You need people. Good people. 

People who live your core values and buy into your vision. People who can do the jobs they’re tasked with and deliver results.

The hiring market is tough. Millions have left the workforce. You’re competing with bigger companies for top talent—and you can’t compete with their comp plans and benefits packages.

But also.

You know the cost of a bad hire. You’ve probably experienced firsthand how one toxic team member, or even just an underperforming one, affects productivity, morale, and client satisfaction.

You need staff that can start yesterday, but you also need to take the time to find the right fit.

What’s an entrepreneur to do?

One of the best pieces of hiring advice I ever received comes from the book Who. If you haven’t read it, I recommend it. 

The book lays out a comprehensive system for hiring. Following it to the letter, and according to the authors’ research, it will increase your hiring success rate significantly.

I have to admit that I don’t follow the entire process described in Who(ask for my DiSC profile if you want to know why). But the one recommendation I always follow during interviews is to start with the story.

When you’re sitting down with a candidate in the final rounds, (You are having someone else screen candidates and sift through resumes, right? If not, please ask us for some resources buckle up and get ready to learn about their entire career history.

Have them walk you through their career journey, one step at a time. 

Why did they start that job? Why did they leave? What would their manager have to say about their tenure?

Look for gaps. Pauses. Inconsistencies. Continually ask yourself, “Does the story make sense?”

The story can be interesting or unusual. It can take you to unexpected places—as entrepreneurs, we can relate to having a non-status-quo career path.  But their story must have a clear throughline, a thread you can follow to understand what kind of career this person has shaped for themselves.