Use the “Hiring Trifecta” to Build a Winning Team

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Many companies looking to scale their businesses will need more employees to take on the extra workload. However, hiring managers can struggle to find the perfect fit for their company. Whether it’s the qualifications and level of experience or how an interviewee would fit into the company culture, there are various reasons why candidates are turned away for the job.  

When I started working at Ricoma as the COO, there were around ten to fifteen employees. During my five years before becoming the CEO, I developed our staff to almost 100 employees and scaled our marketing initiatives to bring in new customers.

During that time, I considered the essential factors of long-term hires and developed a system for weeding out the best potential candidates for our company. This breakdown is what I call the “Hiring Trifecta,” which includes the three traits that hiring teams should look for when hiring for a growing business.

The “Hiring Trifecta” framework was the guiding principle for conducting interviews and discerning the qualities of possible hires during the selection process of scaling our staff. Identifying these qualities can help business owners keep great employees and boost overall company success. 

Qualifying the Qualifications

One of the first mistakes I noticed was hiring teams looking for the “unicorn” candidate that checks every box. Because the “perfect hire” doesn’t exist, businesses spend more money on recruiting firms to track down one-and-done candidates without recognizing and utilizing the resources within the company that helps a new hire to learn and grow. That will only prolong the hiring cycle without getting the placement you need.

Instead, I look for coachable and trainable candidates rather than expecting them to know everything coming in. It is more difficult to expect specialization or experience in a niche industry.

Understanding the goal of finding the best applicant over the elusive “perfect” one effectively widens your pool of potential candidates. These candidates can grow into the role once hired and learn the company’s internal systems and procedures over time.

Ensuring the hiring team’s expectations and standards for potential hires are realistic can make the difference in finding the best talent. Many people can be very good at what they do and are great candidates, but they might not be the right fit for various reasons. 

Finding the right candidate is very specific to every company, and you can refine the process through hiring cycles. I’ve interviewed hundreds of people over the years to figure out what works, what doesn’t, and of course, I’ve made some bad hires along the way. You have to learn from that and tweak the process the next time around.

Pro Tip! Most candidates are also essentially interviewing your company to decide whether it is a good fit for them, too. Remember, The candidate’s first impression of the company is affected by the office environment and the interviewer. So make a good impression during interviews. 

Motivation to Make it Work

When searching for potential employees, I encourage my team and other hiring managers to look for people who genuinely want to be there and grow with the business. Ask what they are hoping to achieve with the position.

Do they generally have an interest in the industry or your business? As a business owner, it’s essential to recognize the different motivations of each candidate so that you can effectively encourage them to do their best. 

Motivation is also an essential factor to consider when hiring because it isn’t something that managers can train into an employee. Hard skills can be taught or learned over time for the actual position. Offering good hands-on training to gather the nuance of the job is easy to coordinate, but you cannot teach intrinsic motivation on the surface level. 

A way to gauge the candidate’s motivation during the interview process is to evaluate their past roles. Did they accept a leadership role or take the lead on any projects? Reviewing their previous performance can help highlight their best qualities and offer a proven track record that will help you determine how they might provide value to the company.

Considering Candidate’s Capabilities

One of the most apparent elements of the hiring process is making sure a candidate’s skills align with the required role. How competent are they with the job responsibilities required to keep a smooth production flow?

Asking questions in the interview process directly related to the job requirements or conducting a test to observe actionable qualities can indicate abilities. Personality-based or soft skill questions may not help determine the candidate’s capabilities.

Looking for candidates with a skill set similar to the job’s required skills can initiate a flow of qualified employees joining your business who can quickly adapt to their roles. If an applicant is already familiar with the fundamentals of the position, it can make learning the details and intricacies much easier.  

When you’ve found the right fit, it’s essential to keep investing in a training program that new hires can go through to become experts, which will create stronger employees. Ongoing development ensures that employees update their skills to keep up with the industry and push your company to be a front-runner.

Loyalty Equals Longevity

The last part of the equation is recognizing and building an applicant’s loyalty. If an applicant’s résumé shows they have stayed with an organization for many years, it can indicate their expected longevity with your company. Loyalty is critical because it ultimately determines your turnover rate in the long run as you continue to scale your business. 

Minimizing the turnover rate can save your company overhead costs. It costs time and money to keep hiring and training new employees. It may be challenging to gauge a candidate’s loyalty in a half-hour interview. Still, loyalty can be highlighted by how long they have stayed in past roles or if they have participated in any professional organizations or associated industry programs.

Using the Hiring Trifecta

What I’ve come to realize with the “Hiring Trifecta” is that if a candidate has all three attributes– competency, motivation, and loyalty– you tend to find the rockstar that’s able to check all the boxes. If you usually have two out of the three, there could be critical experience missing in certain areas. 

For example, having a competent and motivated but not loyal employee could increase turnover. If they are good at what they do and are motivated, they might have a higher level of performance, but only for a short time. On the other hand, some people can be motivated and loyal but do not have a suitable skill set. 

Finally, the candidate could have competence and loyalty but isn’t motivated. This can lead to the new hire doing the bare minimum to get by, impacting the organization’s progression.

When you have all three, that’s when you find the perfect balance of what you need to look for in a candidate

Henry Ma is the CEO of Ricoma.


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By Henry Ma