How to Hire New Employees (+ Training Tips)

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The First-Time Manager" by Jim McCormick. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

Like this article? Sign up for a free trial here.

Where do you find prospective candidates for a position on your team? What’s the process of hiring new employees?

To build a strong and effective team, you must hire the right people and train them to succeed in their roles. Bad hiring decisions can cost you time and money while hiring the right person can add immense value to your team.

Let’s look at some tips for identifying, selecting, and training the right candidates.

Identify and Interview Prospective Employees

The first step to learning how to hire new employees is finding them in the first place. To attract the right candidates, write a clear and effective job description. In The First-Time Manager, Jim McCormick suggests that it cover three types of requirements: First, specify the knowledge and technical skills required for the job. Second, explain the behavioral qualities you’re looking for, such as being punctual. Third, lay out interpersonal requirements important for the job, such as accepting feedback positively.

(Shortform note: Some experts advise against listing a specific set of skills and behavioral qualities, arguing that this can limit your applicant pool and exclude people with diverse backgrounds and experiences who could bring great value to your organization. When writing your requirements, ask yourself whether each one is really necessary for the role to avoid narrowing down your options unnecessarily.)

Once you have prospective candidates to interview, McCormicks recommends you prioritize attitude over qualifications. He argues that an employee with a good attitude is more valuable than a better-qualified employee with a bad attitude. When interviewing your candidate, ask questions assessing attitude—for example, “What’s your ideal workday like?” Specifically, you should look for traits like commitment and good judgment as opposed to interest in social activities or holidays.

(Shortform note: In The Infinite Game, Simon Sinek describes how many effective teams adopt the attitude-first approach to recruiting that McCormick suggests. For instance, the US Navy SEALS prioritize candidates who have good attitudes and can work well with the team over those with bad attitudes, even if they’re better performers. This is because team members with good attitudes will enhance the rest of the team’s performance while those who are difficult to work with will undermine the team’s efforts. Therefore, if the candidates you’re choosing between have all met a minimum standard of skill and competence, you should hire based on attitude to build a team capable of collaborating and achieving higher-level results.)

Train New Hires

Once you’ve selected a candidate, the next step is to train them to perform well in their role. McCormick suggests you find a good trainer to effectively train new hires. This should be someone who can clearly explain each responsibility and break down the job into smaller pieces so that the new hire doesn’t get overwhelmed. McCormick cautions against assigning a person who’s leaving or was recently fired from the role to train new employees because they won’t provide quality training. Once you have a trainer in mind, meet with them and discuss a training plan.

Next, spend the first day helping the new hire familiarize themselves with their new work environment. Take this time to clearly communicate your expectations—for instance, that you value attitude and continuous improvement. Provide them with support so that they can meet your standards and don’t expect perfection from them—this will prevent them from feeling overwhelmed.

Tips for Effective Training

According to former Intel CEO Andrew Grove in High Output Management, there are three elements to effective employee training: It must be consistent and regularly scheduled (as opposed to being a one-time workshop), tailored to the company’s practices, and be led by an authority figure. Ideally, Grove recommends you train your subordinates yourself. However, if you lack the time or knowledge to explain the job responsibilities well, it may be helpful to find a trainer and create a plan that satisfies those three factors.

When communicating expectations, other experts recommend you also ask employees what they expect from you so they can succeed in their role. This allows you to give them the support they need and help them avoid getting overwhelmed. One way you can help is by providing examples of good work done by other employees. This gives your new hire a clear idea of what you’re looking for. Having examples of good work to reference could also help you avoid having unrealistic expectations. Clear expectations not only enable people to perform tasks well, but also make them feel more motivated and prepared to do their job.
How to Hire New Employees (+ Training Tips)

———End of Preview———

Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Jim McCormick's "The First-Time Manager" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full The First-Time Manager summary:

  • How to succeed as a manager, whether it's your first time or not
  • Why managers should shift their focus from tasks to people
  • How to gain the trust of your employees and empower them to take initiative

Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *