Five Keys for Hiring Greatness

ML Sadler
6 min readSep 24, 2020
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo via Unsplash

For a business leader or an entrepreneur hiring even her first few team members, there is nothing that will accelerate that business like a great hire, and nothing that will derail that business like a bad hire. A large corporation can afford bad hires here and there, but a smaller business cannot. Over my career, I have hired, led, managed and fired hundreds of people, and that has led me to these Five Keys for Hiring Greatness, listed in order of importance. For each key, I’ve also included a question for you to ask prospective employees during their interview.

Key #1: Cultural Fit

Your oganization’s culture is how you and anyone you hire live out your business. It is what you value. People who share your cultural values become ambassadors for you and your business. People who don’t share your culture are hazards to you, your organization and your customers. This is the most important aspect of hiring well, and critical the smaller your organization.

If you are in a company that has written values, start there and then take a few minutes to add other attributes not there. For example, some organizations value and promote aggressive people — but that’s not a value they’d write down next to honesty. However, for you to hire well, you need to be clear on what really is and is not valued in your organization.

If you are leading a company, whether ten thousand people or just you, but you don’t have your cultural norms written, it’s time to do an unofficial inventory. Take thirty minutes now and write down the qualities that you believe you personally have and that you want anyone in the organization to have, and then identify the five you feel are most important. These are your cultural values.

When you are interviewing someone for any position, you want a potential hire’s values to incorporate all of your cultural values. If, as mentioned above, aggressiveness is a value but you hire someone who is laid-back, you will be doing them and yourself a disservice. Hire someone who is a match for your organization.

Your culture is what you personally value.

Interview Question: Can you tell me what values you think are most important in a business you work with, and how do you live them

ML Sadler

New York City-based Writer, Novelist, Builder and Business Leader