All Articles Leadership Inspiration Q&A with Mike Matalone: How to hire and retain valuable workers

Q&A with Mike Matalone: How to hire and retain valuable workers

3 min read


Mike Matalone is president of Excelsior, a human capital consulting firm that helps companies and CEOs to  recruit, develop, manage and retain effective employees. SmartBrief interviewed Matalone on his leadership philosophy and how to make sure you are hiring the right people. An edited version of his answers follows.

Describe your leadership philosophy.

Leadership is about being able to consistently get results from others in a positive manner. This means you must communicate clear expectations, have the ability and know how to hire top talent, be inspirational — communicate and motivate based on the individual needs of your people, show them you care about them as people and not just as employees and constantly develop them to be the best they can be.

What inspired you to start your business?

I’m a bad employee and got fired a lot!  Like most entrepreneurs, I am very independent, self motivated, pro-active and results-oriented. That also means I am very impatient, controlling and assertive/aggressive.  Thankfully I have learned to adjust and manage my behavior to the situation I am in to create positive, lasting results.  This is actually my fifth business.  My first was when I was 23!

Describe your approach to workforce planning and hiring?

First, you must have a clearly defined strategy of where you are going (ideally three-year business objectives).  Next, you clearly define the roles and activities required to achieve your strategic objectives.  We developed a tool called a Performance Profile™ that helps you to do this in an objective, logical and scientific way that you can use to assess your existing staff  as well as use as an interview tool to truly identify who the best candidates are and what their strengths and weakness are.  Finally, it is important to say that as part of any successful workforce plan, you must include retention strategies, which are all about effective leadership.  Using our proven process and tools, I can hire you the best people in the world for any role.  What I can’t do is guarantee that those people will be with you for the long haul.  People quit managers, not jobs.

What’s the most important trait you look for when you’re hiring for your own team?

The most important is the ability to create results in a timely manner.  That being said, it really depends on the role.  Each role has required tasks, and each of those has their own unique set of traits (naturally occurring patterns of how a person thinks and feels which predict how they will behave in most situations).  Therefore, you must first determine what the tasks and associated required knowledge, skills, results and traits are (see above for our Performance Profile tool) to be able to know what to look for in a candidate.