How to Hire After the Recession

By Jay Goltz

There are some signs that the economy is starting to turn around. If you have been running lean on people, you might be considering hiring someone soon. Happily, there are some very good people out there looking for jobs — but there are many more less-than-good people. The question is, how do you know which is which? You can get lucky only so often. I can tell you that most of the business problems I’ve had over the years have been because of bad hiring.

First of all, understand that entrepreneurs frequently aren’t great at hiring. They tend to like people and to be optimistic, which is dangerous in the hiring process. Here’s a better approach: Think guilty until proven innocent. People lie and are delusional. And some of the worst are the best at interviewing; they have lots of experience!

The problem is that busy entrepreneurs want to get through the hiring process as quickly as possible. During interviews, they spend too much time talking about the great company they are building. And they either don’t take the time to check references or don’t know how to do it. They hear what they want to hear, and they don’t know how to ask the tough questions. For instance, if he was such a great sales person, why did you lay him off?

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