16: Five Secrets for Recruiting the Right People to Your Team

How are you at selecting leaders? ?Hiring great people? ?What is your batting average? ?Mine is probably a little over 500.

Leadership selection is one of the greatest jobs of a leader. Some of us have the ability to hire and fire. But others can’t pick your team. Or your followers. There are many times in leadership when we inherit a team and have to play the cards we are dealt. When you do have the chance, what are some essential practices that will help you get the right people on your bus?

Hands together

I hope you will listen to this podcast. You CAN choose who you try to recruit and who you pour your energy in to

Some of my greatest joys came from choosing the right people for our team and watching them thrive and help us at every level.

Some of my greatest pain and regrets came from putting the wrong people into leadership. Firing people I hired!

I was just reading about Jesus and his recruiting of his disciples–He also got one of his 12 wrong. But He still had a much better batting average than I have had.

My father always said, “Vie get too soon old and too late schmart!” As we get older and wiser, we realize how important it is to do all your homework and not just follow your gut.

After making painful mistakes, I?ve learned a great deal about how not to hire people. My friend Tom the consultant always tells me, ?The best time to fire people is before you hire them.?

One problem is that references are rarely truthful. The other problem is that you cannot know 100 percent of what people are like until they work with you. As a result, these days I spend a lot more time interviewing and checking references than I used to. It?s important that we ask former employers not only about the professional-skill side of the equation but also the people side. We ask about how they measure up on their balance bar. And in hiring, I have come to see good attitudes as much more important than a person?s professional competence.

Someone gave me this great piece of advice once: ?Hire for attitude; train for skill.? It is something I?ve certainly put into practice in my office. You can train for skills, but not attitude.

When Jethro the consultant gave Moses advice on appointing elders, he came up with a pretty good list: ?But select capable men from all the people?men who fear God, trust-?worthy men who hate dishonest gain?and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens? (Ex. 18:21).

I look for four things when I interview people to join our team, and it is in these four areas that I also drill their references. Then I add the 5th P as not only icing on the cake, but the key to success in the process.

  1. Personal Character: Does this person possess a good reputation and track record in his or her character? Is he or she known as a person of integrity? Do people speak well of him or her? Is this person personally mature as a mate and family person if married with children? The candidate should display an obvious passion to follow Jesus and a proven track record of spiritual leadership. The person must have a sterling reputation. Not as a workaholic, but as well balanced with a life outside of ministry.
  2. Professional Competence: Does this person have the skills to get the job done? Is there an experience base of the professional competence necessary to do the job?
  3. People Chemistry: Hire for attitude. Train for skill. Is this person comfortable to be around? Is relating to him or her awkward or easy? This person must be a proven team player and get along well with people. This person will need to get along well on a personal level with the leadership team and his or her direct reports. Personal chemistry can only be determined through an extensive interview process and lots of ?face time.? I like to take a person to a coffee shop, or take him or her out to lunch, and just hang out with that person to get a feel for who he or she is.
  4. Perception of Culture: Is this person a good match for our corporate values? Does he or she ?get us? as an organization? Is the person passionate about what we are? Has this person?s experience in the past given him or her an opportunity to work in an environment similar to ours? A person you hire should display genuine enthusiasm and support of your vision, mission, and values.
  5. Prayer: ?If you are in ministry or church work and a faith based person, you need to pray for the right people. ?Even if you are not in ministry, you ought to and I know many of you do. ? Jesus prayed all night before he chose his 12. If you are serving in ministry- pray first! Luke 6:12,13.


Question: Are there times God allows you to hire a bad apple? Absolutely! He has lessons you need to learn! He has character you need to develop. We had a HUGE illustration of this in my last position. We were ALL convinced he was the right man for this C level job. They most painful thing in leadership is to fire people you hired and had so much hope for. Jesus must have felt this way about Judas.

Quote of the Show: “Hire for attitude. Train for skill.”