Dale Yake

PT Solutions Founder/CEO

Who Is a Fit? Hiring Ingredients

When PT Solutions began with one employee and one person to assess, life was a bit easier.  I was human resources, physical therapist, accounts receivable, CEO, CFO, sales person, janitor, and customer service.  Let’s just say the day to day self talk was much easier than employee reviews.  That early phase was not without consternation, however. Arguing, distrusting, disrupting, angling, asking for greater role, asking for improved communication, more mentoring, improved schedule, and the ongoing quest for higher compensation could only be posed between competing areas of the one brain at my disposal.  Disconcerting could only be blamed internally to misaligned neurons as opposed to employees being the wrong fit.  Working for yourself definitely has its challenges.  Hiring and making employment decisions is best outlined as quizzical.

By the way, I count several hundred times that I have fired myself only to rehire me in the next few minutes. I say it is a competition between good fit and availability.  Or in other words to use a phrase of my favorite Pittsburgh Steelers coach, next man up.  Problem is when you are the only one, it’s you at all costs..

All of that internal struggle became external with hire number 1.  After 25 years of hiring, training, teaching, reviewing, advancing, encouraging, and most would say discouraging others in my employ, picking who will be around you is probably the second most important general skill.  In the hierarchy of relationships, selection is next most valued to first being able to build any type of relationship and in a close tie with the ability to communicate.  The question becomes, how do you select?  Let me count the ways I have failed.

I have done the long, short, multiple, and extended time interviews.  I have used the consultants and the recruiting firms.  I have used hiring panels and even at times removed myself from hiring.  I have employed professional business interviews solely where we sit in a conference room. I have conducted social interviews out of the office with and without food.  I have interviewed in the car, truck, and out on the sports playing field.   I have incorporated personality testing, gut testing, and off the cuff testing.  We have an outstanding human resources director today, but I have been through a long string of human resources directors, specialists, vice presidents.  I am sure the failure was mine.  Success rate with hires over 25 years – 40% good/55% not so good/5% not applicable.  My batting average would win a $25 million contract in baseball and fail out of most colleges.  If hires were exams, no doubt I have had several failures of final exams with many of those hires.  So I among many struggle in this area.

I truly have had some disastrous hires.  I have had car crash hires, dumpster fire hires, and generally stinky hires.  Of course hiring is the first step in the process of employment and without good on-boarding, training, outlining of expectations and an employment process of review and feedback, many hires don’t go well.  We will work through these later in the blog. I’ll focus first on hiring here.

What do you assess with respect to experience and pose no threatening bias on age, gender or other groups?  How do you avoid the train wrecks and keep a growing business growing without tremendous missteps?  Ultimately, how do you avoid what can be the most most blood pressure raising experience – a work breakup?

How do we measure a potential employee’s values, work ethic, grit, a will to win, and the ability to self maintain?

Now, even with all that percentage of failure, I have had great successes.  Both in my prior professional life and with PT Solutions, there are a copious amount of self-evolving persons.  Even very hungry birds can find worms occasionally I guess.  Most of that success I attribute to great blessings.  However I have spent a great deal of time assessing.  What were the attributes of the wonderful hires and what process did I employ? What should we employ as we go forward? What is the training regimen needed to get better?  Most importantly before we assess and begin the hiring process – I outline what I am looking for in all candidates.

Here are my top 10 things to look for in a new hire:

1. What Does the Candidate Value? Learning, Schedule, Compensation, Time off, etc?

2. Prior to All the Fancy Degrees – How Did They Pay for College, Car, Apartment, etc? What Was the First Job? Am I to Become Their First Employer?

3. Is the Candidate Focused on Their Benefits or Our Culture?

4. How Does the Person Depict Their Future Response to Feedback?

5. Does the Candidate Understand Work Progression or Are They A Deliver Me Now Candidate?

6. Does the Candidate Have a Sense of Humor?

7. Can the Candidate Frame Thoughts or Are They Unable to Maintain Pertinence?

8. Do I Enjoy the Conversation With the Candidate? What Are Both of Our Comfort Levels During Interview Time?

9. How Does the Candidate Demonstrate Work Ethic, Perseverance, and the Ability to Overcome?

10. Attention to Detail: Timeliness, Presentation, Resume Organization, Do They Have a List of Questions Written?, Do They Follow Up the Interview with Written Contact?


1 Comment

  1. One of the greatest managers of our era, Jack Welch (CEO, GE, 1981-2001), has said that an attribute of the greatest “bosses” is that they concern themselves more with the growth and success of those they lead than that of themselves.

    What is written here is a wealth of information about a learned skill that is very difficult to do well. Thanks for the education Dale. Keep up the good work of being a great boss.

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