Firstly – What is the Single Biggest Thing to get Right as a Manager?

In the words of billionaire, business mogul, Sir Richard Branson, “When it comes to business success it’s all about people, people, people.” (Click 2 Tweet)



Any business owner will tell you that employees are crucial to any company. Whether your business is a large multinational, a small start-up or anywhere in-between. The people you hire are vital to your success.

“Employees are a company's greatest asset - they're your competitive advantage - that’s why you want to attract and retain the best!”

- Anne M. Mulcahy

For SME’s hiring the right staff is the difference between sustainable success and failure. Larger businesses may be able to cope with staffing hiccups. But these difficulties have a greater impact on SMEs with fewer resources.

So the single biggest thing to get right as a manager is hiring good employees. And the biggest mistake that you can make as a manager is to hire the wrong staff. Whether this is:

The single biggest thing to get right as a manager is hiring good employees Jpeg
  • Employees with mismatched skills
  • Unmotivated employees that suck your energy dry or
  • Bad hires that destroy value

This article covers a way that you can look at your hiring decision and what you can do to make sure avoid the single biggest manager mistake.

Steve Jobs considered hiring good employees, your most important job. In pursuit of his team of A-players he personally interviewed over 5,000 applicants during his career. So if one of the world’s greatest leaders ranks hiring good employees so highly surely it’s important? 

But Hiring is Difficult

Did you know that one in ten new hires are bad hires? Why – because the recruitment process is problematic and loaded with pitfalls… 

Evaluating job candidates is difficult. Interviewees are on their best behavior. It’s difficult to determine how well someone will do a job from the interview process,

Comparing job candidates is difficult. Ability isn’t easy to quantify and compare. Candidates can blur into each other.

The Curse of the False Positive

More Can Go Wrong Than Can Go Right When Hiring:

If we take a look at the hiring decision matrix, there are four possible recruiting decisions: 

The curse of the false positive means hiring a bad job candidate jpeg
  • HIRE4: Saying “NO” to a good job candidate – the false negative! This is a hiring mistake, but it doesn’t cost you very much and it’s not a common problem,
  • HIRE3: Saying “NO” to a bad job candidate – this is a good hiring decision – you’ve eliminated someone who is not right for the job which makes it a valid rejection,
  • HIRE2: Saying “YES” to a good job candidate which is the best hiring decision you can make – you’ve recruited the best person for the job and that makes them a great hire,
  • HIRE1: Saying “YES” to a bad job candidate – the false positive. Hiring the wrong employee is expensive and sucks up management resources. Unfortunately this is the most common mistake. 

Looking at the outcomes saying “no” is relatively risk free but saying “yes” has a massive downside if you get it wrong. This is why avoiding a bad hire means avoiding a false positive at all costs. Having an unfilled position is far better than having the wrong person in the job!

Even Steve Jobs made Mistakes

Take the example of Steve Jobs hiring John Sculley to run Apple. Steve Jobs was young at the time and felt that he needed someone more experienced to run Apple. With John Sculley he got someone that didn't understand Apple. Within two years, Sculley had organized a board campaign to fire Jobs. 

A decade later Jobs said, "What can I say? I hired the wrong guy. He destroyed everything I spent 10 years working for, starting with me." 

a false positive hiring decision is incredible expensive whereas a false negative only costs you little time tip for blog

What Can You Do to Hire the Best Employees?

Hiring good employees requires manager skill, practice and formal discipline. But this is a challenge because:

  • Hiring the right employee for the job is a difficult process,
  • Managers are relatively inexperienced at hiring because it’s a manager skill that they don’t get to practice often enough and,
  • Most managers aren’t formally trained in recruitment processes. 

The Solution? Hiring the best employees requires manager skills development and a proven recruitment process. 

Manager Skills Development

Yes - hiring is complicated. But it’s also something you can get better at. 

“Hiring the right people is a skill, and you get better at it with practice.”

Richard Branson

My study of management skills has led me to the conclusion that there are two parts to manager skills:

1. Knowing what to do and,

2. Knowing how to do it well. 

And then of course to actually be an effective manager you need to put these into practice. That's why I've made the program. It shows you how to get better employee performance in just an hour a week, including how to hire the best employees for the job.

How will a Recruitment Process Make Your Hiring go Smoother and get you Better Hires?

Hiring involves a number of action steps. Having a good recruitment process in place adds structure to the process: 

  • It shows you what to do and when,

  • It ensures that you don’t skip any vital steps in the recruitment process. 

When you stick to a process you’ll be less likely to hire the wrong person. 

But it’ more than that. A good recruitment process is the key to hiring  A-players. And when you hire the best people for the job you increase:

  • Employee productivity;

  • Employee engagement and;

  • Employee retention.

How do you Run a Proven Recruitment Process?

I’m a big fan of using checklists to manage processes. Download a Hiring Checklist here.


Hiring the wrong person for the job means you’re going to be wasting your management energy trying to get a round peg into a square hole. Stephen Covey’s 7th Habit of Highly Effective People is Sharpen the Saw. If you want to hire good employees and avoid bad hires then the solution is to use a proven hiring process and develop manager skills.


Is there anything you do to avoid bad hires - what are your best tips to get the best employees? Help the rest of us out by sharing in the comments below.

The Interviewing & Hiring Series

This is part of the Interviewing and Hiring Series. This series covers how managers can increase employee performance through hiring better employees. And how managers can avoid common hiring mistakes.

Topics in the Series Include:

Other Relevant Resources:

Power Interview Pack: The complete set of interview questions to get the best candidate for the job. Increase employee performance through hiring the best staff and avoiding bad hires. Link here. 

Hiring for Performance: How to hire the best employees and improve employee performance, engagement and retention. Link here.  

Employee Onboarding for Performance: If employee onboarding goes wrong, your new hire may leave you in the lurch or become a demotivated low performer. But motivate and integrate your new hire well and you will have a happy, productive team member. Link here.

Boss Camp

Boss Camp will show you the secrets to employee selection, motivation and retention in just an hour a week, by showing you what they never taught you in school. The program includes topics such as:

  • How to hire for performance,
  • How to motivate employees,
  • What are bad employee motivators,
  • What you must do as a manager but isn't on your job description,
  • How leaders get power.