How to Find Employees that Fit your Vision
We're moving on to the 4th in our series about “starting up a café”, and this time we'll be discussing how to find employees that fit your small business vision. Don't worry if you're not specifically a café owner, this text still applies to you!
If you missed the previous episode about creating an awesome brand, you can go back here.
First I want to challenge the most universal mindset in this area which is to choose employees based purely on their skillset, prior experience or academic background. Needless to say, there are many benefits that such attributes will bring to the workplace. But is that all you should be considering?
What if during the selection process, you consider a more wholistic approach? That is, taking into account their attitude, how they fit with current employees and how they will fit in with your ovearching business goals. Important questions to keep in mind when observing a potential employee are: “What approach do they have when serving customers? How far in the future can you work together with them- will it be a long lasting relationship? Above all, are they committed to building your vision, or do they have a personal agenda which will lead to motivational issues later on? It may be easier for young willing business men and women to catch on to your vision quicker, but experience will often offer a reliable sense of stability.
If you hire the right employees who have a strong commitment to your long term plan, it will be quicker for them to learn required practical skills later.
But how do you find such employees? Let’s begin with the traditional interview method. During an interview, it's most important to ask questions which aim to draw out the sincerity from interviewees, such as “How would your previous boss describe you?”, or “Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 20 years?”. Not everyone is willing to dive straight into the deeper topics, so you may want to warm up with a few simpler topics like "What are your hobbies?" or "Describe your high-school life".
You might find the best staff through your circle of friends, and for others you may have to advertise in even the most obscure places, starting your relationship from nothing. Questions may be answered more truthfully after developing a personal relationship with potential staff first. We've developed a sample list of useful interview questions categorized into groups to find an employees' past, present and future ideas and results.
How would your previous boss describe you? Can we contact them?
Why did you leave your last company?
What have you done professionally that you succeeded at, but isn't an experience you'd want to repeat?
Which of your references do you appreciate most and why?
How would your previous co-workers describe your personality?
How do you make decisions? (Create a scenario that often occurs in your workplace)
What single project or task would you consider your most significant career accomplishment to date? Walk me through the plan, how you managed it, how you measured its success, and what the biggest mistakes you made were.
What's surprised you about the interview process so far?
What interests you about this job?
What challenges are you looking for?
What makes you angry?
Who is the smartest person you know personally? Why?
Is it better to be perfect and late, or good and on time?
How do you handle stress and pressure?
Are you a self Motivator? How?
Would you rather be liked or respected?
What are your hobbies?
Pitch [name of your company] to me as if I were buying your product/service.
Is there any question I haven't asked you that I should?
Do you have any questions?
What would be your ideal company culture?
Where do you see yourself 5,10, 20 years from now?
What strength do you need to develop most to succeed?
What can you contribute to this company?
What will make you love coming to work here everyday?
How many hours can you work per day?
Where would you like our company to be in coming years?
Remember, you don't have to be looking for a simple "yes" or "no", often there will be no right answer and you can just use this time to perceive how and why this candidate may shine if you hire them.
With that in mind, there are many other methods which you'll need to implement to get more in touch with employees. For example, you could personally take them out for a coffee, or to other social events... or maybe it’s wiser and to ask other trusted employees to spend time with them? Before hiring employees, you may choose to offer them a trial period to verify if they truly practice what they preached during the interview. Observe practical skills, i.e. as a barista, or check how smooth they are with the lastest tech or their people skills when they're amongst customers. It can be official and unofficial, with an everpresent balance.
Don’t be afraid if you meet someone on the street who grabs your attention to hire them even in that moment. All in all this is the process of not just finding employees, but all the time an owner’s thought process should revolve around one question... “Would I be able to live together harmoniously with this person?”.
When you transform this process to one of finding and gathering employees as your extended family, then you will create the culture that substantiates your vision, making it an inevitable reality. Recall moments spent in your family trying to map out a family tree. With the same curiosity and desire you can find employees who will align and add to your vision for years to come.
Perhaps you have more to add about hiring employees... maybe you’ve had some interesting experiences, hiring, or being hired which you can share? We would love to hear them in the comments below! Next time we’ll be discussing how to find the perfect café product. See you then