INSIGHT OF THE WEEK
“We’ve identified core values for the company and we linked behaviors to the values so that we can ensure that when we hire somebody, they have the same values.”
-Bradley Brodkin, HighVail Tech.
How to Always Hire Ideal Candidates
Bradley Brodkin is the Founder, President and CEO of HighVail Systems Inc., a company that builds highly resilient and available infrastructures to run some of the most complex applications in a variety of industries. Listen as he and Kim Ades, President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching™, discuss how to screen and hire ideal candidates every time.
In this episode of Resilience Radio, we explore:
- How to hire ideal candidates and screen them for long-term dedication.
- How to define your company values and ensure employees align with them.
- What to do when employees abuse their freedom.
- How to come back stronger than before after losing a job.
- Why vengeance isn’t actually a terrible thing.
- Why you shouldn’t mediate when two key players are at odds.
Take a Listen!
Hiring Ideal Candidates
Kim: What would you say is a challenge for you as you’re continuing to grow or as you’ve grown to a place you’re content with? You’ve been at this for a while and you’re not a startup − what do you find yourself struggling with?
Bradley: It’s similar to what I saw my superiors struggle with when I worked for other companies. We started the company 15 years ago. May 1st was actually our 15th anniversary. And for 17 years prior to that, I worked for other businesses in the same industry, but did similar things to what we do today at HighVail.
I saw the same struggles there as we’re seeing today which relates to growth as we bring on new people and integrate cultures and behaviors in today’s world of the millennial approach where a job is not for life anymore − a job is for a couple years and then you move on. We’re trying to break that mold and bring people on who are looking for something that has more depth and longevity to it.
Kim: How do you address that issue if they’re coming in saying, “I’m good to be here for a year, two years, maximum three?” How do you change their thinking from that type of approach to having them look at your company as much more of a long-term endeavor?
Bradley: First of all, while many companies may take the personal aspect out, we actually add it back in. It’s very important for us to not only know our people but actually know about their lives and know what makes them tick as much as possible. We have a number of things that we do around behavioral traits that we put them through during the interview process.
Kim: Like assessments?
Bradley: It’s not really direct assessments. It’s more about behaviors and attitudes. We’ve identified core values for the company and we linked behaviors to the values so that we can ensure that when we hire somebody, they have the same values, or at least can live those same values.
One of them is about, not longevity, but dedication and really feeling that the company is your own. You’re not just working for somebody, you’re part of a much bigger family.
Screening Ideal Candidates for Dedication
Kim: How do you screen for dedication? Are there specific questions you ask? Are you looking for something historically, like in their past? If you’re hiring a millennial who doesn’t have, perhaps, years and years and years of experience to draw upon, how do you screen for that?
Bradley: Through a series of questions. When we went through the values process, the firm that I used to help me define those values was as father and his son. They went through a little bit of a change themselves, and as a result, the son (Gil) became available and was looking for something that had more stability to it instead of continuing to be a consultant. It worked out well because his dad was going through a small change in his practice.
When we did that, I realized that Gil kind of got it. He understood it. And I realized that, as the company grew, I needed to bring on somebody who has more experience with human resources. Gil has an MBA in organizational behavior and has worked in this area. We started off with him being on a contract to the company and then he came on full-time.
And really, what that did for us is it allowed us to not just talk about the values, but to actually map those to behavioral questions that we can use as part of our interview process.
Kim: This is very important. I want to just pause here because for those of you who are listening, a huge thing that I encounter with many of my clients is how to hire ideal candidates. There’s a book I recommend that everybody read called Who: The A Method for Hiring by Geoff Smart and Randy Street. It’s an amazing book. Perhaps you’ve been exposed to it, but this whole idea of identifying your values and then asking, not just one, but a series of questions that help you draw out whether or not these people match those values is very, very important.
If we look at dedication as a core value, can you give us one example of a question you might ask to find out whether or not they have that value?
Bradley: We’ll ask them a very open-ended question, depending on how much experience they have because as you said, sometimes they’re millennials who have not had a lot of work experience and have only worked on a little project or contract, so to speak. So we’ll ask them questions about collaboration, as an example, and supporting their peers, supporting their fellow employees and how they might go about that. We’ll pinpoint something that will be relevant to their job, and then we’ll focus in on that and ask them questions around that.
It’s really straightforward. It really is just asking leading questions. That’s really what it is, and trying to lead them down a path to see what their responses are, and with those responses, that might lead to one question or another depending on which way they answer.