Garnering a good return on investment isn’t limited to retail products, raw materials, equipment, and real estate. The people you hire are an investment as well. If they provide excellent customer service, produce quality products, and care about what’s best for the company, your return can far exceed the cost of hiring and employing them. Bad employees, on the other hand, can drag a business down and sully a reputation built over many years. That’s why the hiring process is so important. Do it right and you can expect substantial dividends. Do it wrong, and trouble awaits. Here are three tips for hiring outstanding employees.

  • Conduct a solid interview. That means being prepared, knowing the questions you’ll ask, the type of employee you’re seeking, and the most important aspects of the position for which you’re hiring. Common interviewing mistakes include being overly influenced by advanced degrees versus real world experience and hiring people who look and think like you do. A company filled with clones of the owner may not bring fresh perspectives. Without folks who are willing to challenge established norms and perceived limitations, big problems may go unsolved and opportunities may be missed.
  • Check the facts. The best con artists are great liars. No matter how comfortable you feel during the interview, be sure to check a candidate’s references and work history as presented in the resume. Hire an engineer who lacks the requisite skill and training, and product design and quality may suffer. If you bring on board an accountant with a shady work history, fraud may later surface. It’s prudent to maintain a healthy degree of skepticism in the hiring process.
  • Hire for fit — not just skills. All your employees may not look the same or hold the same political beliefs. But they should agree with your vision and values. They should also come to the job with solid communication skills and an ability to work well in a team. If you hire smart people with strong foundational skills, they will often develop sufficient expertise to perform at a high level. On the other hand, folks who can’t get along with peers or who lack basic skills can engender staff dissatisfaction, which can lead to increased employee turnover and management stress.

Take the time and exert the effort to recruit and hire the best employees. They’re often your best investment.