Profile - Our Unique Hiring Approach

An Interview Is Only The Beginning

John Henry IIIIn today’s fast-paced business world, John Henry III has some advice when it comes to hiring the best people for your company: slow down. Henry’s firm, Indiana-based JH Specialty (asi/232445), has developed a multi-step hiring process that puts a premium on culture, commitment and career. “Part of our process is to make candidates second guess if they really want to be here,” Henry says. “We don’t want lukewarm people joining the team; we want people excited to start.”

Henry’s methods seem to be working. JH Specialty enjoys double-digit annual sales growth, high employee retention and a consistent spot on Counselor’s Best Places To Work list. Read on for more of Henry's hiring tips.

Q: How do you begin your search for talent?
A: The majority of our candidates come from referrals. We haven’t approached soliciting offers or poaching through some of the channels that are out there, like LinkedIn. If you can find a candidate this way, so can someone else in the future.

Q: What’s an interview like at JH Specialty?
A: The process starts with a phone interview which is very laid back. We ask candidates who they are, what makes them tick, and what they know about us. The next interview is in-person with a small team of relative team members. It’s still laid back. We want candidates to answer the question: Do you want to be here? We need to figure out if they have what it takes to join the team. If candidates make it past this round they take the job personality test and be a part of a team interview of probably six people.

Q: Why are personality profiles important?
A: It allows us to see what personality traits the organization thinks are important to be successful in a potential role. While this is a great measure, it is not a black and white definition. The results of the test help our team to have the best interview. The process highlights areas of discussion and things that may drive a candidate to enjoy coming to work.

Q: What’s the most important thing you look for to determine if candidates are the right fit? Skills? Nerf gun proficiency?
A: Great question, and thanks for bringing up Nerf guns. I’m not sure if I can pinpoint one characteristic, but attitude and drive are essential. Skills allow for someone to excel faster, but skills can be taught. Behavior is much harder to teach than a skill. We believe in working hard and playing hard, so if you think that getting hit by a random Nerf dart will ruin your day, we may not be the best fit.

Q: Do you prefer candidates with industry experience?
A: We look to hire people who are self-starters and don’t need to be micromanaged. Experience is definitely a plus to allow a candidate to hit the job running, but not required. To date, we’ve hired many more people from outside the industry and taught them the industry. This may have something to do with where we are located. We do have intentions to open satellite offices and in order to find the right people to do this, I think we’ll need experience.

Q: How have your hiring efforts resulted in a stronger company culture?
A: A process that ensures the candidate’s best interests are often above that of the organization leads to people excited to start and be a part of the JH family. The underlying goal of the organization is to make a positive impact wherever we can – this can be within the team – or with our customers.

Q: What advice do you have for firms looking to improve their hiring processes?
A: Make sure you know what your culture and vision is above and beyond what people may see from the outside. Once you define this, find people that share in this vision and are inspired by the same ideals. Use tools like personality tests to allow you to have real conversations with candidates and talk about what really motivates them.