Hire Right

“It is easy to hire, hard to fire.” – Matt Doherty

First of all, when taking over a new organization, you needto give your employees a clean slate. They may just need a fresh start. You would hate to overlook some gems. Wouldn’t you want to be treated that way? If I listened to other people, Jimmy Dillon and Karen Wesolek wouldn’t have been given the chance to make such a great impact for me at Notre Dame.

You must bring the right people into your organization. They must fit your core values and culture. This takes a lot of time and effort. Do your research, gathering key intel. Have your staff interview them so they are included in this critical process. This shows your staff respect. They need to feel good that this candidate can add value to the team. Trust and respect their input.

Define roles in the hiring process and hold people account- able for the execution of their roles. Set expectations in terms of bonuses, perks, and promotions. Let them know if you think there is a chance that you could bring in someone in the future who may be higher on the organizational chart than them.

When I was interviewing assistants at Notre Dame, I had Doug Wojcik meet with the candidates. After meeting with one coach, he came into my office and said, “I don’t like him. He is cocky. I don’t think he’s a good fit.” Done. That candidate was crossed off the list.

“Circle of trust.” Hire people you know. If you look to hire someone you don’t know well, someone you know well must know them well. As mentioned earlier, everyone I hired at Notre Dame, I personally knew or someone I knew VERY well knew that person well. The mistakes I made in hiring staff occurred when I went beyond my “circle of trust.”

Augment. Make sure your staff augments your skill set and complements each other. This gives your staff great range to cover a multitude of areas—planning, budgeting, technical skills, sales, accounting, and communicative skills.

Bringing in people from outside the institution can be good because they help change the status quo. Just because it has been done a certain way for a long time doesn’t mean it’s the right way. When I was at SMU, I wanted to change our style of play to the “Princeton Offense” because I felt it fit our personnel and we could recruit to that system. I hired Larry Mangino, who learned that system at the Air Force Academy under Joe Scott. Larry never worked for me, but I knew him a long time. He joined our staff, and I gave him free rein to install the system, with good success.

NUGGET: “The only sign of future behavior is past behavior.” —Dr. Chris Carr

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