Entrepreneur’s Diary #100 – “Recruitment“

How to find the right kinds of people – and why recruitment is an anti-phrase!

In my last “entrepreneur’s diary” article, I recommended that you should think negatively and list all the measures with which you could best destroy your own enterprise. Of course, what I meant was not criminal activities or mercantile stupidity, but “entrepreneurial” activities.

For service providers such as InterFace, I found the following answers:

  • You want to employ the wrong kinds of people.
  • You want to introduce as many rules and processes as possible.
  • You want to see to it that the enterprise is mainly concerned about itself.

The last two items are clear. Being concerned mainly with itself will prevent you from concentrating on the business, the employees and the customers. All these many rules and processes will demotivate people and lead to being even more concerned with yourself. This is truly a danger, because every system, almost by definition, tends to be concerned with itself to a huge extend.

In this article, I want to describe how you can find the right kinds of people for your enterprise. There are a few basic rules.

  • “Hire character, train the skill!“

This is a very simple sentence, yet it is the one central statement. The important thing is that the candidate fits the enterprise and has potential. You will easily get all else in order.
  • Never employ anyone through head-hunters!

Head-hunters will almost always deliver someone who actually will not be compatible with you. You are looking for exactly those people who want to live self-responsible and who come to you because they think your enterprise is a great thing, aren’t you? Experienced entrepreneurs will also tell you that the people they got “through head-hunters” usually only stay with you for a short time. After two years, they are mostly working elsewhere. And head-hunters will cost a lot of money. You will always end up in the low 5-digit EURO range. Just imagine, for instance, how many master theses written by first-class students you could have supported for the 15,000 € a head-hunter’s support with finding a new employee would cost you.
  • Do not write job discriptions!
    They will only attract head-hunters and many unwelcome would-be employees. The more differentiated you write your job description, the worse, because then the applicants will match their curricula vitae better with what you described as wanted. Also, they will be better prepared to meet the requirements you stated. This will increase the danger that the applicant will prepare (too) well for the interview and you will fall victim to his strategy. Many non-qualified persons got their jobs in this way, later not living up to the necessary standards.
  • No advertising!

Even in former times, the job adverts in the big newspaper were more a matter of image than of looking for applicants. Consequently, you should never advertise anywhere. Neither in the old media, nor on the internet. The good workers will certainly not come via “Stepstone”. The only exception is the enterprise homepage. This is where you can advertise that you are looking to employ. But be concise and limit yourself to a few catch phrases. Like the short posters pinned to the gates in olden times.
  • Follow recommendations!

    The best future employees are those you already know or those recommended to you by people you really trust. Experience says the same: just do some research on how people first came to work for a “good enterprise”. You will certainly find out that it was not through head-hunters or adverts. Instead, they will have come recommended, be it by other colleagues, customers, or partners. Or else they came directly, because they saw the enterprise and liked what they saw.
  • Even if you have the smallest doubt: say “NO”!
    Follow your intuition! If your guts say “no”, then you should also say “no”. The sector is a small one, there is lots of competence around. If your enterprise is a good one, the “right” persons will come, anyway. Otherwise, it is about time that you see to it that yours becomes a “good” enterprise. You can only manage to do that if you hire exclusively the rights persons.


Only let persons become part of the enterprise you enjoy being accompanied by when visiting a customer and if you can then proudly tell said customers: may I introduce to you Mrs. or Mr. “Smith/Miller/Jones/…” and I am truly glad to have him/her with us. And only hire persons you like and enjoy meeting!

(Translated by EG)


For more articles from my entrepreneurial diary, click here: Drehscheibe!

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