Hiring? Make sure you do this one thing

For years I hired from my gut. If we had good synergy, you had a more than decent shot at getting the job. 

That rarely worked out.

Then I dove into a formalized hiring process with multiple defined steps. It was difficult to manage but incredibly valuable in building my hiring capacity. 

Now, many years later, I’ve determined there is one thing, above all, that must be done. Even if you do barely anything else. 

Reference checks.

Here is what I do:

While I might start with the references provided by the candidate, I call very few. I am instead interested in talking to people they don’t give me. I dig for direct managers, difficult colleagues, heads of departments, and companies that may not have been direct reports. It takes a lot of time and I’ve learned it’s time well invested.

If hiring is overwhelming to you and the thought of following a multiple-step process is impractical in your schedule, then focus your efforts on references of the top 3 candidates on your list and you’ll dramatically improve your chances of securing a great hire.