Chances are you’re hiring practice is all, WRONG!
Or at least you have a few things backward. What’s your current hiring practice? How do you hire people, what are you looking for in your candidates? Typically; experience, skills, appropriate education, specific knowledge, … it’s a common list and all are important BUT in my opinion and experience all these are secondary if your objective is to get people who will be retainable, contribute to your organisational goals and generally fit in.
What are the first things you should be attending to and screening for to secure high-end people? Its so easy it sounds ridiculous, however ask anyone who is involved in the hiring practice and you’ll get something more like the secondary criteria list above. These primary characteristics are far more relevant. I’ve personally proven it over and over and observed the same thousands of times! Because it is simple doesn’t mean it’s easy… or properly understood, perhaps this accounts for it not being followed as regimentally as it should be for best results. So for best results we recommend you do!
This edition of Professional Journey Steps advice for hiring the best people to get the best overall result … the secret is three basic but powerful attributes;
- Attitude (positive)
- Values (Innate)
Why are these so bloody important, even more so than what is thought to be the standard key hiring elements? I’ll let a business & leadership guru set the scene:
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” – Peter Drucker
Huh? Yes, these three elements will either support or, if not in sync, be a cancer for your organisational culture. You want to cause yourself, or your HR department, major future headaches; diminished morale, friction, lack of engagement, reduced productivity… the list goes on and on and its all bad – then hire someone without these qualities.
Conduct your own in-house study. Think of a problem issue you have experienced (internal not external) in your organisation. Now think of the person(s) who seem to be at the heart or at least flaming the fires of the issue – the chances they do not exemplify these three characteristics are extremely high!! Now you’re faced with fixing something you could have addressed and avoided at the interview stage.
So what exactly is it about these three that is so important? Lets take a look at each:
ATTITUDE (positive) – emphasis on the positive factor!! I shouldn’t have to explain this one, its fairly self evident but here are a few of the many reasons this is so important;
- Resilience and ability to buffer themselves, and their colleagues, against challenges and difficulties and deal with stress – which are experienced in all organisations, ideally from outside factors
- Relationships within organisation – a positive outlook and demeanour lends itself to stronger relationships. These in turn are the breeding ground for your higher-level objectives like, innovation, creativity and shared ideas.
- Generally better performance; if you hire for positive attitude soon you have a team of positive attitude people and as a result a positive culture. Still a little sceptical these ‘soft’ traits are so important to your goals, growth or bottom line? Then ignore or diminish them in your hiring practice and roll the dice…
- Bottom line performance – yes, there are literally hundreds (thousands) of academic studies, business cases and general experience to justify the fact positive people beget positive cultures, positive cultures get better results; sales, service, efficiency, retention, engagement, productivity… you name the category or metric!
Aptitude – simply stated, aptitude is just someone’s natural ability to learn and have proficiency in a certain area. This is usually ‘tick boxed’ by looking at someone’s work or education history on his or her résumé. I recommend you take this one a little further and match it to what you want from this person in this role. Also think at this point about possible succession planning – never too early to have initial thoughts in this area.
Innate Values- this one I’ve only added to my critical list in the last decade or so. Prior it has always been just Attitude and Aptitude and they bode very well for my organisations and me. Adding innate values has increased the benefits substantially again. What do I mean by innate values? The person’s individual core values MUST be aligned and compatible with those your organisation aspires to exemplify and holds dear!! Ideally they should have a match. A person’s values are their bedrock beliefs. These do not change easily and it is exceptionally difficult to get people to adopt new ones – the ones they have took a lifetime to become embedded in who they are so… if they don’t already exhibit and exemplify your organisational values they’ll never be able to hold them up and ‘live’ them – they’ll only ever get lip service. Beliefs are defended, they elicit emotion and emotion drives action. You want that action to be supportive of your goals. If you think your values are important – and you should – then this is something you should take into serious account when hiring – otherwise you will get someone not in-sync with your organisation at best or the aforementioned cancer at worst. Avoid both and make this a key point in your hiring practice.
<Note> this will test you but I suggest no matter how talented, what their record has been, what their credentials – essentially all the secondary elements you’re looking for are – if they don’t match this innate value one… DON’T HIRE THEM! It’s that powerful – for and against!
How do you best identify and capture these traits in the hiring process?
I’ll leave that one for another article – Professional Journey Step – 31B as this is getting a bit long. If you want some help or tips in the interim, give me a call or in-mail, I’m happy to give you some advice and additional pointers or even support for making this your M.O. in hiring.
From MSB Max, All our very best,
Enjoy the Journey!!