6 Hiring Lessons I Learned While Zip Lining

Planning Stage

Have you ever zip lined? Most of us haven’t, including me. Now, imagine you’re afraid of heights, suffer from vertigo, and are on your dream vacation in Hawaii. Zip lining would be the perfect activity, right? In case you don’t know what zip lining is, you soar high above the earth attached to a cable by a harness. Why would someone afraid of heights even consider such a thing?

I haven’t lost my mind. I watched others having fun doing it and thought I could do it too. I boldly scheduled my husband and I for this new adventure that took me way outside my comfort zone. I put on a brave front and hid the terror lurking just under the surface. I wasn’t sure that when it came to jumping off a platform into the air, that it would be something I could do without suffering bodily injury or worse, severe embarrassment in front of a group of strangers.

These thoughts and feelings are very similar to what you might feel when you have to hire an employee. You are outside of your comfort zone and you see others doing it without fear or hesitation. No one gets hurt or suffers embarrassment in front of others. What’s their secret?

It’s simple. It’s having a system and building a process that works for your unique needs. I had two expert guides on my zip lining adventure who were wonderful at explaining how to use the equipment, the techniques required for each zip line, making sure that the group had a safe and fun adventure, and the day ended with a favorable outcome (no blood, broken bones, cuts, scrapes, or tears).

I know you’re saying zip lining is nothing like hiring employees. And yet it is. When you examine the zip line course system and process, you uncover principles you can use to build your hiring system.

Lesson 1. Find an Expert to Guide You

You would never zip line alone. You would use an expert guide and have hundreds of hours of practice before even thinking about doing it without help. When you hire for the first time, it makes sense to find a guide who is an expert to help you through the process. Like zip lining, hiring has lots of parts that require skill and knowledge to navigate successfully.

Learning the ropes is importantLesson 2. Assemble Your Gear and Know How To Use It

Before we even set foot on the course, our guides demonstrated the safety equipment, helped us into our gear, and explained how to use it. When you hire, you should also take time to assemble your gear and know how to use it. Your hiring gear begins with a job description that incorporates your mission and values and shows the results required to be successful in the job. You should have a well written job ad designed to attract your ideal candidates, interview questions, candidate evaluation criteria, reference check forms, etc. Once you have your gear, you’re ready to head out onto the course.

Lesson 3. Map Out and Communicate Your Process

When we arrived at the course, our guides explained how we would navigate the course and the process of how the zip line worked. They explained the number of zip lines, how we would take off from the platform, what to expect, how to position our body, how to turn, and, most importantly, how to stop on the other side. Our guides made sure we all understood how things worked and answered any questions.

When you hire, you should have a similar process. How will you receive candidate applications and review resumes? How many and what kind of interviews will you have? Who will conduct reference and background checks? And finally, who will make the a job offer? You should map out your process before you start so that everyone involved has a clear understanding of the process. Much like zip lining, this prework ensures your success.

Lesson 4. Have Frequent Check-Ins to Review Requirements

As we completed each zip line, the group had a quick briefing. We reviewed safety measures and talked about the different requirements for the next line. In your hiring process, each step may have different requirements. For example, when you review resumes, you might screen only for meeting minimum requirements. In your pre-screen phone interview, you will dig deeper into the qualifications, and in an in person interview, you will spend a lot more time delving into your candidate’s knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors. Each step will add another layer to your understanding of the candidate’s ability to be successful in your company.

Be Open and HonestLesson 5. Be Honest and Open

As we went through the course, each zip line not only got more difficult, but also had a unique story about the area it covered. Your jobs have a unique story and you should be presenting a realistic preview of them in your hiring process. Your jobs will have components that are great and some that are not so great. When you gloss over or fail to talk with candidates about the parts of the job that are less enjoyable, you risk making a bad hiring decision that will cost you more than taking the time to give a realistic picture and find the right candidate.

Lesson 6. The Power of Feedback and Gratitude

At the end of the course, our guides checked in with us to make sure that we enjoyed our adventure and thanked us for spending our morning with them. The guides clearly loved their work and it showed in how they treated their guests. Throughout the day, they were wonderful at calming fears and checking in to make sure everything was going okay.

In your hiring process, you should also check in with your candidates to keep them informed of their status and thank them for their time. You should make sure they have a realistic understanding of the job and that they are informed of your final decision. If you are not hiring a candidate, give them honest feedback about where they fell short of your requirements. Believe me, candidates appreciate this feedback because they use it to improve their skills. It also shows them that you treat people with courtesy and respect which goes a long way to enhancing your reputation as an employer.

The zip line course was well-thought out and designed to provide an efficient and safe adventure. Your hiring process should also be well thought out and designed for an efficient and successful hiring decision.

What thoughts and ideas does my zip line adventure spark for you? Please share them in the comments below.

If you need some help from an expert guide to help you with your process, schedule a complimentary insight session with me today.