May 12

Your hiring managers NEED to hear this.

This podcast is a panel discussion hosted by Open for Business at Ebay’s Bootcamp for Business at SXSW. We love this session because it’s a collaborative interview from an executive coach, an HR director at Netflix, and a young CEO. They combine to deliver a dynamic perspective on the impacts that hiring, firing, and scaling a team can have on a company’s culture.

We absolutely believe that this is one of those podcasts that you’ll want to pass along to your hiring managers. We would highly encourage you (as the recruiter) to continue to keep the lines of communication open and honest with your hiring managers. Work with them to understand the end goal of each hire (and their success metrics for the first year). Hiring the right candidate requires total team participation. Your company culture will thank you.

When it comes to hiring

People have a million choices when they are looking for a new company to work for. One of the most impactful activities your team can do to “stand out” in the noise is to be authentic in your pursuit for the right talent. It all starts with a vision of the future and an honest examination of your current gaps. Follow this formula to drive your next move as a hiring manager:

  • FIRST – Look out 6 months into the future of your team.
  • THEN – Ask yourself: “If I created a team that was UNBELIEVABLE, what would I be occurring then that’s not occurring now?”
  • ANSWER – That question with vivid details about what’s different. Are you in a bigger space? Do you have meetings every week? What does it look like when you walk through your team that’s ‘doing this amazing thing?’
  • THEN – Ask yourself: “In order for that to happen, what would people need to know how to do?”
  • ANSWER – That question with detailed task lists. Do you have team members that need to know how to sell to existing customers? Do you have team members that need to know how to use your software stack? Do you have team members that need to know your supply chains or workflows?
  • THEN – Ask yourself: “What kind of skills and experiences would it take for someone to accomplish that?”
  • ANSWER – That question with a detailed list of skills necessary to address the needs you just outlined.
  • NOW – You are ready to look for the right person. Because now you’re hiring for someone to address a real business need or problem; not a skill set that looks good on paper.

When you start with a problem that you’re trying to solve for, you’ll be much more likely to find people that you never would have considered otherwise.

When it comes to firing

If someone on your team isn’t good for your team or your company, you need to move quickly and decisively. Letting someone go is one of the most difficult things you can do as a business leader. But remember, you have to take responsibility and be honest with yourself about the mistake. Firing someone needs to be done in a way that preserves your employee’s humanity. Keep these nuggets in mind to execute Patty McCord’s “Good Goodbye:”

  • If you hired somebody who isn’t competent – YOU have to own that.
  • When it’s time to fire someone, they can’t be surprised and they need to keep your dignity.
  • One trick is to set clear expectations of a trial period during the hiring process. Say something to the effect of “You know, you have 4 out of the 5 qualities that we are looking for to fulfill this position. Let’s give it a 3-month trial run. It’s a risk, but we like what we see in you, and we think you could come up the learning curve quickly. At 3 months, we’ll be sure to re-evaluate.” When you lay out the risk at the beginning, you can then say “You know, we both gave it a good try…”

Take an internal assessment with each firing event to improve your hiring process for the next candidate.

Bottom line

Gary Vaynerchuk published his take on hiring and firing back in 2013, “The way to be great at hiring, is to be unafraid of firing.” As a recruiter, take it upon yourself to work with your hiring managers beyond the job description to understand the success factors of the role. As a hiring manager, take the time to examine the common traits of your team that indicate success. As a team, be sure everyone understands the acceptable reasons for firing your personnel. And when you determine it’s time to part ways, always, always, always do it in a way that preserves your employee’s humanity.

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