The last few months I’ve found myself in several conversations about hiring. When, how, who? I haven’t read or listened to all the books, blogs or podcasts, but I have to say I think we’re doing something right over here.
Here are some of my thoughts on how One Floor Up has found our amazing staff of people.
As a producer I have had the lucky role to interview hundreds of executives for videos we have done that have a personal take away. Five or six years ago I interviewed Mike Iams, the CEO for Scram Systems, about building his team. We talked for over 45 minutes but I remember his idea that you build a team for the growth you are anticipating as opposed to playing catch up for the work you need to get done. I’ve always taken this to heart. So often our fears about overhead and our worries about work load being enough, gives us pause on thinking about who we need to bring on to make the next big step forward. As a result of this conversation, I have taken on the philosophy that we should always be thinking about the next hire. There is a fine line between a hiring strategy and a hiring frenzy. You don’t want to just start randomly adding to the team which leads us to the next step.
As my mentor Joe Flacke says “screen in.” Rather than trying to find the perfect person for the job, it’s better to find the perfect person for our team and then change the job to match their skills. What we have ended up with is a team of people who like what they do, fit into our culture and in every case make us better than what we had imagined. One way to help determine if someone is going to be right is asking for experience driven questions. When one has to remember a specific time they were faced with a challenge or opportunity and how they handled it, it can really help you learn more about the candidate. Requiring a candidate to recall specific details; who they worked for or with, what the project or client was helps keep the conversation rooted in reality. Take notes on their answers so that later you can go back and compare the different applicants. And honestly, before you spend any time on the interview make sure you’re a match for the salary, hours and the basic commitment level you are expecting for this role. Once we’ve selected a few potential candidates through our interviewing process we have the more challenging step of deciding who we want to offer the job.
One Floor Up has a unique culture in that we tend to be fairly drama free, willing to work hard, and genuinely interested in each others lives. And from where I sit, that might be our greatest strength. So how do we grow it? The first handful of employees that we brought on came through relationships we already had. A need would come up, we’d reach out to our community and voila the next shiny face would come along. Eventually we realized that we needed to expand our reach out to a bigger pool of talent. Honestly that was a pretty scary step for me/us. Who should we hire if we had no history or friends to recommend someone? Right about this time my mentor, Joe, suggested doing personality profile tests. My initial aversion to labels and tests made me skeptical, but we gave it a try. Currently there are so many options like Enneagrams, Myers-Briggs, Emergenetics. The lists go on and on. We use a test that is proprietary to a corporate psychologist from the east coast, but I think any of these tools have merit and can help you understand how someone might fit into the team. It’s been incredibly helpful to identify what one’s core values and personality traits are and if they match ours. What I learned from the profiles is that my biases sometimes got in the way of finding the right person.
We’re fortunate at One Floor Up to work with people we admire, respect and enjoy. I can’t wait until we get to post that next position for the next member for our team.