7 Secrets to Hiring Right


As spa managers and owners, one of our most important tasks is assembling the right team of people, which means the hiring process is critical to our success. Marshall Goldsmith, author of What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, states that “Knowing what to do is not the major challenge faced by executives – finding who to do it is.”1 Finding the right employees is the biggest problem faced by businesses, according to The Economist.2 Not only does hiring people who are right for the job increase the productivity of a company, but it enhances the work experience for all employees by producing a team that works well together.

4 S’s of Hiring

In his book Who, co-authored by Randy Street, Geoff Smart describes the four S’s of a high-quality hiring method: Scorecard, Source, Select and Sell.1

Scorecard. In writing a scorecard, you are not writing a job description but rather defining criteria for the job when it is well done. The scorecard describes the job’s mission, desirable outcomes (i.e. increasing sales 8% per year) and competencies needed for that job. The competencies needed should fit with the values of the company.

Source. This refers to the generating of a large pool from which to hire. According to Smart, executives should be constantly recruiting instead of waiting until a position becomes open. As he states, “[Successful leaders] are always sourcing, always on the lookout for new talent, always identifying the who before a new hire is really needed.”

Select. This refers to his ideas for the types of interview questions and processes that lead to finding the right person for the job.

Sell. This refers to making sure, once you find the right person, they want to work for you and your company. Nothing is more frustrating than feeling that a candidate is right for your business and discovering they weren’t impressed enough to come work for you.

Taking Smart’s hiring strategies into account, below are the 7 secrets to hiring right and saving yourself and your company money and energy.

1. Know Your Values

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Before beginning the search for a new hire, it’s important to understand your company’s values and ideals. For example, the search for a good sales person is going to focus on different people depending upon if your company expects everyone to work 60-hour weeks, or if your business is more relaxed, laid back and values the free time of its employees. Does your business value independent workers or a more team-oriented approach? Understanding your business’ values will greatly increase the chances of hiring the right person. You don’t need just a good sales person, you need a good salesperson who works well with your philosophies. These defined values should be reflected in the ad you place and the interviews you conduct.

2. Reflect Your Wants

Place your ad or job posting to reflect the candidate you seek and the position offered. If your work environment is hectic and high-paced, your ad should state that you are looking for a person who enjoys this type of atmosphere.

3. Ask the Right Questions

The questions you ask during an interview should seek to discover a potential employee’s values. It is easy to hire a person with the right credentials or training, but uncovering how they tick is harder. Some of the following questions can help define the work environment that is right for a potential hire.

  • What type of boss do you work the best under?
  • What aspect of your last job did you enjoy the most?
  • What about your last job frustrated you the most?
  • What is your biggest life accomplishment?

4. Dig Deeper

It’s also important to dig deep into an applicant’s answers. During job interviews, no one easily says something negative about themselves, but we all have negative traits. If your applicant says their biggest weakness is “trying to be too perfect in my job,” call them on this. Tell them that is not a weakness and keep repeating the question until they give you an honest, negative trait about themselves. They may finally admit that they get flustered if things are too busy around them and, bingo, you know this isn’t the hire for you.

The tricky thing is that it may take repeating the question four or five times to get them to state this. If they tell you they left their last job because they had a “difference of opinion” with the boss, make sure you delve into this and get the full story. Full stories with all the details can tell you a lot about a hire’s character. Fluffy interviews over lunch don’t usually yield much information about character.

5. Get a Second Opinion

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Depending upon the size of your company and the importance of the position for which you are hiring, you should never hire a candidate before they have gone through three to four interviews, as well as at least one working interview. I believe that different staff should interview the potential hire, different questions should be asked each time and that all staff should keep notes on their impressions of the candidate. Each staff who is going to talk with the candidate should have a list of questions that are theirs to ask. Having five staff each ask a potential hire the same questions is a waste of time. Repeated interviews and the perspective of multiple people increase the chances that you will discover the candidate’s true personality. It’s pretty easy for a potential hire to fool a few people once. It gets harder as the number of people and the amount of time with them increases.

6. Test Their Skills

Working interviews are always valuable. Ideally, they can be arranged so that the candidate is interacting directly with the people whom he or she will be working with. I’ve had candidates who look and sound good in the original interviews, but they interact with my customers in unprofessional ways. This is good to know before the hire.

If possible, I like to test the candidate’s skills during this work interview. I will ask a potential esthetician to give me a facial. She may not know the protocol we follow and will be clumsy trying to find supplies in the room, but I will get a chance to experience her touch, which is a very important aspect of her skills. I may ask a potential office manager to role play with me on how she would handle an angry employee. Exercises such as these again allow me to learn more about a candidate than their resume tells me.

7. Fact Check Resumes

Busy executives frequently don’t investigate a candidate’s resume completely. Former 3M CEO George Buckley says, “What is a resume? It is a
record of a person’s career with all of the accomplishments embellished and all the failures removed.”1 Due diligence takes time and effort but has to be done to ensure that you are hiring the same person as is on the resume. Insist upon seeing copies of certifications and licenses before making the job offer. Take the time and energy to call every reference the candidate lists.

Hire Right, Save Energy

All of this takes time and energy. However, even with the time and energy required to hire correctly, it takes more time and energy to hire the wrong person and have to repeat the process. Firing and re-hiring after a wrong hire costs companies time and money and can increase the existing employees’ stress and dissatisfaction. Some studies suggest that the average hiring mistake costs 15 times an employee’s base salary in hard costs and productivity loss. That hurts! Once you have the right who, it’s so much easier to do the what in a superior way.


  1. https://books.google.com/books?id=24_NW09lIqQC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Geoff+Smart&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiky5nX46DZAhULjq0KHelkC8sQ6AEIJjAA#v=onepage&q=Geoff%20Smart&f=false
  2. www.economist.com/node/8000879
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Lisa S. Jenks, M.D., began her medical career as an emergency room physician. In 2007, she opened Genesis MedSpa, a medical spa in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Recently, Jenks started Genesis Consulting to help spa owners and other physicians open successful medical spas. Reach her at [email protected] or 719-579-6890.

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