How to Hire Productive Employees Who Will Stick Around


As we all know, people are the most unpredictable part of business. How exactly do we limit this unpredictability, especially with regard to hiring and employee retention? The answer lies in an approach that combines proactivity on the front end and humility on the back end.  Let’s take a look at how to hire productive employees and some of the factors that identify who will stick around.

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How to Hire Productive Employees

Understand the Role

You should have a thorough understanding of the role for which you will be hiring. Sure, that seems obvious, but you need to know exactly what is required for the position. If you’re unsure about certain aspects of the job, you could easily bring on the wrong type of employee.

When evaluating the exact criteria for the position, come up with a list of must-have and nice-to-have qualifications. Try to reflect these requirements in your job posting – you don’t want to scare people away, but you want to weed out some of the under qualified individuals.  With regard to the actual posting, I would start with the standard job boards, and, if you’re struggling to find qualified candidates, try scouring LinkedIn for people who are in similar roles at other companies.



Once you start receiving resumes, compare the candidates to the two groups of qualifications that you have. When you’re sorting through the resumes, separate them into two categories: potential employees and under qualified applicants, based on these two lists. Spend minimal time eliminating weaker candidates; the bulk of your time should be spent evaluating the subtle differences between the strong candidates.

Now that you’ve narrowed down the list, you can begin the next stage in proactive vetting of candidates.

Phone Interviews Are Essential to Hiring

When you’re reaching out to candidates and looking to hire productive employees, note their initial availability for a phone interview. If someone is willing to drop everything (within reason – they should have some commitment to their current job) to get on the phone with you, that’s a good sign. You want someone who is motivated to come work for you, not just someone who is scanning the market to see what’s available – many times, people will apply to hundreds of jobs at once and will not distinguish between the positions.

Once you get the candidate on the phone, waste no time in getting to the point. If you’re thorough enough and cover the essentials, you can have a great idea about their potential before even bringing the person in for an interview. Do yourself a favor and cover the essentials: salary requirements, availability, and willingness to relocate (if required). You need to eliminate anyone who is asking for too much or not willing to give enough.

If you’re set on bringing in candidates (a thorough enough evaluation could eliminate this need, especially if you send over an assessment after the phone call), make sure you create some tasks that would simulate the job for which they are applying. The in-person interview should be more of a hands-on evaluation and not a rehashing of what you already covered on the phone call.

When you’re interviewing several candidates, have the same questions prepared for each – this makes any comparisons easy and fair. Also, have multiple people interview each person, as the perspectives of others may highlight something that you missed during your time with the candidate.

Be Humble in Hiring

As you progress through the in-person interview, try to ascertain the real reason for why the candidate is looking for new employment at your business. If they can express a legitimate reason for being interested in your company, and the specific position, then it could be a great fit. If, however, they give a couple of general reasons and generic points about your company, then you need to be humble and realize: they aren’t overly interested in your business and will treat it as a stopover in their career.

Humility is also necessary with regard to money: if they want a lot more money than you’re willing to offer, they aren’t going to stick around for a while. You should never overpay for an extremely/overqualified candidate. It’s especially difficult to realize that someone is too good for your company, or a specific role, but it’s not because you’re beneath them! Sometimes, people are just flippant and looking for an interim role while they figure out their long-term plans.

Remember, you want to hire productive employees, people who will buy into your company and contribute to your long-term goals. The most qualified candidates may not be the best choice, as silly as that may sound. Try and be realistic in your selections – look for someone who is going to work hard for an extended period!

New Hire Photo via Shutterstock

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Bob Adams


Bob Adams Bob Adams is a businessman and serial entrepreneur who runs BusinessTown, a video-driven website that helps people start, manage and boost their own businesses. He uses his extensive business expertise and experience to help other entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

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