With continued growth and competition in the managed services market, MSPs that want to stay competitive can’t afford to make big hiring mistakes. The wrong employee can quickly drain business resources and affect morale. Every business occasionally has a hire that doesn’t work out for one reason or another, but it’s worth putting extra effort in the hiring process to avoid having this happen repeatedly.
There are basic steps every business takes to find the right talent, like having a great recruiter, maximizing use of LinkedIn and other online tools, setting up referral bonuses, maintaining a great work environment, and so on. But there are two additional guidelines that I have found to be essential for bringing the right people on board. These include...
1. Only hire value/culture fitsWhen you are interviewing talented prospective employees, it might be hard to turn down a competent, industry-proven individual just because he or she is not a good fit with your company values and company. But do it anyway. You aren’t hiring a resume; you’re hiring a person. Someone who doesn’t appear to fit in during an interview won’t fit in with your customers, co-workers, or business principles.
I expanded on the importance of having strong corporate values and how it affects hiring, in a recent interview with Inc. Magazine writer Jessica Stillman, which was published in the article: “Business Essential You Might Be Missing.”
In the businesses I’ve built and managed, I’ve found this: When an organization has strong values and each employee is matched with those values, the team becomes a collective force with an impact that is three, four, or five times the value of each individual themselves. Hiring those who exemplify your company’s values and culture is the most powerful weapon for finding and retaining top talent that will perform to the top of their ability. It’s so important to me that I personally interview each new hire.
2. Look beyond your industryThere’s definitely something to be said for industry knowledge. Prospective sales hires who already understand the MSP business model, for example, will have a shorter learning curve in their ability to communicate the value of managed services to customers. But don’t be afraid to hire someone from a different industry who shows aptitude and an ability to learn quickly.
Occasionally you’ll find a very smart individual and great cultural fit who doesn’t have specific domain knowledge or experience. This could be a political science graduate who just “gets” marketing, or a musical theater performer who shows promise in a sales appointment-setting role. While such candidates may require a bit more training or ramp-up time, they are often the employees that bring the freshest perspective and most unique approach to the job. And ultimately, you should be hiring talent over experience if you want to build a sustainable and leading company, because talent will over trump experience over time.
Beyond performing due diligence to screen for value/culture fits and general aptitude, what should be done if a hire doesn’t work out? The answer is simple, albeit not easy for some – you must manage that person out of the business.
Retaining an employee who turns out to be the wrong fit is a disservice both to the business and to that employee, and ending the relationship swiftly is the best way to remain true to them both.
Justin Moore is CEO of Axcient, which works closely with MSPs and VARs. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of MSPmentor’s annual platinum sponsorship. Read all of Axcient's guest blogs here.