Tips for Hiring Superstar EmployeesThink about your star employees. What would it be like if your entire workforce was as good as they are?

Peak performance expert Chris McIntyre has a six-step process for recruiting, selecting, and retaining “A-level” employees. He shares the key points of this process in an excerpt from his book, The Roadmap to Freedom.

How to Hire Superstar Employees

Identify Knowledge, Skills, and PEAs You Want

Knowledge and skills are fairly easy to define, since you probably have a good idea of the type of person you need to fill the open position. When it comes to hiring, McIntyre says, “Every successful small business should have its basic business metrics and key measures.”

But critical soft skills—PEAs (People skills, worth ethics, and attitudes)—are equally important and should be included in a well-crafted job description.

Ask for a “Strategic” Cover Letter

Most candidates’ cover letters offer light insight into their make-up and experience. Instead, request a cover letter that requires applicants to do some online research.

For example, have them addresses two or three open-ended questions about your company.

Good strategic questions include:

  • How do you picture yourself relating to our core values? Why?
  • What do you identify with in our company history? Why?
  • Which products or services from our company are you most excited about? Why?

McIntyre estimates asking for a strategic cover letter will eliminate 30 percent of job-seekers (those who can’t be bothered to answer the questions). Of candidates who do provide such a letter, “30 to 40 percent will probably disqualify themselves with incorrect grammar and poor attention to detail.” That leaves the top 30 percent to pursue.

Appoint a Hiring Panel

For the most important open positions, consider assembling a few trusted vendors, suppliers, and contractors for their confidential assistance. Other potential recruitment partners might include a management consulting company or a staffing agency. “Good agencies can offer expert interviewers and help you focus,” McIntyre says.

Delve Into the Resumes

Now you have the best of the resumes submitted and a hiring panel to assist in the recruitment process. Divide the resumes among the panel members and give everyone a week or so to select their top five candidates, along with a brief explanation of their reasoning. Then reconvene the panel and tally the votes for all potential candidates, until you reach a consensus on the top few to call for an interview.

Nail the Interview

The panel should agree beforehand which questions will be asked of all candidates (“Straying from your pre-determined questions can skew the dynamics of each interview”). Immediately following each interview, ask each panel member to write down their impressions and rank the candidates. If this doesn’t happen right away, McIntyre says, “You’ll likely forget noteworthy subtleties that might have been the difference maker.”

After everyone has compiled their individual assessments, assemble the panel again to combine comments and ratings on a scorecard. From there, you have ample information with which to make your hiring decision.

Conduct a 90-day Check-in

Ninety days is generally enough time to get a sense of the new employee’s skill level and work ethic. Check in with the new hire at that time and provide feedback that relates directly to the key areas of responsibility for which they were hired. Are they hitting the target? What kind of support can you provide to sharpen their performance?

A process like this requires additional time and commitment from employers. But the prospect of assembling and retaining a team of superstars makes it well worth the effort.

How do you go about hiring a superstar employee?