If you’re a manager, you’ve either already hired people or you’re going to be hiring people someday down the road. The simple question is how do you make your selection?. It’s actually not as easy as you might think, because many factors go into what makes a successful and productive employee.
When I was in the service industry, I had a great discussion with one of my clients whose company had an extremely rigorous process for hiring, yet it was mostly revolving around assigning points and ticking the boxes. When I asked him about cultural fit with the organization, how the person might complement the existing team, and other factors like those, he basically explained the process didn’t allow for that kind of assessment because those things were subjective.
Putting aside the point that any seemingly objective and rigorous system can be played with to achieve your desired results, it seemed to me that this approach to hiring staff would ultimately result in hiring people who weren’t really the best fits or even the best candidates for the role they were hired for or even for future roles.
In fact, people are highly complex and the interaction between people in the workplace is also very very complex. It’s not just about technical qualifications and ticking boxes.
While clearly there are areas where you cannot and should not go in your decision making, including discrimination, sexism, ageism and other issues, between candidates with the technical and experience you need, you should be able to determine which one has the subjective characteristics that will make them the most successful within the workplace. That may include whether they are team players, prefer variety or like consistency, are doers, thinkers, detailed oriented, big picture, wall flowers, aggressive, or other characteristics that may be important for the role.
I’ve had the same discussion with people about formal qualifications, education and certifications. In certain jobs clearly you would require specific certifications or formal education. This might be related to licensing or professional standards as an example.
In other cases, formal education and designations may not necessarily correlate with their work performance. Unless you’re hiring someone right out of college, their accomplishments to-date may be more important.
I actually prefer either deep experience or bright, intelligent, inquisitive learning type people who will excel at whatever they’re asked to do.
Having achieved several designations myself, I realize that they are not always as rigorous and difficult to achieve as one might think. The main thing they demonstrate to me, along with other educational achievements, is a willingness and interest to learn.
Also, many managers tend to gravitate to employees who are like themselves – in other words, they like familiarity.
In fact, too much of the same thing in a workplace can stifle creativity and solution oriented thinking. Instead, chose staff who are different from you and complement your team – employees who bring to the table complementary skills, approaches, viewpoints and enthusiasm that make the team greater than individuals.
Knowing full well what it really takes in the workplace and within a team to make things work, I wonder why companies do it the way they do, with rigid check box style approaches to hiring. I believe it’s because it’s easier to get the job done and easier to defend your selection, and even defend yourself when the new hire doesn’t work out.
The unfortunate reality is that you may end up firing more people and have a workforce that doesn’t really get you the results you want. It’s like a number of other things in old-school management, where the management tasks decisions have been designed to be simple, effective, foolproof and perhaps even lawsuit proof, yet ultimately are detrimental.
Unless the job requires cookie-cutter staff who are almost all alike, you need to be more creative and put more effort into your hiring process to get the right fit. You’ll be more successful in the long run.