The Law Of Three In Hiring

Whether you\’re hiring your first employee or your 20th, there are ways for you to improve the process. Over the years, l have learned about hiring and firing many people, and now I practice the Law of Three.


Number one. In hiring, this law says that once you have decided to hire for a position, you should interview at least three candidates for the position before you even think of selecting one of them. Even if the first candidate you interview looks outstanding, discipline yourself to interview three and, if necessary, even more. The more candidates you interview for a job, the better perspective you will have on the available kind of people. The more candidates you consider, the better feeling you will have about the kind of person you actually need.

  • Rule. Never hire a person on the first interview, no matter how good he or she looks.

There seems to be an almost direct relationship between the intelligence of the candidate and his or her ability to perform on the job. I.Q can predict as much as 72 percent of job performance, and one of the ways that candidates demonstrate their intelligence is by asking questions. There seems to be a direct relationship between intelligence and curiosity. The more curious the candidate is about the company in the job and future prospects, the more likely he or she is to have the natural ability necessary to become a valuable asset to your business. So, listen for good questions.

Number Two. The application of the law of three and hiring is that once you find a person you like, interview that person at least three times; some large companies will interview candidates. Seven, 10, and even 20 times before hiring even a receptionist. They\’ve learned that 95 percent of business success will be determined by the people you select to work with you. Apply the motto made famous by Caesar Augustus 2000 years ago. \”Make haste slowly, especially in hiring.\”

Number three. The application of the law of three is that you interview the person you like in three different places. People are like chameleons. They change their behavior and appearance when you move them around from place to place.

If you like a candidate when you interview him or her in your office, interview that person in a coffee shop across the street and then again in a restaurant down the street for lunch. The more you can move a candidate around, the more different aspects of the person. You will see many business owners have had the experience of interviewing a candidate in their office who looks fantastic. But when they interview the candidate a second time across the street in a coffee shop, the person doesn\’t look as good.

By the time they\’ve interviewed him or her, the third time in a nearby restaurant for lunch, they begin asking themselves what they could possibly have been thinking. The person often looks dreadful by the third interview.

Number four. The application of the Law of Three, as I mentioned, is that once you find someone you like, and you have interviewed that candidate three times in three places, have him or her interviewed by three other people. I teach this in my business course on hiring employees.

This is the concept to use: When hiring, a person is encouraged to go around the office and meet with other staff members. If you are hiring a person as a consultant or on a daily contract basis. I highly encourage you to invite him or her to go around and meet other people and then have coffee or go for lunch. At the end of the day, have a meeting with the people your candidate had contact with and allow them to share their opinions of the potential new team member. If anyone in our office does not like him or her or does not feel that he or she would fit into your business, do not hire that person. Your current employees must feel that they can work with this new person daily, during the contract period, or for their career. The wrong fit can cost you time and money to replace this person.

When I started my business, I wanted to be the decision-maker, especially in hiring people. I soon learned that my perspective was limited. People would say almost anything to make a good impression at the first meeting. I was busy and impulsive going on instinct, and I went off and hired candidates right away the first time I met them. When I began to stretch out the hiring process, I began to make much better decisions, as described above. The turnover rate is usually more than 200 percent per year in a startup. If the business starts with five people, 10 people will rotate through that business, being hired and fired over the 12 months. This is sometimes referred to as the revolving door phase of a new business. This is also normal and natural when a business is starting up. But over time, with intelligent hiring practices, you can slow down this rate of turnover dramatically, lower your turnover, and increase your profits. In my company today, which is still a small business, my employees have been working for me for an average of more than 6 years, and this has not happened by accident.

Number five. The application of the law of three is for you to interview at least three references given to you by the candidate. You should never, never hire a person without checking his or her background.

First, talk with people whom they have worked for. Talk with people whose names they offer on their resumes. Talk with anyone you can find who has had any experience with this person. You can call up and say something like, hello, I\’m Deon Huff with Personalized Services International, and I\’m interviewing this person for this job. Is there anything you can tell me to help me make a better hiring decision? Sometimes they will give you an answer. Sometimes they will only confirm that this person worked for their company during a specific time period. Due to hiring laws and the fears of lawsuits, most employers will not comment negatively on a former employee. In this case, there\’s a powerful question you can ask that any previous employer can answer without fear of litigation.

It is simply this. Based on your experience with this person, would you hire him or her back again today? The answer to this question either positive or negative? We\’ll tell you a lot.

If the reference says that he or she would not hire the candidate back. That should be a red flag in your interviewing process. You should confront the candidate, tell them exactly what happened, and ask why his or her previous employer would not rehire him or her. Listen closely to the answer. If you have any doubt or suspicion at all, refuse to hire the person.

A wise businessman I once worked for told me. It\’s always easier to get into something in business than it is to get out of it. The time to think carefully about hiring a person is before hiring, not afterward. The difficulties and complexities of firing can be enormous and expensive.