Hiring great people has been a competitive advantage in my businesses for a long time now…but it wasn’t always that way.

I used to dread the hiring process.

This caused me to keep mediocre employees around too long, and slow down growth because I simply didn’t want to have to think about hiring.

Eventually, I challenged myself to build a reliable hiring process that made hiring fun and would allow me to hire the right people, in the right seats, at the right time in less than a week with over 90% retention.

Here’s my formula to reliably hire new team members in 7 days with a 90% success rate.

Don’t waste time sourcing and filtering through resumes

Filtering through hundreds of resumes is mind-numbing. And at the end of it, you probably don’t feel like you have even narrowed it down to the ‘best’ applicants. You can eliminate the resume hunting altogether by doing these three things:

1. Create a ‘Future Employee Pipeline’ that you can reference whenever hiring for a new position. The premise is simple. Create a Google Doc, and anytime you cross someone who you think you’d love to work with, add them to the spreadsheet, along with any skills or notes you have about them. Your list can include family, friends, vendors, clients, competitors, or even the Starbucks barista who has the perfect energy. Then, when it comes time to hire, look over your spreadsheet and see if you have any potential matches that you can proactively reach out to.

2. Announce the job to family and friends. Make a few posts on social media to let everyone in your immediate network know that you’re hiring. You’ll almost always find a few friends who have a friend that would be a great match. Then shoot out a few text messages to other entrepreneurs and business owners who might have someone in their network that could work. The best part about sourcing new hires from your family and friends is that you usually only get referred people who they are confident will do great work.

3. Set up a Google Voice number for people finding your job through job boards like Craigslist or ZipRecruiter. In your job posting, have any interested candidates call in and answer two questions in less than 60 seconds in lieu of a resume and cover letter.

Our questions are usually something like “What is it about this job that intrigues you the most” and “What skills or values do you have that will bring the most value to our team?”.We’ve found that you learn a lot more about someone in a 60-second voicemail than a resume.

Additionally, the extra step they have to take creates more friction in the process so you only get a small number of highly interested candidates instead of a huge number of low-level candidates.

Set up a first interview over Zoom (15 minutes max)

Once you’ve found your shortlist of candidates (usually 5-12 candidates) from scouring your Future Employee Pipeline, announcing the job post to family and friends, and reviewing any voicemails on your Google Voice number from your job postings, it’s time to meet them.

Set up a 15-minute Zoom (or phone call) for an initial interview. Think of this as the ‘speed dating’ round of interviews where you’re trying to quickly eliminate anyone who made it to the shortlist, but you can quickly tell will not be a good fit.

Since the goal of this part of the process is to eliminate people, look for any red flags when conducting your 15-minute interview. Trust your gut.

Meet them in person at your office

At this point, you should have your list down to 2-5 potential candidates remaining. Now, you can schedule an interview with each of them. It’s best if you can do them all in one day so you have a fresh impression of each of them by the time you’ve finished interviewing all of them.

While your instinct is going to be to focus the interview questions on the skills required for the job, you’ll have a much better hiring success rate when focusing on finding people who share your company values. Make sure you leave the interview with a clear sense of whether or not they share your company values.

Block out no more than 60 minutes for each interview. This should consist of a series of the same questions that every candidate gets, while also allowing yourself to diverge into follow-up and individualized questions when you feel compelled.

Invite them to a team lunch

At the end of your interview day, you should have a top candidate. Give that person a call that day and invite them to come to a team lunch in the next 1-2 days.

If you’re still deciding between 1-3 candidates, invite them each to a lunch that week. If you have more than 3 candidates at the ‘top’, go for a second round of in-person interviews first.

Invite 3-6 team members who will have the most interaction with the new potential hire to join you for the lunch.

Encourage them to be friendly, but also to ask them whatever questions they want during lunch. This type of interaction will help you discover things you may not have found during the interviews, and also gives your team some influence over the final hiring decision.

After lunch, gather the 3-6 team members for a 20-minute meeting to get their feedback. Find out if they saw any red flags or if they think this is someone they’d love to work with.

Pay them as a contractor for $600 worth of work

Now that they’ve passed the filtering process, the phone interview, the live interview, and the team lunch, and you’re still excited about this candidate, it’s time to see them in action.

You can legally contract someone for $600 worth of work without having to send them a 1099 at the end of the year, and we would do exactly that.

We would always put together a series of tasks that would mirror the things they would be doing once on the team – make phone calls, send emails, build presentations, design graphics, write code, etc. For higher paid positions (i.e. engineers) you may only get 2-3 days of work, so make it count.

This final test should give you the confidence to know that you’re hiring the right person, for the right job, at the right time.

If you can confidently say that at the end of this process, it’s time to extend the offer to join your team.

Following this process significantly reduces the stress of hiring, and allows us to have a much higher success rate with each hire.