How to Hire and Keep the Best Employees

“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not on strategies.” – Larry Bossidy

Which of the following actions will give you the greatest success in hiring employees “for life”?

* finding out how interested the candidate is in your business

* qualifying the candidate technically for the job

* determining the candidate’s compatibility with the corporate culture

According to Mission Controls Automation (as told to Inc. magazine), all three are important. You can find out exactly how interested a candidate is in your business by noting the questions he asks during a preliminary interview. You can qualify someone technically either by scheduling a one-on-one with a technical manager or by giving him some sort of written test. And you can determine compatibility by having him interview with a group of non-managers. All of these practices will help you identify someone who is not only the best candidate for the job but also someone who would be happy and successful in the position — and should be employed. But once you’ve hired your potential superstar, don’t forget the two most important things you can do to keep him:

1. Keep your business growing so that the opportunities for advancement keep growing.

2. Reduce artificial barriers to advancement and relocation so that he never feels stuck in his job. “Not always easy to ‘keep the business growing,'” you may say. That’s true. But a good way to improve your odds is to have your best people doing the most challenging work they can — and that is what you’ll achieve by reducing barriers.

Barriers that don’t make sense to me:

* “You can’t transfer out of my department without my permission.”

* “You can’t be rehired if you quit.”

* “You can’t be promoted to that position until you have been working here for two years.”

* “Unless you have an M.B.A., you won’t be considered for that position.”

* “You can’t do that, because it’s not in your job description.”

* “You can’t be promoted, because you didn’t do everything in your job description.”

Barriers that make sense to me:

* “You can’t make sales calls while wearing that purple suit.”

* “You can’t serve our doughnuts with those fingernails.”

* “You can’t be a fireman unless you can carry a full-grown person on your shoulder down a ladder.”

One final thought: Remember, keeping employees for life is only a good thing when the employees you keep are good.

[Ed. Note.  Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]