As promised this is the second part of the article secret to always hiring the right people/, here we’ll share some advice and tips on how to identify, capture and generally emphasise the three primary traits you should be looking for in hiring; Attitude, Aptitude and Innate Values. <This article will make much more sense if you have read part 1>
To make these three the key traits the core of your hiring practice versus the traditional standard elements we have to change our out-dated approach. You’ll have to acknowledge the traditional approach is very much ingrained and is designed to highlight and emphasise the secondary elements we covered in part 1.
A note here to say we aren’t abolishing or throwing these out with he bath water, far from it. The old elements like specific skills, experience, education, etc. are all very important but as we have reasoned in part 1 to get a high potential, high contribution candidate to enhance your organisation the emphasis in hiring should be the three primary traits.
Which brings us to how to change the process and our approach to ensure we can attract, recognise and secure people with these traits.
Start with your ad
To attract people with the traits we’re looking for; positive attitude, strong aptitude and innate shared values to our organisation then don’t be shy in highlighting these in the advertisement for the position whatever forum you use to communicate it to the market. Critique the tired old typical ad format, content and JD’s that emphasise; ‘x‘ years experience, certain qualifications and the stock standard requirements. These are important but probably less so than we are led and conditioned to believe. Stock standard ads will attract and get you stock standard, and in most cases time will prove, sub-standard people.
Instead ask for demonstrable examples or situations designed to bring out whether the person legitimately has these traits or is posturing. State your values in a proud way saying you only want people who validly can demonstrate those values.
Side note: traps for young players…
- Don’t misinterpret that hiring people who already innately possess your organisational values with getting a cloned, homogenous workforce lacking in diversity, another critical element for successful organisations. These are quite different altogether. The shared values will actually help provide a common ground upon which the diversity can thrive. This powerful combination is where your creativity, innovation and idea sharing lives.
- If you are hiring for a leadership / management role please get over the obsession with specific experience with your particular industry or profession. This is obviously necessary where this is a critical element of their duties; you need to hire someone trained and with specific experience in medicine to be a Doctor, or industry experience in certain hands on trades as example. The critical error occurs where organisations (you) are hiring people leaders, managers whose main role will be to combine general management skills with leadership skills. If someone has attained these skills they are worthy. It is far harder in most cases to learn and be able to apply these skills (years!!) than it is to understand the nuances specific to your organisation or industry (weeks, months at most). Prioritise for what you really need!! An added value helpful hint – don’t make this mistake I see again and again – you’re missing out on great people and only getting the re-treads from your small pond instead of budding talent from the ocean.
<To help clarify you may want to see; Management-versus-leadership-do-you-really-know-the-difference/>
Ok, back to our scheduled program…
You’ve rejigged your ad, now what? Time to rethink the interview process and put less emphasis on résumés. Let’s take these individually;
Ask yourself what does a resume / Curriculum Vitae actually tell us? Is it the main bases for selecting your next colleague? Well if you are feeding them into a computer to search for particular catch phrases and words. Or, over accentuating specific industry experience, then you will put most of your efforts into this exercise. In my experience you may as well practice the age old adage about grading academic papers by throwing them down the stairs and marking them by which step they land on. The secondary aspects for a candidate are important as stated but a CV is hardly going to tell you emphatically whether this person can motivate a team, solve problems on the fly, stay positive under pressure, learn quickly and effectively and actually live certain values. Résumés will tell you patterns, actual education and certifications and lots of other information but it is still anecdotal. Example, because someone has an MBA doesn’t mean they can use it. It at best will suggest the person has demonstrated they have experienced academia and passed a standard. That has some worth but will pale if there is no substance to make it practically applicable.
Ok this is where the real substance comes out… or doesn’t. This is a chapter(s) unto itself so I’ll just provide some pointers.
- Remember what you’re looking to uncover – the three primary traits so be conscious of identifying them and getting earnest feedback which demonstrates them sincerely
- Get out of the office / board room to conduct the interview. This will allow many positive opportunities to present themselves with regard to the candidate’s true colours.
- Stop and talk to one of your team in the area / department in which the role will work – if possible – and let the person engage with the team members there. Stand back and watch; body language, signs of sincere interest (questions, comments), demonstrating respect (examples of your values being practiced for real). By ‘conducting’ the interview in this manner positions the candidate to have to put down any guard or standard interview preparation and have to deal with a dose of the reality. You’ll get the real deal most of the time instead of someone who is really good at interviewing and crap at the actual role we are trying to fill. Most of you will have an example or two of that throughout your career.
- Second / final interviews – again use non-traditional environments; do it over dinner, at an event, etc. It is amazing what real aspects of their character people will reveal in these situations versus a staid, clinical traditional interview setting.
This edition of Professional Journey Steps has been presented in hope it will help you utilise what we’ve asserted in part 1, there are three prime characteristics you should be looking for when hiring to ensure you get the ‘right’ people. We’ve outlined a few things to do and ways to think about and approach the hiring process to identify and capture these three traits. I hope you will find this helpful and put it to use. It has been instrumental for me during my career to provide the building blocks from which to build exceptional teams and strong achieving organisations. It can do the same for you.
Any questions, challenges, insights, please don’t hesitate to comment or contact me directly, we’re here to help. All our very best,
Enjoy the journey!!