RSPA Mailbag: “You’re Building a Company, not Filling an Open Position”

By: Jim Roddy, President & CEO at the RSPA

The President of an RSPA ISV/VAR member recently emailed me a business-related meme I’ll try my best to describe for you:

  • Normal-looking dude: I’m looking for a new job.
  • Abnormal-looking dude: Sure. Just need you to take 2 tech assessments, a tech screen, then we’ll want 3 interviews then maybe we’ll consider you.
  • Normal-looking dude: Nevermind. I accepted a job at another company that offered what I wanted after 1 interview.
  • Abnormal-looking dude looking even more abnormal red faced, screaming, and with blood pouring out his eyes: Noooooo!!!!!!!! You were supposed to jump through hoops to prove your worthiness!

Accompanying the meme was the executive’s question: This is the mindset of a lot of people now. I feel like we need to embrace it – or else you’re trying to defy gravity. What do you make of it?

Here’s what I make of it – and what I emailed to him:

Great question. We faced this when I worked at Jameson Publishing/Business Solutions Magazine and our sister company in Philly was hiring web developers. Developers were in crazy high demand – if you didn’t move quickly you would lose them, guaranteed. So we determined what pre-employment steps for that position were necessary and compacted them. We didn’t skip any necessary steps; we just eliminated the “air in the system” between steps.

More specifically:

  • We eliminated the pre-employment essay because that wasn’t as important for developers and added at least two days to the process.
  • We eliminated the spouse/significant other dinner because that wasn’t as important as the speed we needed to execute.
  • We kept the Wonderlic, DISC, and developer aptitude tests and combined them with a thorough first interview on one day (two hours).
  • If the recruiter felt that person was a good fit, she would schedule them for the remaining interviews one day that week – second/third interview combined in the morning, lunch with team, then Aversions interview and check references in the afternoon.
  • The next day you could make a job offer contingent upon background and reference checks.

Yes, this compressed process was a pain for the hiring managers because their day/week could be blown up by a good candidate. But if hiring is a priority (and it was … and it should be), you juggle your schedule to accommodate. We also had to make sure the recruiter was on her game to only pass along excellent candidates as not to waste anyone’s time.

Another key was we let candidates know our process up front: “by the end of this week, you will either have a job offer or we/you will determine it’s not a fit.” That way if they got another job offer but really wanted ours, they knew they would have resolution from us by week’s end. If they couldn’t wait a few business days for us, then they weren’t super excited about our company/culture anyway and probably would have left for another job offer soon after they were hired.

With a condensed pre-employment process, you’re still collecting the important data you need to make an important decision, but you’re doing it faster. Instead of chopping down one tree each day, you take a chainsaw and cut them all down ASAP.

For one of the all-time best hires I ever made, we followed a compacted process. The candidate was moving back to town and learned about us when he was already near the job offer stage with another organization. Our Ops Manager tracked me down while the candidate was still in the building for his second interview and said, “I don’t know what your schedule looks like tomorrow, but you’re interviewing this guy.” We scheduled to talk with him the next morning, and made a job offer soon after. He advanced all the way through our company to become manager of our entire sales operation. Also, by following all the steps of our process and still spending that time with him, he became more excited about us and stalled that other job offer.

Visit the RSPA Solution Center – a web platform designed to connect VARs and ISVs to providers of innovative solutions

Also … I’m a fanboy of hiring people who embrace Critical Thinking, and someone making a career move after just one interview is them demonstrating poor decision-making skills. Plus, you know they can be lured away from your org after just one interview. Keep in mind with every hire that you’re building a company, not filling an open position!

The RSPA member replied to me: Solid advice. I constantly remind myself of how big of a deal the change acceleration with COVID is plus knowing how much energy hiring takes (as you said, blows up a week) but my gut is telling me to try to find a way to leapfrog the problem. For example (crazy idea): skip 90% of the interview process, hire 10 people, actually work with them – put them through our flight simulator and hire three of them. Do it in a way that even the ones that don’t get the job feel good about.

I responded:

My two cents on the “hire ‘em all and let God sort ‘em out” philosophy is you will need a strong HR department to handle what unfiltered people will bring to your company (harassment, coming in late, burning vacation time, etc.). And you will need a good legal counsel to defend yourself against claims. There are many litigious people in the world today, so casting a very wide net and terminating 70% of them almost guarantees you a lawsuit or two.

I also shared with him this quote from the late great management guru Peter Drucker: There are only people who make people decisions right, and that means slowly, and people who make people decisions wrong and then repent at leisure.

Your hiring process today should follow this guideline from another late great leader, Hall of Fame college basketball coach John Wooden: Be quick, but don’t hurry.

In your quest to build the right team and company culture, you don’t have to go it alone. For one-on-one guidance from an experienced RSPA Business Advisor and for access to proven pre-employment hiring tools, email us at

Don’t forget to visit the RSPA Solution Center – a web platform designed to connect VARs and ISVs to providers of innovative solutions

Jim Roddy is the President & CEO of the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA). He has been active in the retail IT channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as an RSPA board member, one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board, and several years as a business coach for VARs, ISVs, and MSPs. Jim has been recognized as one of the world’s Top 100 Retail Influencers by RETHINK Retail, a Leading CannaTech Influencer by 420MSP, and is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences on SMB best practices. He is author of two books – The Walk-On Method To Career & Business Success and Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer – and is host of the award-winning RSPA Trusted Advisor podcast. For more information, contact