Hiring is hard. You ever hired someone and a week (or even an hour) later thought to yourself,

‘What the HELL have I done!!??’

(If you wanna watch a video of this here’s a link, or scroll to the bottom.)

Everything looks good on paper, they have a good work history, a steady stream of employment, and their resumé seems legit, but for some reason it’s not clicking. First of all, it comes down to hiring someone not just to fill a job, because those individuals are a dime a dozen for most types of work, but hiring someone to be an integral part of your team. When someone feels like they are a part of a team, they are much more likely to contribute to the success of the organization — they WANT to contribute, because their inclusion in the organization’s success is a way for them to extract more meaning from the work that they are doing every day. The question is:

How do you get there?

You need to have a clear vision and understanding of what you stand for as a company.

In other words, why should someone want to work with you? Do you offer a wide array of sustainable seafood? This shows your commitment to ethically and responsibly supporting the environment. Are you a gourmet hot dog shop that makes your dogs in house? This shows anyone in town why they should grab one of your delicious meats over the street cart on the corner downtown. Are you a vegetarian spot that truly embraces the local farms in the local area? This shows your commitment to a certain type of lifestyle, but also demonstrates your commitment to supporting the local community. (Side note, if you are a chef or creative in any capacity, you need to be able to answer these questions for yourself as well.)

Once you understand and can clearly articulate what it is that you represent as a company organization, then you have a distinct advantage over other organizations, because anyone looking for a job knows exactly what they are signing up for (in terms of offering and style) if they are offered a position with you. For sustainable, long-term success, it is IMPERATIVE that you don’t hire people for the job, but instead, hire people for the mission. Now the key is getting the right people in the door. What are you looking for in an employee? I think a lot of us fool ourselves into thinking that we are better at hiring than we actually are. Most of us have a set of canned questions that potential hires are looking for,

‘why did you leave your last job?’
‘have you ever worked in an upscale environment?’
‘what is your biggest weakness?’

These questions aren’t bad, but they aren’t good. They dont provide any context. They don’t tell us if this is the type of person we want working with us on our team. Instead, questions that speak to the true nature of someone, those answers provide us with the knowledge we need to make more calculated decisions. I call these Identifier Questions:

‘What kind of team environments have you been in and of the ones you’ve thrived in, what made those so meaningful for you?’
‘What are the values you hold most dearly and how do you live out those values every day?’
‘What is your biggest failure and how did you respond/overcome that? What did you learn from it?’

These are the types of questions that give us a peak into the people that we could be relying on every day I’m bout companies, and just by asking those three thoughtful questions above, we will know (in order of appearance above): —

TEAMS: What kind of team member they might be, how they perceive working in team environments, and perhaps most important of all, what kind of importance of how meaningful (if at all) the opportunity of working in a teAm environment is to them.

VALUES: How this person lives their life, what is most important to them, and as a result, how these values might appear in the right environment (or not if they are completely full of crap).

FAILURE: Things are bound to go wrong in ANY industry, but it’s how we respond that is so incredibly important. This question teaches us a lot about a person’s resilience, commitment to figure it out by trial and error, and also their overall interest in something — if they were willing to give up on something important to them, because it was easier than fighting it out, how should you expect them to handle a situation when things in your business go awry? Whatever it is you ask a candidate in an interview for a job, make sure that by the time you are done conversing with them that you have a really good read on them.

It’s a two way street. It’s important to realize that you aren’t just hiring somebody to fill a need, but you’re also providing them with something as well — a solid work place, a place to grow and thrive, and move their career in the right direction. Most of us as employers think fit we are doing our staff a huge favor by giving them a chance to work with us, and we might be. But, at the same time they are investing in us, and we need to invest in them and realize the responsibility that comes with that. For me that means understanding what their goals are, and what’s important to them in their career, that way you know whether or not those things aligned with what you are able to offer them. At the same time, it’s important to understand where somebody might be in their career, do they want to open their own business and the next two to three years? Are they happy being an employee for the rest of their life?

The way people answer those questions determines a lot of how they will fit into your organization, and perhaps more importantly, how you can nurture that relationship if you choose to bring them on board. Getting clarity here, creates a common understanding and avoids unmet expectations from either side down the line. The most loyal employees aren’t loyal because they have to be, or because they feel threatened, they are loyal, because they want to be. All it takes is a feeling of trust and understanding that you, as the person driving the ship have their best interest in mind.

Keeping employees around and excited to show up to work everyday? Well, I’m writing a book about it now. Just know, that if you want your staff to go into battle with you, you need to be willing to take the first bullet.

HAVE YOU READ MY BOOK YET? HERE is a link, check it out 

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I spent time with the world's best chefs to learn what separated them from the rest. I’m proud to share these stories and spread some good in the world and to have penned a book that needed to be written.

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