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How to Guarantee You Hire the Right Person with Nancy Slessenger

By Arel Moodie

Businessman, entrepreneur(or solopreneur), there may come a point where you can't do it all alone. You will have to hire someone to help you out.

How do you make sure you can get your hires right on the first go? There's a lot riding on a new hire. You just invested a chunk of time reviewing applications. Now you may have to invest more time to train your employee. You certainly hope you don't have to rehire and start the process over again if your employee isn't up to par!

To answer these questions, I sat down with Nancy Slessenger of Vinehouse Essentials Ltd. to talk amazing hiring strategy. We're talking about successful hires 80% of the time compared to an average of 25-30%! With that, I'm super excited (and I hope you are too) to check in with Nancy:

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Screen a few for efficient review.

Choose one: Pick 5 employees from 100 applicants, or pick 5 employees from 7 applicants.

Which one is more efficient? Which one allows you to spend more time for your business rather than on applicant review and training? The choice is obvious.

Captain  Obvious strikes again!

Remember the 80-20 principle? Where you get 80% of your results from 20% of your effort? Nancy takes that principle and applies that to hiring. So what do we do?

You want to make sure you ask the right questions of your applicants. We're going beyond the basic "cover sheet + resume" submission because we want to get our hire right on the first go. We want to ask the right questions of our applicants to determine their values.

I think these tips will help you hit the mark on the first go! If you're on the opposite spectrum and you're interviewing for a job, combine what you know about effective hiring from Nancy with our interview tips in the Art of Likability Interview Manual for a dynamic duo of interview preparedness!

1. Ask how they handled a tough situation in the past to identify their values.

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Values are important because they dictate behavior, and a person with values just like yours will behave similarly as you would. It's almost like cloning yourself! A person without the same values may behave differently than you, which may not be what you want.

Values are especially important when tough situations arise. Your application should query your potential new hires on their values with tough situations. So how do you do it?

It's too easy talk a big game about how you would handle a completely hypothetical situation ("...but of course the customer comes first!"), so take a look into how an applicant handled a previous situation and why they behaved the way they did. Remember, values drive behavior.

2, Are they a good match for the position in question?

When hiring for a warehouse manager, Nancy knew that tidiness was one of the most important characteristics of the job. Instead of posing hypothetical questions (the wrong way, as we've discussed), Nancy instead asked one simple question of applicants that got at their past behavior:

"How do you keep your house tidy?"

The people who ended up getting the job were the ones who were organized, whereas one who were a little less organized about tidiness would be less optimal for the job.

Will they need to work with Excel a lot? Have them complete and sort out a spreadsheet on Excel, instead of listening to them wax poetic about their Excel abilities.

You can already see that we're going beyond the basic "cover letter + resume" submission, and we're screening a few for efficient review.

3. The "optional" question that isn't really optional.

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This is a good one in order to both determine skill and eagerness for the job.

I know a businessman who would always request applicants to write "Applying for awesome job opportunity!" in the subject line. It is surprising how many people won't do a small, optional thing like that!

Nancy chimes in and adds that if you're looking for someone who will follow rules well, you'd certainly only want to review the applications which bothered to include that unique subject line.

If you're looking for someone who thinks a little out of the box, then you may want to only review applications which DIDN'T include that subject line. Little bit of reverse psychology there!

Thank you so much to Nancy for soming onto the show! If you're interested in stepping up your hiring game, you can find Nancy and Vinehouse Essentials Ltd. at They walk you through the entire hiring process, everything from providing templates for effective hiring to personalized help for interviewing from the Vinehouse team!

Remember: I promise you this episode will be entirely useless to you-IF you don't apply what we've discussed.

Now that you've got your interviewing skills in order, now you can make sure you track your clients and receipts perfectly! Get 30 days of the new, super easy to use Freshbooks for free by going to and put "The Art of Likability" in the "how did you hear about us section."