Hiring a team is a lot like my business development experience, check everything

Today, I had two phone calls with recruiters. As a hiring manager for my own business and a large tech firm, I know how the story goes. Check everything. Any flags, yellow, orange or red – done. It’s not that I have an issue with mistakes, what I know from experience is that when hiring, you are building a relationship that will last years. Thus when building the relationship, you have to be picky. Mull things over, double check and follow the process. First, you phone screen. Then if they pass, you screen in person. In a large company, there are two phone screens. One with the recruiter, the second with the hiring manager. Before any given candidate gets through the door, they need to clear both hurdles. What’s interesting to me is what happens after the, “Lunch test.”

The evaluation is very straightforward. Get lunch together while you’re checking their skills. If they can eat, be good company and explain their experience in a way you know will add value, bonus. If they can’t, they are still good people. But they just aren’t the fit you believed from the phone calls. Google posted that after four interviews, they found zero value in extra people on the panel. For my small business, there were only two people on the panel, myself and one other co-founder. In my business development experience (a long while ago), the checklist was drafted by yours truly. More recently during my consulting experience, I screened businesses as much as they screened us.

Why would a consulting firm screen their potential clients?

Simple. Every client we had, I needed to know two things before I would bother sending a proposal. First, would they follow our recommendations? If not, the relationship would not be fruitful for them and it might have a negative impact on my reputation. So I screened for companies who would follow through, because while we didn’t get paid on success, I am only happy when working with a team that gets it and can deliver. Secondarily, I also wanted to know that after we kicked the ball out of the park that it might lead to a referral. Success creates success and in consulting, happy clients create more opportunity.

After a few chats last week about consulting, I’m tempted. The money is good, the work is flexible and the people are awesome. However, despite the temptation, I want to be on a team. I don’t have a business plan in mind, so, I’m looking at other plans. It’s amazing what you see when you lift your head up and take a look around.