and somehow that proves it.
But, I’m not sure one sneaky little gotcha is the answer. And it’s only a stupid trick they’ve pulled from an interview. I’m sure his interview has a lot more going on than that. The Xero product is anything but glib and gimmicky.
So, what I want to be wary of is thinking that a little trick like that is the same as hiring properly.
How To Hire Properly
If you hire good people, you’re oﬀ to a good start but headlines and articles like this can leave you thinking a trick is the right way to go to hire good people.
Be disciplined and methodical. You can follow these steps:
- Write a job description.
- Write the attributes you want the person to have.
- Ask interview questions to test whether people have those attributes.
- Ask for references from previous employers and be sure to follow up with them.
Process and discipline creates extra work, but you’ll be glad you did it.
You don’t have to do it every time. Once you’ve done it once, you can use it again and again.
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