This year appears to possibly be headed for a hiring boom. A recent article in Forbes reports that some business sectors, particularly transportation, utilities, hospitality, and leisure, could hire as many as 24-26% additional staff to their workforce. Even if you are not in one of these sectors, the smart move looking forward is to be prepared for there to be tight competition across the board for hiring good talent.

As a business owner, there are a few principles you must follow in hiring. Don’t make the mistake of being so blindly focused on your business that you fail to focus on the quality of potential new employees. You only want the best. Focusing on hiring IS focusing on your business.

World-famous billionaire Richard Branson says he owes all his success to successful hiring. He says that by being successful at hiring the right people, he has been able to build incredible teams.

So how do you hire “the right people?” Here are the important things to remember.

First, as a business owner, your employees are the face of your business. They are, in fact, you. That is reasoning enough for you, busy as you probably are, to make hiring the right people your top priority. I can’t stress this enough – to your customers and clients, your employees are you, so never underestimate the importance of the hiring process.

First, ask yourself this question: Why do you hire employees? The answer is simple: to make money. Now, that does not mean that you should view your employees as inhuman or merely a means to a profitable end, but look at it this way: if you don’t make money, they don’t have a job. It’s that plain and simple.

One of my abiding principles is to hire slow, fire fast. What do I mean by that? That means that it is best to take your time choosing your employees. Whatever rush you may feel to take shortcuts in hiring will usually result in mistakes. A bad employee is a triple loss because you lose immediate sales, you lose lifetime sales to those clients, and you lose their referrals.

That’ll make you stop and think.

I employ only what I call “A Employees.” They are people of the highest character, integrity, and honesty. Believe me when I say those characteristics cannot be trained. Look for them in your potential hires and place those qualities above everything else. If you have to pay them extra, it is not an expense. It actually makes you money.

A second principle in building your team is to always promote from within when possible. Your known “A Employees” are your best asset. They take all the guesswork out of the hiring equation. They have demonstrated their loyalty to your team. Promote from within if at all possible. Doing this also boosts morale and builds loyalty among your other team members.

Having addressed character, the next quality to look for is competence. Competence can be assessed. Always check references.   

What qualities do you find in “A Employees?” Here are some of the main ingredients:

  • Excellent character
  • Integrity and honesty
  • Completely trustworthy
  • Devoted to helping people
  • People-friendly
  • Ability to think on their feet
  • Decisive

The qualities aren’t present in an applicant because they put them on a resume. Someone who has these qualities has exhibited them throughout their career. Look. Dig. Ask. Check references and make sure you ask more about these qualities than just competencies. People who exhibit such qualities have a purpose in their lives and this reflects in their work. As Richard Branson says, “Purpose is no longer a buzzword, it is a must-have.”

Here’s to hoping that you DO need to make extra hires in 2018. Don’t do it in a rush. Remember: hire slow, fire fast. Take your time choosing your employees and follow these principles. The stakes are too high not to.