As Incite Tax has accelerated its growth the past couple years, I’ve had many opportunities to talk about and help other small businesses with more than just accounting. Recently I was asked how to hire the best employees.
I first need to start with some disclaimers. Years and years ago I met with a consultant named Dr. Sabrina, and she gave us a foundation. We since have upgraded our hiring process by working with Danielle Mulvey and her company, The ALL IN Company. A lot of their consulting guidance helped to frame our hiring process to what we have now. So, by no means am I saying we are professionals at hiring or setting up a hiring process. We do have a system that’s worked well for us, but we don’t do hiring consulting. So just wanna lay that out there. I’m just sharing this information with you because it was asked. And I am proud of what our team has come up with.
Our Hiring Process
Generally speaking, when it comes to your hiring process, not every position is going to go through the exact same process. Lower entry team member positions may not need as involved of a process. The more experienced the person is, especially those who will be on your leadership team or executives of your company, will have a much more thorough process. They’ll also be paid more, so you’ll be extra careful with that investment. And based on the position, the skills that you assess also might change a little bit. So, your specific hiring process will have a range unique to your business and industry.
The basics of any hiring process can be broken down into 3 steps.
- Listing & Application
- Interviews & Assessments
- The Offer
So, how to hire the best employees? I’ll go over an overview of our process, but for us, the interview and assessment process is key and quite involved.
Step 1 – Listing & Application
We start the process with our job description. We write it in a way that matches our culture so that those who do take the time to read it will know if they’re not a good fit. Then those who don’t read it all the way will become obvious and we’ll know they aren’t a good fit for our company. We also put in our job description some instructions that they need to take in order to do the next step in the hiring process. Attention to detail is really important in the accounting industry. So we have that in there to see if they are going to see that detail on a basic level, even from the job description.
Next, it’s time for the job posting. We put our job description and promotions for those postings out there on as many avenues, software’s, job posting boards, wherever we possibly can. We want to make a really big dent, right? So we post it wherever we possibly can.
The way candidates first apply to let us know they’re interested is they send us an email with a video, no more than two minutes long explaining why they’re right for the job and what their favorite food is. In that email they send us with the video they’re supposed to use the subject line, IRS sucks. That’s for us to know that they read the job posting.
We also don’t give them instructions on how to create a video that’s two minutes or less. We want to know if they have some tech savvy already, because we are a very technology based company. We’re paperless and so if they aren’t comfortable with computers or learning new things on computers or with phones and things like that, again, probably not the right fit.
We filter people immediately that way. It automatically eliminates those who are just applying to keep their unemployment benefits, or for whatever reason, are applying to a hundred jobs all at once without actually taking the time to read them. You might not be looking for a job. You’re probably reading this for advice on growing your business, but it’s crazy to me that people would do that. If you really want a job, take the time to learn about the company you’re applying for. Okay, enough ranting.
Step 2 – Interviews & Assessments
Those that make it through our application process will take a suitability test. We use a software called Preview HR. By them asking some questions, it lets us know how suitable they are to the position they’re applying for.
Assuming they pass the suitability test, we also might have some other skill-based assessments that we give them, depending on the position. Like for bookkeepers, we need to know what their basic bookkeeping knowledge is. Also if they have any sort of know-how with Microsoft or Google products, like Word or Spreadsheets, those types of things.
Again, assuming they passed the suitability test and any skills assessments, then we do a resume interview with them. In the resume interview we go through the last three to four relevant jobs that they had that are related to the job they’re applying for, asking them about their history with each company. It’s a really great way to help you as the interviewer assess patterns. See if there’s any patterns in behaviors that we may not like in our company. We learned this through Topgrading, another hiring methodology. Danielle Mulvey also confirmed that it’s a good thing to do. So we keep doing it.
Key Competency Interview
From that point, if they pass that, then we do a key competency interview. Now the competencies obviously vary based on the position. We have questions that we ask related to each competency that we want to assess them on. We have two to three current team members in that interview. So, each of them are evaluating the candidate based on their own feeling. They rate them one to five, five being the highest, on each competency. Then when the interview with the candidate is over, the team members review notes together.
Cultural Integration Interview
From that point, if they seem really good, then we want to make sure they’re a cultural fit. If they live within a reasonable distance of where we’re located, because some of our team members are remote only, we invite them in. We take them to a team lunch and also play some improv games. This is designed to see if they mesh with our current team members.
Step 3 – The Offer
Then from there, before they leave, we give them the job offer. That’s assuming nothing crazy happened while they were having that culture integration interview.
Hiring A Players
So that’s kind of a run through of the process that we have. Now, some people, when they hear this, feel like it’s a lot of steps. We usually get through the whole process within 7 to 10 days. We have all the things scheduled as soon as possible so the candidate knows what our process looks like and when they can expect to have a decision, because A Players or 5 Star Players are not going to wait. They have other offers usually, so they’re choosing between ours and somebody else’s. We have to get through our process efficiently.
Just because we want to be quick, we also don’t want to hire someone who’s not the right fit. There are people who are just good at interviewing, but don’t have the skill set we need. So if you only did one or two basic interviews, you wouldn’t discover their lack of skills until it hurt your company in some way. We’ve made that mistake in the past. But as we’ve made mistakes in the hiring process, we’ve adapted our own system so that we can maybe catch those mistakes sooner in the hiring process.
This is very much related to the profitability of your company because at the end of the day, all the problems in your company, everything that’s a frustration, is rooted in a people problem. Even if you have bad systems, all problems are people problems. I learned that through Kelly Roach, who’s one of my business mentors. All business problems are people problems. So if you have the right 5 star people on your team, you have a much higher potential to grow your business than letting those who are not 5 stars stick around, becoming poison and doing bad work.
We invest in our team. In order for us to stay in business, we literally have to have some sort of return on what we invest in them. If not, that’s a bad investment and we’re not going to be able to be in business for long. Your hiring process and having the right people is very much correlated to the profitability of your business.
With this framework, you now know how to hire the best employees for your business. Take it and make all the changes you need to make it specific to your business. Create your own 5 star team and watch your company thrive.
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