Regardless of the size and stage of a company, employees are indispensable. They keep the engine rolling so to speak, and influence the future of a company to a good degree. Employers have varying ideas of the characteristics that define an awesome employee.
The set of standards that define an awesome employee cannot be the same across different industries, geographical locations, and company visions. Thus, the first and quite often the only step, is to define these standards. Once you have done so, it will not be difficult to identify an awesome employee when you see one.
How to Hire an Awesome Employee
Hiring an awesome employee does not require you to do anything extraordinary. You only have to do certain things right. Basically, you have to do two things:
- Keep searching and be alert to spot potential awesome employees
- Ask the right questions
Stay on the Lookout
The business world is no rehearsal – the camera is always rolling. Therefore, you have to stay on the lookout for the bright minds before they are snatched up. A recommendation is to devote at least 25 percent of your time to searching for people that will add exceptional value and flair to your business.
Alternative methods to find outstanding prospects include:
- Getting recommendations from existing employees and people in your network. Word of mouth is still very effective and people you take in high regard will likely know of an interesting prospect.
- LinkedIn is a valuable resource to keep track of prospects and learn a bit more about your prospects.
- Connect on Twitter. The stats do not lie about the effectiveness of finding good people on Twitter—with the social networking giant has connected over 8 million Americans to their current job.
Ask the Right Questions
Besides information contained in a resume, there is very little you know about a prospect or how well he or she will perform in your company. Incisive interview questions are sort of your crystal ball to finding out if you have a potential awesome employee on your list of shortlisted candidates for an interview.
Effective questions include:
- Questions whose answers will provide you a sneak peek into the work experience of the prospect. Tesla and SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk, recommends that your candidates share the greatest challenge they encountered in their last job. The benefits are immense. First, it informs you about the degree of involvement the prospect had at his or her last company. Secondly, it gives you an idea about how well the prospect copes with difficult situations that occasionally arise. Thirdly, it gives you insight into how the prospect thinks and solves problems.
- Questions that are asked over multiple interviews in different settings. A good example is the “airport test,” popularized by Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. The object of the test is that if you would not enjoy an imaginary day with an interviewee in an airport, you should not hire them.
How to Retain Awesome Employees
It is every employer’s dream to hire awesome employees and every employer’s nightmare to lose them. Keeping awesome employees is important to the growth of your company and a common way to do so is to make them feel valued. Of course, this isn’t all of it, but it is the common denominator to the options shared below:
- Develop a vibrant company culture. Employees are humans too, and humans are social animals!
- Build relationships between employees as well as between employees and the company that thrive on shared values, objectives, and goals.
- Adopt a “Results Only Work Environment.” This model, whose acronym is ROWE, works because it follows a philosophy that employees are just as effective at their job if they are working from home, getting unlimited vacation time, and are able to choose when they want to work. This is a turnkey solution when you cannot offer your preferred candidate the highest salary, and want to make up for it by offering more freedom and satisfaction.