Building Your ‘A’ Team – Part Seven

In this final part of the Building Your ‘A’ Team series, I cover the final piece in this smart and efficient hiring/recruiting system.


Let me tell you a bit about the Evaluation Sheet. As I said at the very beginning, ideally you want to be able to assess these candidates on as level a playing field as you can, and as objectively as you can.  So what you need is a way to score them. Think Olympic Diving: the judges have a set of criteria against which they allocate points. You can do the same.

Imagine you have a form, a small chart and the things you are going to assess are listed on it. Next to each is a rating of 1,2,3 4 and 5.  5 is outstanding and 1 is unsatisfactory.

You list the things you want to assess. Here is a list- in no level of order – and of course, depending on the requirements of the particular position:

Experience (quantity)
Experience (quality)
Stability  (if they’ve had 6 jobs in a year – you need to find out why)
Innovation (if that’s important)
Analytic Ability
Decision making
Beginner’s Minds

And you can exclude any that aren’t relevant and include others that are important to you.

At the end of each interview you quickly circle your rating for each of your line items.  At the end you can add them up. Clearly the highest pointed candidate will go to the top.

A note on interviews.

Don’t forget technology.

Recently an Adelaide-based client of mine wanted to use the Flash interview process with five applicants for a position he had advertised.  Three of the applicants were interstate – so before he went to the expense of flying them in, he used Skype and a webcam to meet them, tell them about the business and the position and then ask his three questions.  He used his presentation script and did the same with the two local applicants – even though they were local – so he was working with a level playing field.  And in his case, he didn’t even have to leave his desk to do the interviews.

The process very quickly filtered the top two, one of whom he flew in for the longer interview. And that candidate got the job.

And finally, when you have made your decision you can make the offer.

Now in most small businesses, this is generally done with a phone call and that is absolutely fine and proper.

However, I do recommend that you follow it up with a formal letter of offer.  So do the two – phone call and let them know a formal offer is on the way.

Offer letters can be simple and short (usually for low-level jobs) or long and complex (usually for high-level management jobs).  You can find hundreds of examples of offer letters on the internet simply by searching “offer letter.”  Each sample reflects somebody’s favorite approach, which tells you that there’s no such thing as a “standard” offer letter. 

We recommend offer letters which contain the minimum elements necessary for a job offer, and which make reference to detailed company documents about general policies and procedures governing employees.  Important items, such as the Job Agreement and the employment contract (if you require one), can be attachments to the offer letter.  The main elements of the offer letter are:

–Date of the offer
–Name and address of the candidate being offered the job
–Company name and address (company letterhead takes care of this)
–Offering statement:  For instance, Dear [candidate name], The XYZ Company is pleased to offer you employment in the position of [job name].
–Employment start date
–Expiration date – the date at which the offer terminates
–Base compensation (salary, hourly wage, other arrangements)
–Other compensation (describe or refer to company documents which set forth the compensation policies)
–Vacation and time off policy; emergency time off policy
–Employee benefits (List the benefits, but don’t describe them.  Refer the candidate to the appropriate documents.)
–Prerequisites (“perks”) for which the candidate will be eligible (company car, expense account, club membership, etc.
–Contingencies.  If the offer is contingent on anything, such as drug testing, background checks, skills testing, medical examination, etc., that must be in the offer letter.

Refer to important job requirements and include any necessary ones as attachments to the offer letter, such as:

–Job Agreement
–Employment contract
–Non-disclosure agreement
–Non-compete agreement
–Company policies
–At-will employment acknowledgment
–Handbooks and references for employee benefits.
–Acceptance.  The letter should be signed and dated by the appropriate person representing your company.  At the end of the offer letter, there should be a place for the candidate to accept the job by signing and dating the letter, and returning it to the company.  

An offer letter, when signed by an authorized company representative, is legally binding on the company, and when signed by the candidate is legally binding on him/her.  It’s a good idea to have your legal advisor draw up your offer letter format to make sure you don’t run afoul of the thicket of employment regulations that exists everywhere.


Please, please, please do a reference check.

Even if the applicant is your best friend’s cousin’s son, talk to a previous employer.

The number of times I have had clients bring to the table a problem employee.  When I ask if they did a reference check, the answer is almost always a sheepish, no, in hindsight I should have done.

Other checks

Some businesses require police checks.

Skills tests – some like to do some tests, such as skills, or psychological profiles.

If handwriting comes into the job, such as taking messages and writing down phone numbers, ask them to do a handwriting or message taking test.  It’s not much help when you receive a phone message written with a thumbnail dipped in tar and you can’t read the name, the message or the number.

So that’s it! In short – or should I say in long – you have all the elements you need to bring on board the very best people you can find…the ones who want to be there and want to be part of the business you are building.

Remember – hiring people isn’t a people problem, it’s a systems issue and you can now build your system.

Until next time…





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