Over the years, I’ve had a chance to work with many wonderfully talented people at On the Baseline and DuoParadigms.
I hired each of them for different reasons, some people for long term assignments, others for just a tournament or client project or two. Many of the experiences I look back on with fond memories, though I do think back on a few with head-shaking and chuckles.
Hiring new team members is not something you should do without a significant amount of thought and prayers. It will impact your company for the better, or for the worse.
When Melanie and I first started talking about expanding DuoParadigms, it was something we approached with cautions. I knew from experience with OTB that it would be quite the challenge finding just the right individual for our team. So instead of moving forward hastily, we prayed. And prayed. And prayed some more for about a year.
Praise God, in His perfect timing, He always answers. Hiring Alison was one of the best decisions we’ve made, and we just look back in awe at how God worked in her life and our lives during the year we prayed, even moving her all the way from Alabama to Texas.
In thinking back on the process of hiring individuals, there have always been certain skills and traits that I’ve consciously or subconsciously looked for in a person. Recently, I was reading about Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church and wholeheartedly agreed with his simple, but straightforward list of “Three C’s” that he looks for during the hiring process.
For me, this is the #1 strength that I look for in a person. During my time with On the Baseline, I became especially vigilant to look for people of character as often I found myself observing unscrupulous behavior, and I wanted OTB to set a Christ-like example to the professional tennis community around us.
The Bible says that a good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and when God owns your business, you have a sacred responsibility to protect His reputation. The individuals you employ are also the ambassadors for your brand or ministry, so make sure that they are in total agreement with your principles.
Much has been made recently about employers requesting access to an employee’s social media accounts, but that is something I’ve never needed to do. Yes, I’ve looked at the Facebook profiles of individuals I’ve considered—one person in fact wasn’t hired because of a Facebook profile—but I’ve never asked for a single password. Nor do I plan to, as before I even come close to hiring someone, I know about their character, and that’s something I don’t need a Facebook profile to determine.
Character is one of the biggest reasons why I chose to start a business with Melanie. Over the years, I had gotten a chance to know her, work with her, play with her, serve in ministries with her, and see for myself her heart and her Christ-like character, even when no one else was looking.
When it came to hiring Alison, I knew I wanted her on our team before I even met her in person. Why? Because I put her reference contacts to good use and found out about her character. I called and talked to people who knew her, instructed her, and had seen her in good moments and in pressure moments. One of the questions I asked was whether she was a person of character—and that’s something that is far more important to me than the next “c”, competency.
Competency and diligence go hand in hand. When hiring, make sure that you hire talented and competent people, but also diligent people. I want people on our team who are still learning, because we’re all still learning, most of all me. But I want us to be competent and diligent on the behalf of our clients. They are trusting us to do our best and I want our team to always commit to giving 100% on each and every job.
One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 22:29 and I recommend it as a creed for every business to keep in mind: “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean (obscure, ordinary) men.”
This one often gets overlooked, but a lack of chemistry can make your life miserable if you don’t deal with it before hiring someone. You can hire someone who has character and is competent, but if they just rub your whole office the wrong way, you will quickly have a human resource nightmare on your hands.
I knew that Melanie and I would have good working chemistry, as we already had a wonderful friendship and had worked together on countless occasions. It’s been said that friends don’t make good business partners, but I have to respectfully disagree and happily prove that point wrong. Our business could not have made it if we weren’t friends. And we’re committed to staying friends regardless of the stress or pressure of work.
With Alison, we didn’t know her from Adam, so it was a different experience. At DP, we’re not a mega-corporation full of impersonal HR employee numbers. We’re a close team that works and ministers together. And boy, does chemistry matter! When we first met with Alison, we candidly chatted about our strengths and weaknesses, and our personality traits. It was so amazing to see how God was already a step ahead of us, as she brings a balance to our individual strengths and weaknesses. Our personalities are each different, which is wonderful, yet the chemistry and compatibility is right there.
As you make your decision to expand your team, ask God for wisdom. He promises to be right there with you, and if you but ask, He will lead and guide you each and every step of the way. Allow Him to build your company or ministry into a dedicated and committed team, focused on serving God and others together.