Find The Right People To Join Your Team

Find the Right People

Your net worth is equal to your network.

Not totally true but the value of relationships in almost any area of life cannot be denied.

It’s a double-edged sword though.

People can be your greatest asset or your greatest liability.

The right aligned team can take you to the moon (literally) and the wrong unaligned team can kill you (also literally just ask Julius Caesar).

People come to us again and again asking “how do you find the most outstanding people?”

I’m going to give you a simple high level process to you.

Be aware as with any aspect of success it takes work.

It’s not like there’s some magical site you can visit post an ad and get superstars. If it was that easy everyone would be doing it and based on almost universal struggles and complaints in this field we know it isn’t true.

There is a method to make a HUGE difference though I’ve used to build an amazing network all over the world of high level people, hired some amazing team members and helped clients do the same.

Lesson #1 – It Actually Doesn’t Start With Them It Starts With You

For 7 years I ran a recruiting company.

​​At one stage we even had a USP “we can hire top people better than you can and to prove it we’ll hire you superstars and only get paid based on their performance”.

Sounds pretty good right?

Turns out not so straight forward for a range of reasons but I’m going to give you the biggest as it’s probably the single most important advice I can give you about attracting, retaining, and optimizing a great team.

What we learned working with dozens of companies in a multitude of industries and across many positions is this…

It was comparatively easy to hire great people for great companies and almost impossible to hire great people for bad companies.

To clarify by “great companies” I don’t mean “big”, “well branded”, “successful”, etc. often these are horrible places to work and often small unknown companies are some of the best.

A players like to work with A players.

They like a certain kind of environment.

This is mostly about the people and in particular about the leadership within the organization (note I said leadership not just management or ownership).

So you want great people? Start by being great yourself. Have a great project, work hard to execute flawlessly, develop your leadership and management skills, actually care about the people you work with (show and practice empathy and understanding) and care about and work intensely with diligence on your project.

Intensity is perhaps the best predictor of success in many areas of life but with people understanding is the best predictor of success so work on yourself.

There’s a famous law called the “Law of Bob”, which states “if Bob has a problem with everyone then usually Bob is the problem”.

In this case you are Bob. If you consistently have problems with employees then take a good hard look in the mirror and figure out how you can change because when you change everything will change for you.

Lesson #2 – There’s No Such Thing as Good People

Within certain circles we hear talk of “A Players”. For a while I believed this and preached it. Now after many years, many employees, many clients and situations I can tell you this isn’t true.

One of the most important lessons we learned through all our testing and analysis was:

Management trumps recruiting every time.

This means you can hire someone “great” and you can destroy their productivity with bad management.

You can also hire someone horrible and develop them into someone great with the right environment, coaching and management (granted this is very hard in most cases and often not worth it but more on that later).

Here’s a couple of anecdotes.

A number of years ago my brother was hired by a glasses factory.

He’s a truly quality guy, diligent, dedicated, responsible, hard working…but traditionally a slow learner. I’m not sure why but whereas I’m a quick study he picks up things slowly.

He’s smart though he’s realized he might not be the fastest but he can persevere longer and outwork others.

Not everyone else knows that though and he’s introverted so has struggled learning to express confidence and communication with his team. He’s great at it now but back then he wasn’t.

What was the result?

They almost fired him in the first two weeks.

How big a mistake would it have been?

He went on to set the record for highest performer in his jobs within the company, stayed longer than almost anyone else, got promoted to team lead then went on to have the highest performing team in the company.

Two other important examples.

Back around maybe 2010 my recruiting company was focused largely on hiring sales people and we hired one lady in particular who did great and you might have figured this wasn’t surprising since she’d been a top performer in a previous position.

It’s not so clear though since early on in that position she did quite well then something turned. I can’t recall exactly whether it was changes in her personal life or health but she started to struggle and for almost a year she was a losing investment for the company.

She thanks the manager for continuing to persevere with her and believe in her because she eventually recovered and rose to top in the company.

We hired another similar sales person who had a history of crushing it in previous roles including #1 in the country for nearly 10 years at a major national brand, extreme success in a position very similar to the one we ended up hiring him for…

And he crashed hard making hardly any sales and eventually being fired with disappointment all round.

What was the difference? Same person dramatically different results. The answer in his case was environment. The factors present when he first succeeded weren’t there in the new situation.

I could give you countless examples illustrating similar principles from well known athletes to average store clerks.

What it’s important to realize is it’s not so much just about the right person as the right time, the right environment, the right management.

Very often someone who will thrive in one environment will crash and burn in another.

Someone who will thrive at one point in time will collapse at another.

So beware the idea that someone is amazing, the question is “are they amazing right now for the environment and situation you’ll be putting them in and what can you do to adjust those factors to maximize their success?”

Lesson #3 – Almost Everything You Know About Recruiting Is Wrong

Recruiting is one of the most statistically ineffective processes within any business or organization.

Not only are failure rates among new hires incredibly high extreme outperformance and success are the extreme exception rather than the rule.

All of this in spite of people selection, delegation and management being one of the oldest responsibilities in history including billions of instances with monumental amounts of data.

It’s so bad that most smart companies will realize they’ll have to hire several people in order to get one who works out really well or at best settle for mediocrity.

Organizations have done all sorts of things in an attempt to mitigate this such as complex lengthy hiring processes, psychometric testing, and precise systemization.

Most hiring processes are essentially a crap shoot where you might as well select a random applicant and run the odds in fact for certain positions within reason we actually advocate this process but generally there’s a better process.

For reference efficacy of recruiting processes (their success rate) tends to vary from about 10% - 40% for the best common processes out there.

To understand why this is and what to do about it it helps to have a bit of context around what you need in order to succeed.

Think of the people you’re hiring like different dishes (very depersonalized I known, bear with me) in other words different flavors. Imagine the role or position like the taste of someone eating.

You’re trying to match the best flavor with the appropriate taste except with dramatically more complexity.

What do you need in order to do this successfully?

First, you need knowledge of the taste of the person eating. Second, you need knowledge of the flavor being offered so you can match them appropriately.

Chances are you don’t need an exact precise match in most cases a few taste options will work.

You’ve got 4 basic leverage points:

  1. Be really good at the match – we’ll focus on this shortly
  2. Adjust the tastes of the eater to give you more workable options (say through management)
  3. Adjust the flavor being offered to improve the fit (say through training)
  4. Become more efficient to run through more options

In general we suggest you do all four.

For now though let’s dive into #1, why it’s so hard and what to do about it?

Lesson #4 – The 4 Things You Need to Be Great at Matching

There’s a simple set of reasons most people and most hiring processes fail miserably.

In order to do it well on a consistent basis you need 4 things every single time:

  1. Understanding of the success factors – in other words what will make someone great in this position? Most people fail from the get go here.
  2. A lot of data about who they are hiring – people are so broad we need to know about all the different aspects about this person that might make them thrive for flounder within the role.​
  3. HIgh quality data about who they are hiring – it’s not enough that we have a lot of data the data needs to be of high quality or accuracy in order to be useful.
  4. Understanding of how to interpret the data – all the data in the world isn’t useful if you don’t know what to do with it.

Failing to properly understand the success factors in the role is the first major gap in fact most people don’t deeply consider what the role is, what skills are required, etc. to create a proper profile.

#2 & #3 explain how come the traditional hiring process of:

  • Review resume
  • Conduct interviews
  • Do reference checks
  • Make decision

Is almost a complete waste of time.

After all, you’re asking someone who wants the job if you should hire them. In a sense giving them a chance to sell you rather than really digging in to research whether it’s a good fit.

Candidates are NOT a reliable information source about whether they are a good fit.

For the most part highly reliable hiring processes should almost entirely disregard what candidates state about themselves and focus instead on external unbiased indicators.

Finally, none of this matters without an understanding of how to interpret what you hear and in particular this requires getting past cognitive biases.

The challenge is not simply doing all of this but doing so relatively efficiently so you’re able to achieve a positive ROI.

Lesson #5 – The Method of Putting It All Together

Of course none of the above matters if you don’t have any candidates at all.

The great news is there’s one method with higher statistical efficacy than any other achieving all of these at once and we’re going to look at how to supercharge it.

We call this the Climbing the Ladder method and I’ve used it for years in networking and putting deals together.

Where does the method start?

With something we’re all familiar with…getting referrals.

Notice the difference between getting referrals and asking for references.

If you ask someone for a reference about someone specific they’ll generally not want to provide a negative reference so it’s hard to get good quality information.

By contrast if you ask “is there someone you’d recommend who is amazing” they’ll simply not mention someone they might have wanted to avoid giving a negative reference to.

How does this premise work?

Your best data initially is regarding people you know and have relationships with but you only know so many people so you expand this by an order of magnitude by asking the people you know who they know and would recommend.

Here’s the simple math of how it expands your reach. Let’s say on average you know 200 people (most people know a lot more than this but with whom you have decent relationships this is probably reasonable for most people as a topline average).

Of these 200 very few might meet what you’re looking for but each of those 200 might know another 200 so this a total of 40,000.

Naturally, there’s overlap so it’s not close to that many but might be 10,000 or so. In other words in a small town almost everyone in connected through a maximum of 3 degrees of separation (you know someone who knows someone who knows someone).

Again most of those 10,000 people won’t be a fit but who knows if they might be a fit?

Those who have long personal relationships with them and plenty of experience.

So your recruiting process starts by going to your network with two questions:

  1. “Who do you know who might be a fit?”
  2. “Who do you know who might know who would be a fit?”

This will almost invariably generate a series of referrals as a starting point.

You’re now able to quiz these people about those they are recommending before you go to them:

  • “How do you know them?”
  • “What are they like?”
  • “What makes you recommend them?”
  • “What makes them better than others you’ve worked with?”
  • “What’s their style?”
  • Etc.
  • Etc.
  • Etc.

You climb the ladder by going to those who were recommended and repeat the process:

“So and so recommended you as someone who might be able to help. Who do you know whose amazing at this or who do you know who would know?”

In cases such as these people don’t want to look bad so they aren’t going to recommend someone who they don’t think will make them look good.

Because they have direct personal experience and don’t have an incentive to lie they’ll give you higher quality data about the person than the person themselves would.

Because they’ve known the person for a long time you’ll get more data from them in a shorter time than you could ever gather in an interviewing process or test task where you’re limited to a few hours to a few days of experience, a very small context.

Super simple but super effective.

There is of course a lot of advanced strategy regarding how to do this if you want to get really into it that will help you dramatically improve your odds and your reach but this is a strong starting point to give you a dramatic edge over the traditional methods.

If you’d like more information reach out to us or check out some of our trainings.

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