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WNC Business

Philosophies For Successful Hiring

Sep 06, 2022 07:55AM ● By Bill Gilliland

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported that there are 11.2 million available jobs and 6 million unemployed workers. If every unemployed worker in the U.S. went to work right now, we would still have a shortage of over 5 million workers in the U.S. On a smaller scale, 100% of my clients and prospects are seeking talented team members. If everyone is looking for talent during a worker shortage, what should you do?

Business people want to act; however, action is only appropriate after you’ve made a solid plan. When I hear people say that they just can’t seem to find good help or wonder how they are supposed to compete in this market, my first question is, “What are your hiring philosophies?”  Most of the time I hear answers like, “Well, what does that mean?” or, “I don’t really know.” Or they tell me about their hiring process instead of their philosophies.

For more successful hiring, it helps to begin by zeroing in on your philosophies first. Once they are in place, you can then build your hiring system and implement them as a precise plan.

Here are 10 philosophies that I use in my process. Feel free to borrow them, or use them to develop your own.

1) First, get clear on the kind of person that you want. Then get clear on what you want them to do. Have you ever hired someone who had all the skills but a terrible attitude? It’s way more important to get somebody that fits your culture and is open minded and teachable. Make sure your hires share your values and behavior expectations as a priority over skill level.

2) Invest in personal development. You only get the people you deserve. It sounds harsh, but it’s the truth. Southwest Airlines receives an application every two seconds because their company and staff are so great. Jim Rohn famously said that in order to be successful, you need to “Work harder on yourself than you do on your job”. For you to get better people, you have to better yourself first. 

3) Slow way down. Most hiring errors happen when someone quits or gets fired and needs to be replaced right away. At that point, many companies hire a body. They don’t know if the hire is any good for the job, if they’re going to be a good fit, or even if they have the skills! Again - slow down, or you may rue the day that you hired them.

4) Create a robust hiring process, and stick to it! This is part two of the slow down mentality. Hiring processes often have too few steps, and it can be helpful to add more. The higher the skill level, the longer the process needs to be. Remember, it is super expensive to hire the wrong person.

5) Have clear expectations and outcomes for each job. Job descriptions without expected outcomes are worthless; a complete waste of paper. Get clear on what outcomes you want and how the results will be measured before you ever interview anyone.

6) Have multiple interviews across multiple formats with multiple people. Some varieties include interviews as a group, over lunch, in person, or one-on-one. Make sure you have a varied and a diverse group of people participating in the interviews. I include my wife in my interviews because she has saved me hundreds of thousands of dollars by being on my interview team even when she’s not active in that business.

7) Fish with a net, not a single hook. Hiring is marketing. I enjoy fly fishing, and I usually use one fly at a time. It is recreation, so I catch and release the fish. If I were fishing for food, I would fish with a net. That way, I would know which fish to keep and which to throw back. Invest to attract as many prospects as you can, so you can throw back the ones you don’t want and only keep the very best.

8) Invest the time. Hiring is a priority, not a chore. Most people in small and medium businesses are so busy doing the work that they’re not investing the proper time to hire great team members. Most business owners should be spending 25 to 50 percent of their time finding good people. I once heard a real estate owner being asked a question about why he was so successful. His answer was “Success came when I stopped selling real estate and began hiring and developing real estate agents. Hiring is a priority, not a chore.

9) Don’t take the best of the bad bunch. Just because you’ve done good marketing and interviewed a whole bunch of people doesn’t mean that any of them are right for the job. It’s okay no say no to everybody. If this happens, don’t hire a sub-par candidate. Start your process over.

10) Sometimes you attract the perfect candidate. Sometimes by working hard and searching effectively, the right person will come right to your doorstep. I call this “marketing metaphysics.” When a person with the right attitude, the right skills, the right values, and the right fit shows up at your door, run your process first, then go ahead and hire them.

These are my philosophies. What are yours?

Your homework is to figure out your own hiring philosophies before it’s time for your next new employee. Enjoy the learning, and all the best!


Bill Gilliland is a five-time business owner, speaker, and business coach. He can be reached at or (828)-348-1787.