E601: Hiring the Right Team Members

Don’t rush when it’s time to hire new team members.


Q: Can you give me some tips on finding the right new employees?

A: Take your time and remember that how they fit in the organization is more important than skills.


  1. We often find ourselves in a position where we need to hire a new team member
    1. We need more help to handle growth
    2. We need to replace someone that is leaving
    3. Either way, it’s never easy finding the right people
  2. Start with some preparation – the more we know about what we need the better
    1. What do you really need – can you promote within and fill entry level positions
    2. What type of person fits best in your organization
      1. Personality traits / values / appearance / demeanor
    3. What type of skills are needed for the position
      1. What are the must have skills – the basics (we can train the details)
      2. What are the nice to have skills
    4. Develop a clear understanding before posting your position
  3. Finding the right person
    1. How the person fits within the organization is the most important aspect
      1. Can they mesh with your teams / management
    2. Let your team help with sourcing and the interview process – get feedback
      1. Often your team will know quicker than you
    3. Take your time finding the best available person to fit your needs
      1. Hire slow – fire fast

E509: Hire Versus Train

You need more project managers, so do you train within or hire from outside.


  1. We all face this from time to time
    1. We are growing and need help
    2. Need some additional skillsets
    3. Do we train an existing employee or hire someone from outside the company?
  2. There are pros and cons to both to consider
    1. Many will depend on your situation but here are some that apply to all
    2. Train an existing employee
      1. Pros:
        1. Promotes company loyalty
        2. Improves company morale
        3. No learning curve on company
      2. Cons:
        1. Learning period – could take months to get the skillsets or longer
        2. Mistakes during the learning period
        3. Creates a void for that person’s position
    3. Hire from outside
      1. Pros:
        1. Immediate access to skillsets
        2. Can train other employees
      2. Cons:
        1. Can hurt company morale and other employees
        2. You don’t know the new hire until they actually start working
  3. Things to consider
    1. Create your own list of Pros and Cons to include the above and other specific things
    2. Ask yourself “can you outsource some or all the help you need?”
      1. Can you hire a part-time consultant to help your employee on the new project/skillset
    3. Can you do it from within
      1. I recommend that hiring outside for key roles should be a last resort

E376: Ask Coach – Finding Good People

When hiring new employees, look at how they fit in your organization more than their skills.


Q: We are getting ready to hire some key employees. Can you give us some advice on how to find and hire good people?

A: Search everywhere then hire for fit first, skills second.


  1. What is a good employee?
    1. Someone that knows everything they need to know? Will they accept your ways?
    2. Someone that will do whatever you ask? Are they going to wait for instruction for every move?
    3. Someone that argues with others?
    4. A good employee is someone that fits in with your organization and will do things congruently with your mission/vision.
  2. Finding potential hires
    1. Start with your employees – they have networks and will know who might fit well
    2. Your network – ask around, tell people in your network that you are looking for some new people
    3. Advertise – post it everywhere you can – there are thousands of people looking for new opportunities – make sure you give people the opportunity to know you are hiring.
  3. Wich one fits best
    1. Remember to hire slow and fire fast
      1. Spend some time preparing for and reviewing potential hires
    2. Ask questions that give you insight to their values and your core values – do they match?
      1. Example: You received a final invoice and sign off from a subcontractor (who has been a rela pain in the a**) and realize they missed a $5K change order. Do you let them know or process as is and hope they don’t catch it? Why?
      2. A client gave us a change order several months ago and we have completed the work and submitted the invoice already. While going through some paperwork, you realize you transposed some numbers and the change order was actually $8K more than it should be. What do you do? Why?
    3. Let other employees spend some time with you potential hires and get their feedback
    4. Consider micro-tasks for short-listed candidates
      1. Take the top 3 and hire each one to prepare a Project Execution plan for an upcoming project. Pay them by the hour for their work. Let them work closely with one of your current PMs for asking questions and getting information. The resulting work effort can help point you in the right direction.