Sabrina Starling PhD, PCC, BCC

The Secret To Hiring the Perfect Employee

Scaling your business for growth requires hiring people to get the work done. Yet, so many business owners get stuck here. We hold onto an ego-driven myth that we can’t find the right people who will do what we do as well as, or even better than we can.  In fact, when I start working with my clients who have employees, they often confide in me that they fantasize about scaling back, going back to a simpler time in their business when it was just them and they didn’t have employees. They’ve been burned by bad employee experiences.

Two questions I’m often asked are: “Sabrina, how do I find the right people to work for me? Should I hire the person with the skills, qualifications and certifications, or is there something else I should be paying attention to?”

The answer is the latter. There is something else you should be paying attention to when you are making hiring decisions. Skills can be trained. In contrast, values are not “trainable.” Someone either has core values like yours, or they don’t. You can’t train values.

For example, my clients place a high priority on delivering over-the-top customer service. Not surprisingly, a recurring frustration is with those employees who fail to take good care of customers. Sure, you can provide employees with training in customer service. However, if an employee is not naturally inclined to tune into the needs of others, no amount of training is going to lead to a significant improvement in that employee’s customer service.

Before hiring your next employee, articulate what’s most important to you about how business is conducted.  To do this, identify your Immutable Laws in clear, understandable language.

What are Immutable Laws? Immutable Laws are your core values, your fundamental, deeply held beliefs, your highest priorities and the organizing principles that guide your actions.

The challenge most of us have is that our Immutable Laws are so much a part of the fabric of who we are, that we have a hard time identifying them, much less putting them into written form to share publicly in our businesses.

Recently, one of my clients and I stumbled upon a powerful question for identifying our Immutable Laws:

What’s ticked you off recently?

Think about something an employee, customer or co-owner has done recently that really got under your skin. Chances are, one of your Immutable Laws was violated. Try to put words on the Immutable Law that was violated.

Take a few moments to brainstorm your Immutable Laws. Start your list of Immutable Laws, then observe yourself over the coming weeks. When do you feel proud of your business? Chances are, an Immutable Law is being honored. When are you ticked off? Chances are, an Immutable Law is being violated. Capture these Immutable Laws and add them to your list.

Here are my “work in progress” Immutable Laws as examples to help you get started brainstorming yours:

Our Ideal Clients Come First. We take care of the clients we have, first and foremost. We don’t chase business. We attract Ideal Clients and serve the heck out of them! Our Ideal Clients can count on us. We do what we say we’re going to do.

Walk the talk, even when it’s hard. There’s no other way. Be real. Take risks. Be vulnerable.

Celebrate WINS and intentionally do more of what works. Being in business is tough…do the Happy Dance whenever you can!

Show up ready to work hard and have fun. Giving up is not an option. Persistence and learning from mistakes is all there is. Mistakes are learning opportunities. Vent and keep moving forward!

Work Supports Life…not the other way around. Our work is in service of the 3 Fs: Freedom, Flexibility and Fulfillment – in your business and ours.

There are no “right or wrong” Immutable Laws. Create the ones that are right for you and your business. For more examples of Immutable Laws, check out Mike Michalowicz’s blog on this topic.

Only hire people who hold your Immutable Laws, even if that means passing up the applicant with the glowing resume because you just don’t feel like they get what you are about and what you are up to in your business.

Weed out employees who don’t hold your Immutable Laws. It doesn’t mean they are bad people. They just don’t have the same top 3-5 core values as you. Over time, you’ll have a leaner, higher functioning team that you’ll be proud of!

By the way, here’s another secret: Employees who share your Immutable Laws are much more likely to stick around and be loyal to your company. They will be proud to work for you. They will have your back. Isn’t that what we all want from our teams?

Article written by :
Sabrina Starling PhD, PCC, BCC
Dr. Sabrina Starling, The Business Psychologist™, is a Provendus Growth Strategist Certified in both the Pumpkin Plan and Profit First. She is the author of the book How to Hire the Best and specializes in transforming small businesses into a highly profitable, great place to work. Dr. Starling recognizes that employee problems can be one of the biggest stumbling blocks for any business owner. With her background in psychology, and years of coaching small business owners to extraordinary results, Dr. Starling knows what it takes to find, keep and get exceptional performance out of your biggest investment—your employees. Catch her next Masterclass (her gift to you!) at Quickly Double Your Profit With Top Performing Employees.
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3 Responses to The Secret To Hiring the Perfect Employee

  1. Donna Leyens Donna Leyens says:

    This rings true on so many levels. If you hire people who’s values, work ethic and personality are a good fit for your company’s culture, you will have an environment that supports innovation, creativity, productivity and growth. The positive feelings that those who are a good fit will have about your company will spill out to your customers and the world. On the other hand, employers have to make sure that they do their part to support a positive work environment and convey their mission and their values to their employees as well!

  2. Fred Pieplow Fred Pieplow says:

    Everyone would say they would love to work in a organization that has your immutable laws. Is there a trick to crafting questions that reveal a real match?

  3. Sabrina Starling PhD, PCC, BCC Sabrina Schleicher PhD, PCC, BCC says:

    Great question, Fred! Sharing your Immutable Laws up front with an employee sets the tone and expectation for how you will work together. To get a sense of who the employee really is and if they are a good match with your Immutable Laws, Mike has shared a strategy called Pattern Interviewing. Essentially, you want to find out how the employee got along with other authority figures. You might ask how they got along with a favorite high school teacher. How did they handle a disagreement with that teacher? Who was their least favorite teacher? Why? As they the potential employee answers questions like these, listen for themes that relate to your Immutable Laws. Are their any disconnects? Listen to your gut. Most of the time, my clients tell me they had a gut feeling during the interview that something was off, but they hired anyway because the resume was decent and they needed the help. Later, they regret it.

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