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Hiring staff and finding new partners can be one of the greatest enhancements — or the greatest detriments — to your business. In this article, I’d like to share a few insights and some things I’ve learned over the years from both the advisors who successfully made good hires and the many who did not.

  1. Evaluate the behaviors and not the person. All too often I see people hire or partner up with someone because they are impressed with the person’s charisma or a strong resume. The problem with this is you don’t really get to see how the person behaves in different settings, whether you will really click with them, or if they uphold the same values. I recommend documenting the behaviors that you value and won’t compromise on. For example, you may value promptness (never having to wait or make a client wait), preparedness (never attending a meeting or event unprepared and wasting someone’s time), or appreciation (do they say thank you?). To evaluate whether a potential partner values the same qualities as you, observe them in various settings. It’s important to take your time before deciding to hire or partner with someone and focus on their behaviors during the process.
  2. Take your time. If you’ve had success this far in your career, what is a few more weeks or months without a new partner? Time allows both you and the other person to truly appreciate and assess whether the opportunity and environment is the right fit and more than just a paycheck. Increasing the number of people you have them meet is a great way to extend the time and further evaluate how they respond.
  3. Diversify the settings. Try and meet with candidates or future partners in various settings. Grab a meal together, invite them to a client event and have them meet with members of your expert team. This will not only give you more time with the person, but it will provide various ways to get more feedback on whether this would be a good partnership.

Hiring and partnering for efficiency and growth is essential for any successful business, but it can also be the most complicated to pull off. It’s easy to get caught up and rush things when we find a person who seems like a great fit. But it just might serve you better to focus on their behaviors and evaluate how they interact with others so you can get deeper insight into what you can expect from the relationship.

These rules also hold true when working with companies. Overlook individual personalities and instead focus on how people behave and it can tell you a lot about the company’s values. It may be the difference in long-term success or short-term frustrations.

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