Are You Hiring The "Right" People
Hiring the "Right" People
There is no exact science to ensure successful hiring despite those that claim otherwise. Sure, you can reduce your risk of hiring the wrong person by following certain strategies and criteria, etc., but in the end there are a few things that mean a great deal more than those.
I have had some good fortune in hiring what I call the "right" people. Certainly they haven't all worked out, but my percentage is pretty high and even those I was wrong on I didn't follow my own advice and hired them anyways and paid the price.
1. First and foremost a manager must be self-aware. The more self-aware you are the more likely you will hire people that "fit" your management style and "fill" your needs. I am very self-aware. I know exactly the type of personality and character that won't function well with me and I look for that during the interview process. While I am always looking for a diverse team (I don't want all Type A personalities for example), there is a limit to that diversity of personality that will function effectively within my work environment. As an example, I don't work well with individuals that are always explaining why something can't be done. I look for people who look for solutions. I often say to people, "Yes, based on our current process or model that won't work, but did you ever think of changing the current process or model?" Don't always tell me something can't be done. I'm ok with explaining to me why something can't be done as things are done currently, but then say so and offer me some ideas of how to overcome that issue.
2. I'm not a big fan of "I". I've been a team player my entire life and I'm not going to change now. I look out for those people who are always looking out for themselves and how they can advance themselves and I almost NEVER hire them. I can't say I'm perfect and I haven't accidentally hired one or two of those in my past, but I'm pretty good at avoiding them at all costs. If you aren't constantly giving credit to others or to your team as a whole, then you and I aren't going to work well together. You don't ever have to worry about being given credit. I give it out all the time. I'm proud to say that this has resulted in most cases with those working under me doing the same over time. It's habitual and when they see it coming from me so often, then they start doing it themselves. We don't "take" credit, we "give" it. Nothing is done in a vacuum. No one person makes or breaks the case. It's a team effort and you have to recognize that and practice making others aware of it as well. Me and my team can't function if our computers don't work, the heat isn't on in the building, the garbage isn't taken out...give credit where credit is due. Everyone plays a role.
3. I seek to avoid those who blame others. If I hear about problems from a previous work experience during an interview, that interview is pretty much over. Meanwhile, if I'm aware of previous work issues that you had to endure and yet you never bring them up and refuse to throw others under the bus, you've come a long way with me already and we haven't even started working together. I try and keep things in-house when it comes to issues and problems. I believe in the locker room code. What happens on the team stays on the team. That doesn't mean I don't make my superiors aware of issues, but I address them from the perspective of what we are doing to resolve them and rarely deal in names unless those names have already surfaced. A senior manager should not be micromanaging such issues. That is what he has me for. If he wants to micromanage, then he can have the job. In the end, the buck stops with me, so what difference does it make who screwed up on my team? I'm dealing with it and in the end I'm responsible for it.
4. Effort. I'm always looking for hard workers. I can excuse mistakes if they are made by those who give an arm and a leg on the job. Not everyone is equally gifted. Some have more talent than others. But effort is earned. You either understand that or you don't. I like the person who answers the phone late in the evening or texts me with updates or ideas late in the evening. I like those who are always raising their hands if help is needed and are willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. I always tell my staff that despite my flexibility when it comes to days off and hours worked, you will find yourself working far more hours for me than you did my predecessor and yet you will be in a better mood nonetheless.
5. Passion. I like to hire passionate people. Give me hard workers who are positive team players that don't throw others under the bus and are PASSIONATE about what they do and I will NEVER lose. If they don't believe in what they are doing or who they are doing it for, they will never be successful and time is just being wasted until you either have to fire them or they quit. This is probably what I look for most during an interview. Do they express any passion about where they previously worked? Though I haven't worked at the New York Daily News or Bogen in many, many years I still speak positively and passionately about my experiences there.
These are the qualities and attributes I look for when hiring the "right" people. Notice that in none of them does it deal with their knowledge of their field or area of expertise. Give me hard workers who are willing to learn and believe in what they are doing. You can train them later to know what they need to know.