Hiring the wrong person for a job can be catastrophic.
But finding the right fit requires strategy – it’s about more than what’s on a resumé. Much more.
Aaron McWilliams knows this. The Director of Marketing at Qualbe Marketing Group says that when the company brings on a new team member, they’re looking at more than a cover letter.
“Character and the kind of person you hire can actually make all the difference,” he says. “There are a lot of skills that you can learn on the job, but you can’t learn character.”
Qualbe Marketing Group was founded in 1997 by Randy Meinen. It was called Quality Benefits then, and its main objective was to sell dental discount plans. “Randy ran across dental discount plans while he was selling insurance to companies,” says McWilliams. “He thought it was so much better than dental insurance, and then he realized he could do it himself. So, as Google was coming out and gaining popularity, he started learning advertising and started building websites and putting together a team. That’s when it really came together and became a business.”
McWilliams explains that the company’s main objective is to find subscription businesses, such as a dental plan, and then build out the company’s brand around that. “We invest all our dollars into advertising in order to grow that brand and sell the product.” The company works with multiple clients but 1Dental.com remains their bread and butter.
“1Dental.com is how we started the business and it’s still most of what we do. We treat it like it’s our own brand and product,” McWilliams says.
“Our founder and president are very entrepreneurial, so we’ve always had that bug and itch to try something new. There have been a lot of changes that we’ve made over the years, which have led to wins. And one that’s been really core for our business has been changes around people.”
Implementing strong culture in the hiring process
As the company grew – even adding a call center to support it – naturally, so did the team. In order to keep rising as a successful business, Qualbe Marketing Group put the focus on building a strong company culture via their hiring process.
“We’ve come up with a hiring process where we spend more time interviewing. And we ask harder questions at times,” McWilliam says. “We’ll ask people about their relationships with their employer. And then tell people we’re going to call their former boss, as long as they’re not at the job currently, and ask them to rank them on a one-to-10 scale. And then ask what they think they’ll say. We’ll spend 3 hours in some of our interviews going into some of these things. Ultimately, we’re looking for people with character who are willing to put in more effort to help the team, rather than a me-first person,” he says.
Using an assessment tool to streamline the process
“There’s an assessment tool that we used so much, that we ended up buying the company and taking it on as one of these subscription businesses.” He says the tool is similar to a combination of personality tests. “Sometimes the results will contradict a little bit, but that’s how we all are. We act one way in one situation and different in another situation. That tool has been really helpful for us to get a deeper idea of how people work. And then we’ll have the assessment and ask what they disagree with or think is right. And it’s not perfect but it’s definitely one of the best things we’ve found out there.”
He says that since taking these extra measures while hiring, culture has significantly improved. Therefore, so has the way the business functions on a day-to-day basis.
“Company culture has hands-down improved. That’s a big focus for us. When the CEO started changing who he was hiring, he started seeing culture change and realized that culture is a big part of success. You can hire individuals, but culture really pulls it all together. How we all look and act together is important.”