Supercharging Your Hiring Process

Article by:
Matt Burk EO Portland
Matt Burk
EO Portland

If your company’s hiring process is like most, it goes something like this: Post a job, screen a bunch of resumes, conduct one or two rounds of interviews
and make the offer. Chances are you’ll have spent less than three hours with the new employee who shows up on your doorstep.

But here’s the thing— that person you just hired will spend 2,000 hours working for you in the next year. You’ll invest a lot of money in them. They’ll represent your company, interface with your valuable clients and build relationships with your trusted colleagues. Given the magnitude of time and money invested in your new employees, is three hours enough? Unequivocally, no.

In the past 20 years, I’ve learned the hard way that having the right person in the right job is critical to success. I have made more than my fair share of bad hires because I was in a hurry to fill a seat, so I committed to developing a system to improve my results. Adopting these five extra steps has made a big difference in my quest to build a team of “A Players”:

  • Put your job listing on steroids.
    When it comes to hiring, I go beyond the typical job description, responsibilities, qualifications and benefits. Our job listings include a statement from a company executive to add a more personal touch, as well as an introduction to our company and a listing of our core values. We promote that we are always looking for “A Players.”

  • Ask for a Personal Statement.
    The Personal Statement enables candidates to explain why they are the “A Player” for the job. The “A Players” in the field will see this as an opportunity to shine, while others simply duplicate content from their cover letter or resume. Be on the lookout for poor grammar, misspellings or weak statements. My all-time favorite weak statement was, “Because I need a job.”

  • Utilize a Personal Career History Statement:
    For candidates that make it this far in the hiring process, I have them complete a Personal Career History Statement. In doing so, I discover a candidate’s expected earnings, salary history, details about previous job positions, supervisor names and titles, what they liked most and least about the jobs they held, reasons for leaving, military experience, education, initial references and more. Not only will this information reveal details I might not have discovered in an interview, it will tell me how close or far nap art I am on compensation before I even talk to the candidate.

  • Commit to a rigorous interview process.
    Once I’ve screened candidates over the phone, I schedule at least two hours for the initial interview. The hiring manager will spend 30 minutes with the candidates and additional stakeholders will share the remaining time. The final interview will last between two to five hours, depending on a candidate’s experience. During this time, I conduct a thorough chronological, structured interview. I start with their younger years (i.e., growing up, high school)— going back prior to their work history can disarm them a bit. I look for a track record of success, accomplishments and achievements. Patterns will emerge.

  • Conduct a job-matching or personality profile.
    People have personalities and jobs have personalities. I create an “ideal profile” for each position in advance so I know what I’m looking for. Also, personality testing can help determine if a candidate is a reasonably close match for the requirements of the job. In addition, I can discover if the candidate’s personality is compatible with other employees on my team.

Building a team of “A Players” requires an up-front investment of time. I’ve learned that if your competitive advantage depends on the quality of your employees, the investment is worth the reward.

Matt Burk is president and CEO of Fairway America, LLC. Visit
or e-mail Matt at [email protected].

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