Craigslist and Ayn Rand might be integral to creating your perfect team. At least that’s my winning formula for building my bench of  “A players”.

business coaching

Creating – or if you prefer a better word – attracting, the perfect team can feel like going round and round a turnstile for many small business owners.  Somebody great shows up for an interview, and you offer him the job only to find out he took another job elsewhere.

The perfect woman shows up and you know she will fit the team for years to come, only to hire her and painfully fire her before you can cry into your beer.  Where did things go so wrong?

Yes hiring and firing is never easy, but the team at Full Circle has a tried and true method for nearly always hitting the bulls-eye when it comes to bringing on board “A plus” talent.  By “A plus” we mean people who are in demand and of value to your company. Not the type of people who are out of job options, eternally hoping to land the next paycheck regardless if the work actually excites them.

So here are 5 steps to hiring A plus talent:

1. Seek the gainfully employed.

Someone who is out of work for weeks or months at a time often has little to no motivation. If they are out of work writing a book or travelling to the Maldives, that is a different story, but largely the rule of thumb is that you want to seek (or even poach) from another company.

I have had to tell another doc once that she was not allowed to steal my staff from me, and I meant it! I like my team to be courted by others because they are so awesome!

2. Look under your nose – or at your clients!

In your waiting room?  On your table? At the board meetings? Perhaps on the conference calls?  You may be face-to-face with your next perfect hire at any point in a day. The people you already do business with might very well consider joining your team. Sometimes the answers are right under our noses, we just don’t look there. It never hurts to ask them – and if they are not your person, chances are that by association they might know some “A plus” talent looking to relocate to the area or for a job closer to home.

3. Craigslist or Kijiji

Yes, some shady stuff happens on these classified sites but for every weird story you hear, you don’t hear about the 42,345,356.5 success stories.  We have found our best talent on Craigslist. It’s free, it’s massively searched, it’s well known and well… it’s free. Yes LinkedIn is another good option, but often that is for higher levels of pay, or something much more specialized. Consider listing on both websites as well as other local classifieds.

4. Ask about Ayn Rand

We make this a rule of thumb for all ads, there MUST be attention to detail for the job seeker. Our ads read something like this

“seeking highly motivated, self starter who works well with a team yada yada yada, more stuff that excites you, yada yada yada. As part of your submission, please send us your most recent CV as well as your most recent book read and your favorite book of all time.” This ensures their attention to detail if they decide not to provide this information, as well as lets you know what kind of values they hold by the books and quotes they live by.

About 50% of people will send in a resume with a cut and paste “This job looks perfect for me” thing in the cover page and not mention the book criteria. Don’t waste your time – they didn’t read the ad, and they probably won’t work well on your team. On to the next. The half that actually pays attention to the request you can filter out or separate the cream from the rest of the crop.

Also, by asking for the last book read it adds a new filter to our criteria: Philosophical books like Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged send someone to the top of my list versus someone reading The Hunger Games or Harry Potter. In fact, did they actually just watch the movie?

5. Ask a difficult question in the interview.

My wife and co-owner hates this question but I love it: “OK so you are working here for 6 months, you get a million dollars inherited when you find out you were a descendant of the founder of Qatar – what do you do with the money?”

We have had answers from “well I would quit my job and go travel” to “I would move to Panama and surf all day.” Great, welcome to a job you will soon hate.

The person that pays off debt, moves his parents to town and buys his wife a new car then shows up to work  – well now you have a winner.

Firing is going to happen. Although, you can minimize the firings by hiring the correct person the first time. Get clarity on the values that your practice lives by, and ask the right questions to see if the new hire shares these values. Take the steps that matter to you and implement them next time you are in the market.


Happy hiring!  Here’s to making it count!

Written by Associate Coach: Dr. Jay Breitlow


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