Learn why your current hiring skills suck

Warning: This blog contains basketball analogies. If you don’t follow sports, we apologize. Keep reading though, we believe you will learn a thing or two.

The San Antonio Spurs won five championships in 15 years. Even though they were not able to repeat and couldn’t create a legacy like the Chicago Bulls, Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers, they can still teach us a valuable lesson. The team was able to win these titles because they were a group of individuals that complimented each other. But they were also the leftovers of the NBA draft. What is their secret?

Manu Ginobili was a round 2, pick 57. Tony Parker was a round 1, pick 28 and Kawhi Leonard was a round 1, pick 15. Tim Duncan was a round 1, 1st pick, but we know number one picks can’t win titles by themselves.

Even though Tim Duncan was a star player, he didn’t demand the highest salary, preferential treatment or anything like that. Spurs management has always focused on a core group of people that could not only play together, but had a special hidden talent that could be coached along with a willingness to become better and better.

So what can we learn from this? Growing your company by hiring based on talent only, or at least talent on ‘paper’, is risky. If possible, give the prospective hire a test project — this will give you the chance to evaluate their organization and communication skills, as well as the ability to create or produce work. Encourage other team members to communicate with the prospect to ensure he/she can understand different ways to request tasks and communication levels. If your team has been trained like the Spurs, your company’s communication will have a similar voice even if it comes from different team members. It will be the equivalent of a no-look pass, since every team member will know where their teammate will be positioned next.

A superstar hire that looks great on paper is not always the perfect fit for your company — what’s more, they could disrupt your well-oiled machine. Hire based on passion, skills, personality and culture fit,  rather than a resume and a portfolio.

Running a small business can be hard enough with the roller coaster of emotions, projects, hires and fires. Rather than hiring people capable of winning one championship, focus on building a team that can win for a long period of time.

Hire slow and fire fast. Hire personality and puzzle pieces. Hire passion.


This article was written by our founder and President Hugo Azzolini.