Are The Right People On Your Bus?

December 14, 2011
Posted by Mark Penick - Franchisee, Link Staffing of Austin

This is the first article in a series of four articles designed to help you, the manager, franchise owner or leader, build a great team of people. In case you’re wondering, these articles are not written for bus drivers! The bus is a metaphor for your company, branch office or department. As leader, you know that building a great company can only happen by hiring great people. Your job is to get the right people on your bus, get the wrong people off your bus, get the right people in the right seats on your bus, then driving your bus to the right destination.

If you think that your initial step as leader or manager is to cast a vision, set a new direction and strategy for your team, then hire people to help you fulfill your vision, think again. Most business book authors tell us to do it this way. In his original research book “Good to Great”, Jim Collins produces evidence from his research that the great companies reverse the process. As Collins puts it: “The executives who ignited the transformations from good to great did not first figure out where to drive the bus and then get people to take it there. No, they first got the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) and then figured out where to drive it.” Collins’ bus metaphor is very appropriate to our purposes. Getting great people on your staff becomes your primary duty. Great people are self-motivated, creative, and are great problem-solvers, among many attributes. You may be asking yourself: How do I find great people like this?

Getting the right people on your bus can be challenging, but it can become a manageable and rewarding process if you break it down into some actionable steps.  While not an exhaustive list, here are nine tips on getting the right people on your bus:

1. Keep your eyes wide open for talented people at all times. Just because you have all your bus seats filled, that doesn’t mean to quit looking for talent.

2. Use pre-employment assessments to discover profile matches. Know what your success profile looks like, then hire to that profile.

3. Conduct team interviews. Who says the boss is the only one smart enough to hire?

4. Focus your interview scrutiny on “who the person is”, more than on “what the person has done.”

5. Agree as a team before making a hiring decision. Obviously the boss breaks the tie.

6. When in doubt on a candidate, don’t panic. Keep looking. Finding gold is not a quick process.

7. Develop a recruiting culture. Great teams take team-building seriously.

8. Develop a referral culture – great companies have great people searching for great people for them. The price of a referral fee is well worth it. Take a look at your advertising budget if you don’t believe me.

9. Develop a “We find you” principle, not a “You find us” principle.

Try these actions if you want to improve your hiring. Remember, great companies hire great people. Next time we visit, we’ll talk about getting the wrong people off your bus.


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