How to Hire That PhD: Find The Right Employees!

At some point in every entrepreneur’s journey, it becomes necessary to hire someone. If you keep growing your business, eventually it’s guaranteed to get too big for you to keep a handle on everything.

Combing through resumes and conducting interviews can be daunting. Not only that, but finding good employees is tough.

So how do you identify candidates with the PhD that will make them an asset to your business and help you keep growing?

The interview is the best place to get a good feel for people and how they’ll work in your business. But the process really starts with your job description.

There are two components to a job description that will attract the right people:

Focus on objectives, not skills.
Think about your current business goals. Which of those goals are you hiring someone to help you accomplish? Use those objectives for your job description.

Pre-interview task.
You probably have all sorts of business problems you need solved. Your employees need the skills to help you solve them. In your job description, include a small problem for candidates to solve as part of the application process and ask them to send their solution to you before the interview so you can talk about their results.

Structuring your job description this way will organically weed out people who won’t be able to hack it as part of your team. It also removes the need for a lot of questions on the application since performing the task should demonstrate at least some of the necessary skills. So this actually shortens the application process itself.

It also removes the need to have an experience requirement for the job. This gives you access to a lot of great candidates who might not have a ton of experience, but who are passionate enough about the job to spend their personal time developing their skills and progressing beyond their bare years of experience.

Applications without a completed pre-interview task can be immediately tossed.

When you sift through the applications, check the pre-interview task first. Also toss the applications without an acceptable solution.

This will leave you with a shortlist.

Now that you’ve got a job description that will get you interview-worthy candidates, let’s talk about that interview.

The first thing to understand about interviews is that having motivation to get the job does equal having motivation to do the job. Fortunately, the pre-interview task automatically deselects candidates without the drive to do the job.

Your verbal interview will clean up the stragglers.

First, talk to them about the pre-interview task. This will tell you about their process and what motivates them to do the job. You can also ask them what they liked most about the task to help pinpoint the things they enjoy doing most. This can help you decide which tasks will be best for the employee if you decide to hire them.

Next, ask them what they know about your company or industry. People are actually more driven by the impact of their work than they are by the work itself. Look for candidates who care about the end result just as much as the process.

Last, ask candidates about self-development. The purpose here is to find out how interested in mastering their work they are. Do they read books about their profession? Can they recommend podcasts for learning? Do they have their own side gig business in the industry themselves? It should be a red flag if the only time that a person puts into building their skills is when they’re on the clock.

This interview process may be a bit non-traditional.

However, it’s a more holistic approach that helps you identify people with the skills that you need, while also giving you insight into their work ethic and genuine interest in doing the job.

And there is one more thing to ask — that quickly allows you to learn how a candidate perceives the workplace and their co-workers. We will share that in a future post!

Leave a comment and let me know how you plan to use a pre-interview task and interview questions to hire people with great PhD!