Hiring, particularly hiring someone who will work closely with us, is usually a process business owners stink at. We are so influenced by our past employee experiences that we sometimes approach hiring from a jaded mindset we call “being realistic.”

This showed up to me a few weeks ago when my friend and I were going to a housing project in East Austin where we help support the kids with clothes, school supplies and things. My friend brought her 7-year-old son to help. As usual, the kids were outside playing (as usual, with no adult supervision) and were super excited to see us show up with dinner to serve them and some clothes and toys. There was lots of running, screaming, exuberance, and some tussling over cutting in line for food and who got which toy.

On the drive home, my friend took the opportunity to make this a teaching moment for her son. “This is a good reminder to be grateful that we live in a nice, clean home in a nice neighborhood and you have a lot of nice things. We should be thankful because these kids that live here don’t have that.”

Well, her son quickly gave a teaching moment of his own: “I think where these kids live is AWESOME!”   Interested, I asked, “What do you think is awesome about it?” He excitedly said, “They get to run and play outside, with no parents watching, and they are playing with their friends!”

Now of course, a 7-year-old doesn’t necessarily appreciate that these kids probably aren’t getting proper nutrition, school and homework support, and definitely won’t have pre-paid college plans. But those 7-year-old eyes taught us that there are also great things, and things we can learn, from this community. Just like when I volunteer in a third-world country, the poverty is a stark reality, BUT I’m always struck by things we can learn and benefit from – like how people live in community, cooking and cleaning and watching their children together. We may have kitchens with all the latest gadgets here at home, but we are often isolated and lonely as we go about the tasks of our day. There are things to learn and share from both.

It made me realize that when we are hiring, it is hard for a business owner to see the full capacity of a candidate. As the business owners, we are focused on ROI, how fast someone can plug and play, what they can produce or time they can free up for us. And justifiably so, since we have the constant pressure of payroll and production. However, when we view candidates with ONLY those eyes, we can miss things, good and bad. One boss I worked for was hiring a key assistant, and he had a candidate he thought was PERFECT – but every single team member pointed out she would drive him nuts in two days! She was sharp as a tack, which he liked, but she had every habit that he disliked in previous assistants. My point is, it’s easy for us with our “adult” and “boss” eyes to see one aspect of candidates or situations and overlook others. Just like it’s easy for our team to do the same. The power is in bringing both of those perspectives together and getting a very clear picture.

If you need help screening candidates with this combined perspective or getting clear on what you are looking for in the first place, consider our SmartHire Solution™. We bring our experience as key team members and business owners to the process, helping you find what you are really looking for to move your business forward.  Schedule a FREE 60 Minute Smarthire Discovery Call here.  We promise, it will be worth every second of the time!

Laney Lyons