Hiring is one of the hardest parts of running a business. It has a big impact on not only your business but also your mental health. Hiring the right person can be the difference between being excited to get to work every morning or dreading the frustration of dealing with a difficult employee on a daily basis.

So how do you choose the right person for your team?

The Thirukkural can help.

The Thirukkural is a 2000-year old classic Tamil text written by Thiruvalluvar on every aspect of life, from leadership to love. It is considered one of the most important texts in Tamil literature and has been admired by many influential people over the years, including Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi.

Over 40 translations of the Thiruvalluvar exist, but many are outdated and difficult to apply to modern times. That’s why we chose the easily relatable modern rendition of the text written by Kannan to use for this post.

The key principles of life transcend time and place, and the principles of personnel hiring and management are no exception. Here are three proven tips on how to hire well.

Tip #1

வாரி பெருக்கி வளம்படுத் துற்றவை
ஆராய்வாஞ் செய்க வினை.

“Let him do that task – he, who has multiplied the sources of income, generated revenues, and analysed and overcome hurdles.”

– modern rendition of the Thirukkural by Kannan
Source: GIPHY

Look for someone who has accomplished measurable results in their career and has overcome difficulties.

Measurable results are something you can look for on a resume, but it also helps to ask questions like, “What is something you’ve done in your career that you’re most proud of? What where the results?” While not a fail-proof way to hire the right person, choosing someone with a track record of success reduces the risk of ending up with someone who is incompetent.

Not only do you want someone with a positive track record, you want someone with a positive track record when it comes to handling difficult situations. Rising tides lift all boats. Most people can do good work in easy times, but what about when the going gets tough? The road of entrepreneurship is filled with challenges, and someone who can help you navigate those challenges is invaluable.

To determine how a person handles difficult situations, a good interview question is: “What is a challenge that you’ve encountered, and how did you overcome it?

Tip #2

அன்பறிவு தேற்ற மவாவின்மை யிந்நான்கும்
நன்குடையான் கட்டே தெளிவு.

“Love, wisdom, fearless analytical mind and lack of misdirected desire: go for a person who scores high on these.”

– modern rendition of the Thirukkural by Kannan
Source: Pexels

Hire someone who is driven, knowledgeable, clear-headed, courageous, and disciplined.

  • Love is passion, and passion translates to drive. Trying to motivate someone who doesn’t want to work is one of the most difficult challenges a business owner can encounter. To prevent putting yourself in that situation, hire a person who is driven and self-motivated.
  • Wisdom is knowing how to do things right. You want to work with someone who knows what they’re doing, so this is definitely a trait to look for.
  • A fearless analytical mind has the ability to analyze facts, come to accurate conclusions, and face those facts and conclusions with courage. Such clarity and bravery is rare, so if you do find someone with this trait — hire them.
  • A person with discipline, or lack of misdirected desire, is more likely to be able to provide high-quality work, meet deadlines, and accomplish targets. That makes discipline an important trait to look for as well.

No one is perfect, but if you find someone who scores high on at least three of the four traits, they are worth looking into.

Tip #3

அறிந்தாற்றிச் செய்கிற்பாற் கல்லால் வினைதான்
சிறந்தானென் றேவற்பாற் றன்று.

“Assign the task to those who know it, can plan, execute and get it done; and not to the most prominent, or likeable, person.”

– modern rendition of the Thirukkural by Kannan
Source: Pexels

Hire someone because they can do the job, not because you like them or because they’re popular.

While it may be tempting to hire your friend because you think it would be fun to work with them — don’t. At the end of the day, you hire a person because you need to get a job done. And while a friend is great to go out to dinner with, they may not be the best person to get the job done.

The same reasoning applies to hiring based on popularity — don’t do it. Most of us learn this in high school with useless student body presidents, but obviously the most popular person in the room is not always the most competent.

Stay focused on your hiring objective and don’t be swayed by your emotions.

Are you ready to hire?

Deciding who to hire is a big decision that requires thought and foresight, but it doesn’t have to be a headache. These ancient, time-tested tips will start you on the right path so that both you and your business succeed.

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