To be the best, you need to be surrounded by the best. These 11 entrepreneurs and members of The Oracles crush their goals and grow their businesses because they routinely hire rock-star talent.
Here are their best tips to follow.
1. Always over-communicate.
My “A players” care about different things and have different ambitions. I try to over-communicate with them and create a world where they feel comfortable communicating to me. One top employee did not have kids when starting with VaynerMedia. Now he has two and that changes what matters to him. He may decide this year to coach their baseball team. The door is always open to discuss these things. Once everyone is speaking the same language, you don’t have to repeat yourself. That’s continuity. It’s like football: if you can have the same five offensive linemen for six consecutive years, you’re going to be successful. One of the things that matters most at the top is not having to talk about details, but knowing exactly what you need to do and doing it.
2. Hire the friends of top talent.
Business is like dating. If you’re single, the best matches are already taken—scientists have found this over and over. Dating sites like Tinder or Match.com are full of avoidant people who don’t really like to be in relationships. It’s the same with business. Many in the hiring pool are unemployed for a reason: Because they're not good or have personality issues that cause workplace problems. After I’ve hired one or two good people, I ask them: "Hey, do any of your friends want to work for us?" Birds of a feather flock together. We give $1,000 if one of our employees refers a friend who lasts more than 90 days.
3. Understand why they are the top talent.
The advertising guru, David Ogilvy, said you should hire people smarter than you. Be aware of a paradox: Top talent want to know they’re top talent but they also want your leadership. So hire someone smarter than you and then challenge them with all you’ve got—it’s the only way to keep them interested, invested and challenged.
—Roberto Orci, Hollywood super producer and screenwriter whose movies and TV shows have grossed more than $5 billion worldwide
4. Get candidates on video.
Surround yourself with top-notch, phenomenal, superstar crazy cats like yourself. You must be obsessed and committed. Along the way, you’re going to have to go through a bunch of broken people to get to great people. To get great people, I use video—I do not look at resumes. This saves time. Tell them, “We love your resume, now send me a 60-second video.” If they make the video cut, put them on the spot in the interview to verify what they claim to be great at. For example, I’ll ask a salesperson to sell me a glass of water in 60 seconds. If you can’t do that, how can you sell for me? I created the TV show, "Whatever It Takes," to find great people. We interviewed more than 150 people and hired 15, who have made me more than $10 million.
—Grant Cardone, top sales expert who has built a $500-million real estate empire, NYT-bestselling author of Be Obsessed or Be Average, and founder of 10X Growth Con 2017; follow Grant on Facebook or YouTube
5. Tap your network and run targeted ads.
I rarely use headhunters and HR companies: I prefer to tap my existing and extended network first. Then I run online ads for specific positions to target suitable candidates for the hiring criteria. A rock-star employee or manager removes a lot of responsibility from the founder’s shoulders—they effectively become an extension of the founder. One talented hire who understands the company’s vision and goals can easily increase growth by 15 percent. With six rock-stars, you can do the math on how that will impact your company's bottom line.
6. Remember: Values, desire and character trump talent.
Your business needs values and to stand for something. Hire people with the same values, desire and character. I’ve hired people with the most amazing resume but just didn’t fit —it’s bad for them and terrible for us. We standardized 30 questions that ascertain how a candidate aligns with our core values and culture. Examples include:
- Creativity: “You’re shipwrecked for one year, but have enough food and water to survive. There’s no phone coverage. Which two additional things (people or items) would you bring?”
- Character: “How would you handle a colleague who’s bringing the team down?”
- Hobbies: “What can you tell me that your resume can’t?”
- Desire to be successful: “How much would you pay us to train you as a sales expert?”
7. Do your due diligence on the intangibles.
I must be able to develop trust with top talent. I push them to the limits to see if they will fight back. I never want to have a “yes, sir” type in a top position of the company. Always do a background search and have multiple meetings with them. The interview should be in a non-work environment. See how they behave outside of work. Social media has the ability to reveal lots of things. After all, why would I want to hire someone who conducts themselves poorly outside of work? I believe that people must have the proper foundation and personal skills—all other “work” related skills, I can teach.
—Jay Georgi, founder of Nadvia and operations / management / profits-retention coach
8. Build a hot brand.
Top employees know which startups are hot. They do their homework to find out what customers say about you. So, our priority is to be known as a promising, fast-growing startup. And we recruit from our networks. Our most loyal users are often the best people for explaining the value of a product in a sales or marketing role. Great R&D team members have been discovered just by tapping into our network of current employees. Having top-notch talent makes running a startup much easier for the CEO since everyone can execute their mission without the need to micromanage.
9. Hire slow, fire fast.
Almost without fail, if I ignore the “Hire slow, fire fast” rule, the new hire doesn't work out. And several times it's led to a complete disaster. When the hiring process goes slowly, you both get the opportunity to feel what it would be like to work together, negotiate and resolve differences, and so on. I also suggest, like Georgi said, getting to know your prospective hire in a social setting (with their significant other, if applicable). You want to understand who they are at a deeper level beyond their work persona.
10. Contract the most talented instead of hiring them in-house.
We outsource to the most talented. We actively sought out the best AdWords team and the best Facebook team, dramatically decreasing our cost per acquisition and increasing return on investment for ad spend. Then, we strategically sought out the best funnel builders and top talent for other areas of our business, versus trying to hire someone in-house or handle it ourselves.
—Gary Nealon, president of Nealon Solutions and The Rox Group
11. Treat top hires like partners in the business.
Our recruitment process is clearly defined. We hire based on the profile requirements of the position and we encourage team members to bring their partners to our training events. We pay people well and treat them as partners in the business—our team members are our best clients. That’s what OneLife stands for: Lifestyle, health and wellbeing.
Want to share your insights like those above in a future column? If you’re an experienced entrepreneur, please get in touch here.
Want to suggest a future topic for these entrepreneurs to answer? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and it’s very possible we’ll make your suggestion the focus of a future article! Thanks to reader Harley Rushton for this topic suggestion!
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Originally published on Entrepreneur.com. ©2017 by Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.