SmartRecruiters Blog

Build a Hiring Culture: The CEO’s Cheat-Sheet

As a CEO, your time is the most valuable in your business. So how do you leverage your time when it comes to growing the business, hiring and bringing on new employees to execute on your vision? Since you can’t clone yourself, (which you should have mixed feelings about anyway), here are some critical guidelines to follow that will add to your company culture and allow your business to scale beyond yourself:

1. Determine your core company values

Since you can’t replicate yourself, the next best thing is to get really clear about what are the fundamental values that hold your business together. These are the foundation of your company culture and your brand. If you relate to values like they are cliche or “some exercise to go through,” then you are missing what leadership is really about, especially in today’s shift from the industrial economy to the connection economy (Seth Godin explains below).

In fact, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh leads the way in emphasizing that if you don’t clarify your company values, you can never assess for brand-fit when you are recruiting and hiring employees. He even takes it a step further and offers new hires $2000 to quit after their initial week of training. He clearly sets a message that company culture and meaning is more important than money, and if you are only here for the paycheck, it’s not a brand-fit for either of us.

2. Create your ideal candidate profile

Start with the end result first. What are the qualifications you’re looking for in your new hire? What type of skills, degrees, experience, and equally important, the intangibles. What would be the right values-fit, personality match, demeanor, and how they see the world, challenges, etc? The more you can get a clear picture of your ideal candidate, the easier you will move through the hiring process. Involve your managers to come up with their ideal candidate and have them bring this to you or their department head for review. This way your managers are not going into the hiring process blind.

3. Create a hiring system

Whether it originates from you, your COO, or head of HR, get that like anything else in your business, hiring is a system. Clarify the benchmarks in your hiring process so that it can be followed the same time every time. This will increase your team’s efficiency and allow for  scalability.

4. Empower your managers to do the hiring

When possible, delegate the hiring to your senior managers as long as they have a command of the first three steps listed above. Now you may still want involvement in key strategic hires, but the more you can delegate your hiring process to management, the more you are supporting a company culture of ownership and self-responsibility and the less need to micromanage.


Thus the quickest way to build a hiring culture is to involve and empower your managers to take responsibility for their department, start with the results that they are wanting first, and work backwards. How does each hire fit for the vision of each department, which aligns with the company’s overall vision? The more clear each manager is armed with the big picture and the sense of the best possible candidate, the more you’ve systemized your hiring process (and hired the right managers in the first place). You are well on your way to firing yourself from these managerial duties, putting attention on the higher-level business development that your business is needing today.


Rick SnyderRick Snyder Business Coaching LLC’s mission (Rick Snyder Coaching) is to help small to midsize business owners discover how their business is an expression of their values and passion, and how to translate this into a thriving company culture that brings meaning, profit, and value to their lives and those they impact.

SmartRecruiters is the hiring platform with everything you need to source talent, manage candidates, and make the right hires.

Rick Snyder