Small Team. Big Results: How Small Companies Thrive with Team-Involved Hiring


By Andy Suggs – CEO, Brand Strategist, Reckon Branding

As many small business owners can relate, adding a new person to your team is huge. You only have to deal with annoying clients here and there, but if you make a wrong hire, they are living in your space each and every day. Resumes give you a great idea of their skill sets, but they speak nothing of how they are as an individual. And when you’re working with a highly skilled placement agency like Hire Profile, the question of “if” they can do the job is already answered. The key is figuring out if they will fit within your culture, and we realize Reckon Branding has just that.

To help answer this question, we had our entire team be an integral part of our hiring process. It’s a benefit of having a small team. We could do this without complicating or slowing down the process. While our leadership helped identify the top three prospects from the many highly qualified individuals Hire Profile sent our way, our next step was to have them come into our office and meet the team. This was critical for many reasons. Just as much for our existing team but also for the person we’re asking to join our family.

First, we actually do come into the office. I know it’s a foreign concept for many nowadays, but for our best creative solutions, we need to be able to feed off of each other organically and have impromptu conversations. And, our office isn’t like most. It’s really more like a house. Our home. Or, as we affectionately call it, our “tree house.” Transparently, there is a certain vibe in our office that is unique, and I’m not oblivious to the idea that it may not be a good fit for everyone. So, we were sure to make an in-person visit a must for our interviewing process.

Like any family, we will get on our nerves every now and then. But the key here is that we are a family. How often do you have the chance to pick your next family member outside of someone getting married? Our team is made up of very unique individuals (in a positive way), so we wanted to be sure everyone had the chance to weigh in on this decision but also make sure the interviewee felt they could jive with all of us.

We were damn lucky. We had three really amazing people when we narrowed it down. Honestly, nearly everyone we interviewed was outstanding, and deciding who to bring into the office was not easy. But when we did, we had the entire team come together for lunch. To get past the typical interviewing questions, we shared our own opinions on each person in advance as well as an overview summary from Hire Profile and their resume detailing their past work experiences. With that out of the way, we were able to get to the more relational aspects of the interview process.

Oh, and I should note that before we had any of them come in, we had them take an Enneagram test. If you’re not familiar with that, you should be. This test identifies your communication styles, and we are very aware of who we were and what we felt we needed from this next role. Thankfully, they were all different from us in the right way, and their results aligned with what we expected this person to bring to the table. Each lunch went great. Everyone brought a slightly different perspective to the position and asked us questions that squelched any concerns about their ability to own the role and expand it beyond what we were even expecting. 

After each of the three lunches, we regrouped as a team, shared our thoughts, and were rather aligned on each person’s strengths. Unfortunately, it was still too close to make a confident decision, so we developed a ranking system to answer a handful of questions on what we saw as key criteria for this position: Would they challenge us to grow? Do they have relatable experience but also experience in areas we’d like to pursue? How much of a cultural fit would they be? And many more.

In the end, miraculously, we were all exactly aligned on who to pick. It was still very close, but one candidate rose above the rest ever so slightly. Transparently, Dana (my business partner) and I were already leaning that way, but the exercise confirmed our thoughts. The cherry on the cake, though, was that this individual then took the time to write a handwritten note to each person in our team expressing their gratitude for being considered and awareness of how important this hire was for us. Decision made. We made the offer, and Robert came on board a few weeks later.

We owe a great deal of gratitude to Kat and Nancy. Hire Profile was great, and their unique experience and focus in the marketing and advertising industry allowed them to really understand what this person needed to provide. They were also very supportive of our process and were in no hurry to rush us. They knew this was important to us and helped communicate that to all of the applicants.

The jury is still out on Robert. Just kidding, he’s been great so far. He really slid right into our craziness and has embraced the opportunity. Hopefully, if you are a small business owner as well, some of this information may be of help. Small businesses have unique needs, and in our opinion, this especially applies to the hiring journey for both your team AND the applicant. 

In summary:

  • Get expert help to ensure quality applicants – your time is money
  • Be thoughtful and don’t hurry
  • It’s as much about being a good fit for them as it is for you
  • Include your team so they’ll feel invested
  • Leverage assessment tools – they exist for a reason
  • Trust your gut

About the Author

Andy Suggs

Andy Suggs – CEO, Brand Strategist, Reckon Branding

Definer, Designer, and Driver of Brands looking to make our world a better place.

Born and raised in Atlanta, Andy started solving visual problems as a high school sophomore by helping the Roswell Hornet cheerleaders concept and design football banners. Andy graduated from UGA in 1997 and became a Partner at Reckon in 2004. His goal is to build a company where creatives can grow and flourish alongside clients who are looking for a branding partner, not a branding project.