By Howard Partridge

So far in this article series, we have covered…

  • The 8 Steps to Building Your Dream Team
  • How to FIND Dream Team Members
  • How to ATTRACT Dream Team Members

Today, I will share a few tips on hiring the right person. You’ve identified a candidate—good. You’ve attracted them to your vision—great! However, you still don’t know enough about them to make the hire. That’s why you need a hiring process.

If there is one mistake I have made over the years, it’s hiring someone who was truly a great person with tremendous gifts, but not the right fit for our culture.

The application process

Whether hiring someone for the field or a routine office position, it’s important to have an application process, which should include an application, a background check agreement, and a request to copy their driver’s license. As applicants complete this process, take the opportunity to observe their dress code, courtesy, and professionalism.

Many times, a candidate will eliminate themselves well before you waste your time interviewing them. For example, you may find they have a criminal background, or they don’t have a valid driver’s license. Or, in some cases, they can’t even fill out an application!

A woman that started going to our church applied to my company and it took her over an hour to fill out the application. Sometimes, people want to take the application home to fill it out. It’s possible that they can’t write, and they are taking it home for the wife to fill out. If possible, have candidates fill out the application in the presence of one of your team members. If you don’t have an office, ask them to get the application back to you in a short amount of time.

Since I don’t use any of the online ad companies, most of the people that come to us are referrals. When you build a strong network and a great place to work, people will be referred and attracted to you; however, even in the case of a referral, any applicant should be asked to complete the same application process.

When I review applications, I look at how long applicants were at previous jobs. Changing jobs every few months gives me pause. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t hire them, but it is worth asking about. Our company culture keeps great people around for a long time, but the culture of many companies is awful and leads to high turnover.

If you are comfortable with the application, proceed to the next step in your hiring process.

The interview process

First off, be prepared for the interview. If you have an office, clean it up! I’m always intrigued by those who tell their people to be organized when their own office could be featured on the Hoarders reality show. Remember, if you want to attract someone who has the ten qualities we talked about earlier in the series, you need to display those yourself.

I like to start the interview by asking the candidate what their goals are. The answer isn’t really that important because many people in our society don’t have clearly defined goals, but it gets them talking.

Next, confirm the position, the responsibilities, compensation program, and the benefits and requirements of the position to make sure you are both on the same page. Then, you can begin asking more questions.

In an interview, you must strike a balance between “selling” the opportunity and “screening” the candidate to ensure they will be a good fit. The candidate should do most of the talking so you can get to know them. After sharing the position details, use the 80/20 rule: They should do 80% of the talking. Meanwhile, you should be asking questions like:

  • “Why do you want to work here?”
  • “What attracts you to this opportunity?”
  • “Is there anything that would prevent you from doing this job effectively?”
  • “Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult client. How did you handle it?”
  • “Why did you leave your last position?”

Ask open-ended questions and let the candidate talk. The more they talk, the more you find out about them. Consider doing at least one of your interviews at a restaurant or coffee shop to see how they treat the waitstaff. I once heard a speaker at a seminar say that he would meet candidates at a restaurant and intentionally arrive early so he could ask the server to mess up the candidate’s order. He wanted to see how they would respond. I’m not sure it’s necessary to go to that extreme, but you do want to observe behavior during the interview.

More than anything else, I am looking for attitude. A person with the right attitude can learn the technical skills. In fact, we often hire technicians without experience and train them ourselves because lack of experience can be a benefit. Sometimes highly experienced technicians tend to do things their own way, rather than following the 12 Step Cleaning Program I want all my technicians to follow. Your interview questions should be designed to discover a candidate’s attitude: how flexible they are, how reliable, etc.

hiring process graphic

The ideal team player

Leadership expert Patrick Lencioni shares that the ideal team player has three qualities: They are humble, hungry, and smart. Humble means they don’t have a big ego. Hungry means they want to win. Smart means people-smart, or someone who has a high level of self-awareness and awareness of how others feel.

I’m looking for people who share my vision. Once you’ve learned about them, take some time to share your vision for your company. According to author Jim Collins, vision consists of core values and beliefs, purpose, and mission. I moved these around a bit to create what I call MVP (Mission – Where we are going; Values – How we will act; and Purpose – Why we do what we do). You should share this when you are recruiting, during the hiring process, and on a regular basis within your company. The ideal candidate will be one who is just as committed to your vision as you are.

Personality profiles

A personality profile is a tool that can help you determine if a candidate is the right fit for the position. We use the DISC Model of Human Behavior created by Dr. Robert Rohm, whom I consider to be the world authority on the subject. Some people are outgoing, and others are reserved. Some are task-oriented, and some are people-oriented. In other words, some people will go fast, and others will go slow. Some will be more concerned about tasks before people, and others will be more concerned about people than tasks.

This one tool has been the biggest difference-maker in my leadership journey and for the business owners that we coach. Everyone has a different communication style. My definition of leadership is “effectively communicating your vision.” If you don’t speak or understand the language another person speaks and vice versa, you’ll have problems. This is true in business as well as in your
personal life.

All of business and all of life is about relationships, and relationships are built on trust and communication. When there is a breakdown in a relationship, there is a breakdown in communication.

Get a free report on the DISC Model of Human Behavior at howardpartridge.com/disc

You can use that report to get some insights into your personality type and that of your team members, clients, vendors, prospects, and family members. During the hiring process, this tool can help ensure you match a task-oriented person to a task-oriented position and a people-oriented person to a people-oriented position.

Second interview? Team interview? Referral?

Keeping in mind that you’re looking for long-term team members, you may want to consider multiple interviews. You may be thinking that you don’t want to lose the candidate by making them jump through hoops, but the alternative is hiring the wrong person, and that is worse than not hiring someone at all.

Keep in mind that we are not talking about leads from online ads that usually ghost you on the first interview. We are talking about people that you have found through networking and that you have attracted by adding value.

You want to make sure you have the right person. If there is one mistake I have made, it’s hiring too fast and not getting input from my team. Also, even if the candidate is not the right fit, they may be able to help you find someone who is.

The operations manager at my training/coaching company has been with me for fourteen years. Michelle not only handles member billing, operations support, and event management, but also cares for our home while Denise and I are away. She is truly a Godsend.

The store where she worked was closing and I interviewed the manager of the store. Throughout the interview as we reviewed my vision and his goals, we both realized we were not the right fit for each other. Then he said to me, “This position sounds like it would be perfect for my assistant manager, Michelle.” I showed up at the store unannounced and he led me to the stock room where Michelle was working.

She stood amidst stacks of boxes all around her with a price gun in one hand and a phone in the other. The way she was talking to the vendor on the other end of the phone (who was not doing what he was supposed to do), led me to believe that she was the right fit. And she has been exactly that for almost a decade-and-a-half!

Victoria is the marketing manager for my training/coaching company. She had just graduated from college with a degree in marketing and thought she wanted to be in radio. My wife is a legend in that industry and has since retired, but Victoria interviewed with Denise. Denise saw Victoria’s gentle nature and warned her of the back-stabbing corporate environment that permeates the radio industry. She suggested that she interview with my company, Phenomenal Products.

I had been through a few bad hires due to not getting my team involved in the hiring process, so I required Victoria to interview with the rest of the team. We obviously hired her, and she carries the marketing load which is huge in that company. She will be celebrating her tenth anniversary with us very soon and we are proud to have a master marketer like Victoria on our team.

Ready to hire?

There are two final steps in the hiring process:

  1. Complete a background check
  2. Get an actual DISC Assessment for your new-hire to confirm their personality style

It will reveal the strengths and weaknesses of your new hire and help you find the right role for them. Be sure to assess yourself and everyone you work or live with also. It will be the best thing you’ve ever done.


Howard Partridge started his cleaning business from the trunk of his car 35 years ago and built it up to over $3 million per year. For two decades, Partridge has coached cleaning and restoration companies, teaching them to have phenomenal success. He is the exclusive small business coach for Ziglar Inc., the world’s first Ziglar Legacy Trainer, the founding member of the John Maxwell Coaching Team, a DISC Certified Trainer, a ONE THING Certified Trainer. a Certified StoryBrand Guide, and No. 1 bestselling author of eight books including his latest: F.T.I. (Failure To Implement).