Help me Hire Good People

Many startup entrepreneurs complain how hard it is to hire good people. In the high-risk environment of a startup or established small business, it’s very disruptive to not hire people who fit, are efficient, and are effective. Not everybody is built to meet the challenges of this environment.

Here are three things that can help to eliminate those issues.


There are several strategies that can be used. Most managers think of hiring employees to be a “Direct Hire.” People in this category become full- or part-time employees of the firm doing the hiring.

Another alternative is to “Contract Hire.” There are several contract houses who specialize in a variety of business or technical areas. Some people are brought on this way and remain contract employees.

Some hiring managers start by bringing people on as contract labor. They use a three to six month period (even a year) as probation. Ultimately, if there’s a fit, they pay a premium and convert the person from contract labor to a direct hire.


If you’re going to hire someone, you need to make sure that you have a detailed vision of the job. The hiring manager needs to identify and write out: the Title of the position; to whom will they be Reporting; a Job Summary; Knowledge and Skills Requirements; Primary Responsibilities; Additional Responsibilities; the Working Conditions or Environment.

The hiring manager needs to articulate the requirements for a successful candidate. These requirements form the basis for the job posting and screening potential candidates.

Any job description or posting should be reviewed with a qualified Human Resource Management professional to ensure that nothing improper is being published.


360 interviews:

The candidate should be interviewed  by those to whom they will report; colleagues or peers; employees who will directly report to the person.

Remember that the interview is the first opportunity to begin building the trust-based relationship.  Use the RICE model – Reputation; Intent; Credentials; and Experience (Reference 1).

Conduct the interview using Behavioral Interviewing (aka STAR):

Situation – Identify a challenge?

Task – What was supposed to be achieved or delivered?

Action – What did you do? Why? Describe alternatives.

Results – What was the outcome achieved? Were objectives met? What did you learn?

Think about the questions ahead of time:

Using a 360 degree strategy, decide who will be asking about what.  After the interviews, be prepared to write up conclusions.  Here is an example of how that might look:

Leadership Style Conflict Resolution Empowering the Workforce
Maintaining Alignment Decision-Making Recognition & Reward
Strategy v. Tactics Communications Style Problem Solving
Measurement Employee Development
Communications Style Communications Style
Succession Development

Have goals available to clarify expectations:

Be ready to discuss the goals anticipated for the position.  Use the SMART model (i.e. Specific; Measurable; Achievable; Relevant; Time-Based) (Reference 2).

Steve Czerniak retired after a successful career that culminated in fifteen years of experience as an internal consultant and “change agent.” He is currently an Expert-in-Residence at the Macomb-Oakland University Incubator and a volunteer with the Troy Historic Village and Historical Society; and SCORE.

REFERENCES: 1) Blog Entry on Trust Model (RICE) – 2) Blog Entry on SMART Goals –

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