#1: It’s All About the People – Mark Cray

On the inaugural episode of the 1 to 10 podcast, we sat down with Mark Cray, CEO of Applied Global Technologies about why a healthy focus on the people in your organization is so crucial.

Episode Overview

As an executive for a small to mid sized business, you wear a lot of hats.

You may be the sales director, the marketing director, the HR professional, and the IT guy all at the same time. There’s nobody to do all of those things, so guess who ends up doing it? That’s right, you.

One thing that you’ve absolutely got to make sure that you’re doing though is investing the time and energy into hiring the right people when the time comes.

But how do you go about that? How do you ensure that you’re hiring the right people? Should you hire someone entry level? Or do you go for the smartest hire?

The Importance of People

“Our people are the absolute number one investment you can make as a company.”

Obviously, there’s the hard costs of hiring someone. The HR costs, the taxes, and a host of other costs that come along with bringing somebody on board with your organization.

But there’s also the intangibles as well. Mentoring, training, and coaching all have an unspoken cost. Make the wrong hire, and you end up eating a lot of costs that at the end of the day are incredibly hard to quantify, but that cost your organization a great deal.

When you’re a small to medium business you don’t’ necessarily make a lot of hires during the year. Maybe you’re only brining a few people on board. So it’s more important for you than just about anybody that the ones you do make to turn out really well.

If you hire people bigger than yourself, those people will hire people bigger than themselves, and so on and so forth, until you become a company of giants.

Hire People Smarter than Yourself

“Whenever you’re hiring somebody, you want them to be much smarter than you are in whatever area you’re hiring them for.”

If you’re hiring a coder, hire someone who is far better at coding than you are. If you’re hiring a writer, hire someone who is a far better writer than you are.

Surround yourself with people who are better than you are at the thing that you’re hiring them for.

Maybe your leadership is skeptical of bringing in people who are bonafide experts, or better than they are at something. They’re afraid of being overshadowed.

Once you hire someone, train them, mentor them, and give them room to grow, when they become managers themselves and start hiring their own staff, they’re going to carry your philosophy forward, not undermine it.

Finding the Right People

Once you understand the importance of hiring the right people, the question still remains: how do you go about ensuring that you get the right people in the right roles?

There is certainly a space for the traditional sites like Monster, or Indeed, or even LinkedIn. Those avenues, while sometimes seeming outdated, certainly do still yield quality candidates for a multitude of roles.

Word of mouth is an increasingly reliable and lucrative source of new talent for most organizations. Not enough good can be said about someone who makes a quality recommendation about a former employee. It’s a highly desirable way to get quality talent.

The people that you hire are going to ultimately make or break your company. If you’re a small to mid-sized business, it’s all the more crucial that you make sure that the people that you hire align with your management style, are there for the right reasons, and are the smartest people in the room.

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This post is based on an interview with Mark Cray from Applied Global Technologies.

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