Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hire bright and hungry

In order to build a great organization you’ve got to hire great people. But recognizing a great person when you meet one isn’t that easy. After getting burned a couple of times, we realized how devastating a poor hiring choice can be.

The following phrase from Demotivators puts it particularly well: “A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.” From work done poorly to work not done at all, the snowball effect of a bad hiring decision will impact on office morale, lead to falling productivity, declining standards of service and ultimately tarnish a company’s hard-earned reputation.

While small businesses tend to be worse hit by poor hiring, large organizations are not immune. Yahoo! is a prime example of what can happen when an organization grows too big and when not everyone on the bus is going in the right direction. In Yahoo’s case, hundreds of under-performing “passengers” will be told to “get out and walk”.

We realized we weren’t alone in facing this “Mary Poppins” challenge. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available to help everyone with their difficult hiring decisions. Based on the advice given and our own experience, we identified three key attributes an applicant should possess in order to increase our chances of successful hire.

Firstly, they should be bright. They may not know everything, but if they’re bright, they’ll be eager to learn and if they’re hungry (driven) as well, they’ll be doubly so. Hunger is the second of our attributes. Seek out people with ambition and a plan of action; it doesn’t matter whether they plan to learn something or to help someone as long as they are driven.

And finally, the thing that separates the true stars from the rest of us is a special “something” in their character that makes them particularly well-suited to a particular position. For example, if you’re looking for an accountant, look for someone who’s got a passion for detail – someone who insists on taking that second look at that invoice before firing it off to the client. Admittedly, it’s not every day that we bump in stars such as these, but at least it’s good to know we’ll recognize them when we do.

Whether someone is bright or not, or whether they have a particular aptitude for a job, can be determined quite easily in an interview. “Drive” however is a “moving target” that’s more challenging to pinpoint. You really have to strive to understand exactly what motivates a person. Perhaps there are people in your company who are able bring out this kind of information from job applicants.

The important thing is to come up with a process that fits your needs and then apply it consistently with every applicant, no matter how impressive their resume or how charming they are in person. As your team gets larger and as you delegate this important responsibility to other team members…. But that’s another posting.

Rachel, Dmitry & Daniil

No comments:

Post a Comment