Finding the best Featured

7:00pm EDT February 23, 2009

Adam Mopsick says that there’s always the risk that when you’re hiring, you may hire the wrong person.

And there’s a lot of lost time when you do that, so you need to get it right the first time.

“If you have the wrong person in place, you may end up spending too much of your time looking over their shoulder; it’s not productive for everybody involved in that process,” says the founder and president of Amicon Development Group.

“The more that an individual can handle on their own, it increases their value to the company because it allows for everyone else to go out and do other things.”

Mopsick has gotten the right 35 employees in place at his construction management and development company, and doing so has helped Amicon reach 2007 revenue of $70 million.

Smart Business spoke with Mopsick about how to get the right people at your company and how to create a level of trust with them.

Let the job candidate do most of the talking.
I’ve learned through experience to try and let the candidates do most of the talking if possible. Too often, if you tend to lead them or talk too much about yourself, the company or what the job requires, they tend to regurgitate what they think you want to hear.

It’s better to let them talk about themselves, their experiences and their own values, and you’d be surprised what kind of information you can get out of someone speaking on a topic that’s unrelated to their own work experience. Sometimes it gets quiet; you need to let them kind of go.

We look for two main qualities, and that’s desire and intelligence. We’ll take that over experience any day, because they’ll gain experience over time, but they’ll never gain the motivation or intelligence to do it.

It’s somebody who gets out of bed in the morning, and they have a fire burning, and they want to go out and push. They may not have the experience that somebody else has, but ultimately, they’re going to be the ones who get things done.

It’s not always easy to sift through and talk to find it out in an interview. All you can do is go by your own judgment, maybe bring them back for second interviews, talk to them about other topics, and check resumes and references. If someone doesn’t get those points across during an interview, then they’re not going to be the right person.

Don’t overmanage.
Set up a framework that’s more goal-oriented. Rather than say, ‘I want you to finish one, two, three points today,’ try to set up something where they have to go through all those points to get to the end result, because ultimately, it’s the end, it’s the goal that’s the most important.

It may take them more steps than it might have taken you or another manager, but the key is to allow them to get there and allow them to get there by themselves. It’s just as easy for me to pick up the phone and call someone they may need to call to get something accomplished, but they need to go through the process to understand and develop the shortcuts on their own for next time.

The key is to have the right people in the right position. If you have the right people, ultimately they’ll figure out a way to get it done. Develop templates and things that they can’t vary from — certain company standards and systems, standard schedules, standard purchase orders, a framework that they can work within, so that you have some companywide standards, but at least there’s room for variation based on individual ability within the framework.

Recognize your employees.
Every employee is different, and that’s one of the hardest things for people to learn in a management position is that everyone needs to be managed differently. Some people are driven more by financial goals, some are driven more by a pat on the back.

It’s the hardest thing as a manager to understand what it takes to drive certain individuals and what it takes to get the most out of each individual you’re managing. I don’t think that’s something that you’re born with as a manager, that’s something that you develop over time and experience in how to manage your staff.

You may make mistakes with certain people, and you have to know how to correct them. Having to be in touch with individuals’ moods, their morale and how they’re feeling, it’s a bit challenging at times. You need to watch them and make sure they’re on top of it, because it’s easy for things to get out of control.

For some people, it’s important for them to be recognized by their peers, and for others who see that, it’s something for them to strive to. It’s something as simple as a certain method that somebody may have employed to do something well that you can maybe show other people in the company that there are other ways to do things and other ways for them to be successful.

Develop a sense of trust.
It starts with a level of respect and friendship and talking to them on a personal level, going out to lunch, talking about individual things that are going on in their life. It can’t be just about work all the time.

Once you get to know someone on a personal level, you’ll have a better understanding of when they’re stressed or uneasy about certain things and you get a better sense of what they’re going to accomplish.

HOW TO REACH: Amicon Development Group, (305) 573-8030 or