E376: Ask Coach – Finding Good People

When hiring new employees, look at how they fit in your organization more than their skills.


Q: We are getting ready to hire some key employees. Can you give us some advice on how to find and hire good people?

A: Search everywhere then hire for fit first, skills second.


  1. What is a good employee?
    1. Someone that knows everything they need to know? Will they accept your ways?
    2. Someone that will do whatever you ask? Are they going to wait for instruction for every move?
    3. Someone that argues with others?
    4. A good employee is someone that fits in with your organization and will do things congruently with your mission/vision.
  2. Finding potential hires
    1. Start with your employees – they have networks and will know who might fit well
    2. Your network – ask around, tell people in your network that you are looking for some new people
    3. Advertise – post it everywhere you can – there are thousands of people looking for new opportunities – make sure you give people the opportunity to know you are hiring.
  3. Wich one fits best
    1. Remember to hire slow and fire fast
      1. Spend some time preparing for and reviewing potential hires
    2. Ask questions that give you insight to their values and your core values – do they match?
      1. Example: You received a final invoice and sign off from a subcontractor (who has been a rela pain in the a**) and realize they missed a $5K change order. Do you let them know or process as is and hope they don’t catch it? Why?
      2. A client gave us a change order several months ago and we have completed the work and submitted the invoice already. While going through some paperwork, you realize you transposed some numbers and the change order was actually $8K more than it should be. What do you do? Why?
    3. Let other employees spend some time with you potential hires and get their feedback
    4. Consider micro-tasks for short-listed candidates
      1. Take the top 3 and hire each one to prepare a Project Execution plan for an upcoming project. Pay them by the hour for their work. Let them work closely with one of your current PMs for asking questions and getting information. The resulting work effort can help point you in the right direction.