“I can’t do this “  he screamed and with that statement I witnessed the fastest resignation of anyone in my career. This was 1990 in Tokyo and I had joined a contingency recruitment firm about a month earlier, when across the isle in another cubicle a young American stood up and after only 15 minutes on the job decided to quit.  The company employed about 20 people at the time, each one was given a cubicle, a phone, a computer, 10 minutes training and was expected to make money very quickly or else you were fired.  Within the first few days it was obvious who was making money as they were the ones who had the biggest cubicles and sat by the window.  A few days later I discovered they also lived in the best apartments and drove the best cars.  I decided on a very simple strategy which was to copy exactly what they did. I found one of the most successful and helpful ones and followed his advice to the letter and within a few months was also producing good results. It surprised me that nearly 80% of the rest of the people employed did not copy the same working practices.

After a few more months I started to find ways to improve on what I had been taught and with each bit of fine tuning made the process even better.  

I Never Tried To Re-invent The Wheel.

“The key for us, number one, has always been hiring very smart people."   Bill Gates

"The secret of my success is that we have gone to exceptional lengths to hire the best people in the world."   Steve Jobs

Great quotes and now the next step is to have an exceptional hiring process to hire those very smart people?

The  hiring process is more important than any other process. The people that are responsible for sales, marketing, accounting, development etc all come through it and therefore it has the greatest impact on the company’s success.

The biggest mistake will be to focus on hiring great people without designing the process that allows you to do that.

How can you get the best people without the best hiring process?

This is a simplified model but it gives us a starting point and a focus. There is no need to reinvent the wheel – or the hiring process, we just need to take the best practices and modify them to suit our particular needs.

All great control systems have feedback loops and so will this system.  Once you consider this as an essential essential essential process you can start to work on each part of the system to improve it until you are hiring the best people.

Why focussing on the process is key to success.

Whether it is a large multinational or a one man startup, to produce consistent results it must have a process.  Whether it is the next ‘must-have’ Apple product, BMW or an high-quality service, they are all created by having a process that has been designed and modified over time.

“That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there , you can move mountains.”  Steve Jobs.

Startups can achieve greater success by this simple idea of focussing on having an exceptional hiring process. In the next post we will look at how each stage can be designed, built and integrated to hire exceptional people.

Please: Add to this very important topic by sharing your opinions, evidence, stories and life experiences so that we can collectively learn from each other to build better companies.