How do you know when you’ve hired the right person? When does a mistake in choosing a new team member start to reveal itself? What steps should you follow when trying to add a new member to your organization?
I can’t say I know all the answers, but I definitely keep these topics in mind when in hiring mode. Over the last few years I’ve had the pleasure of recruiting, hiring and training brand-new salespeople for organizations. In each of these instances, the teams I assembled were not existing entities – they were built from scratch. The attitudes and approaches instilled in these hires were of my creation and I worked hard to construct a methodology for hiring; one I believed gave the candidates the best opportunity to reveal their talent and also ensure potential new team members had a chance to get a live look at what being a part of the team would look like.
I was curious to understand how my approach feels from the other side of the hiring table, so I asked a few people to jot down their thoughts on the process and how it may have differed from their previous experiences with interviewing for a new job. Here’s one of the responses I received.
Rianna Cohen was the 1st salesperson to join the SnapSuits team in December 2016. A concert flutist, Rianna is a classic analytical. I appreciated her inquisitive nature and her willingness to stand up for the things she believed in, and I always challenged her to not hide her light under a barrel. Her thoughts are found below.
“This will probably be the easiest interview you ever do.”
That was a lie.
Sure, the first interview breezed by as we chatted over coffee (tea, in my case), but I had the distinct impression that Roger had already made his decision before he met me. He had reviewed my resume extensively (enough to be able to cite it from memory) and had stalked me online (hello, Pinterest). The interview, in essence, was to see if the person matched the page.
Interview Two was completed in pairs and my fellow interviewee and I were tasked with a mind-mapping exercise. Harmless enough.
And then we were to leave voicemails on three people’s phones: the interviewer, the CEO, and the CFO. Hello, anxiety.
I scribbled furiously. I also kept glancing across the table at the girl interviewing with me. In retrospect, I think her presence brought out my competitive edge. We worked mostly alone, occasionally comparing notes to make sure we were completing the exercise correctly.
When it came time to actually leave the voicemails, I was so nervous that I had to pace around the room as I recited my practiced lines. They were undoubtedly terrible voicemails. I left, hours later, completely drained. (Roger’s Note: I TOTALLY have those voice mails saved on my computer!)
The interview set the precedent for life in the office: we would be challenged and we would be expected to get creative with our solutions. Roger became more than a boss: he was a mentor. The interview process, though perhaps unconventional, produced a level of trust between our team that I think would be difficult to duplicate. Taking the time to find the right people (even if we weren’t the best at voicemails ahem) created a synergy that remains even when times get difficult.