August 17, 2013

An Open Letter to Hiring Managers, Recruiters and Human Resource Managers

Today's thought is to all the hiring managers, human resource folks, recruiters and those looking to add quality team members to their current adventure.

Many firms, you know who you are, have been searching to fill positions for months and months, looking for the perfect storm, that perfect person that meets all the criteria set forth in the job requirements. The fact that these jobs remain unfilled may not be a sign that that person hasn't applied yet, or that you just haven't found that one individual who will enter in walking on water, espousing every nuance, skill set, trait and background you set forth in your requirements. If you have been searching for over 4-6 months to fill a position, chances are the right person presented themselves to you, and you missed them. Now don't take offense and miss the rest of the message. Your job is not to be right, it's to be correct. We all have two ears and one mouth by design; to listen twice as much as we talk. If your task list doesn't end with the question, "What did I miss?" it's time to add that little gem at the end of each project, to do list or requirement list.

If you have been searching for months, have you asked 'yourself,' "Why haven't I found the 'messiah' of my job search?" It may be because requirements an expectations you have set for your company in its search for new people to add to the team are unrealistic and actually caused you to miss the 'diamond in the rough' because you were expecting a square peg to fit your pre-conceived square hole and when the right person for the job walked in, since they were round, you never saw them, heard their message, or realized the positive impact they could have on your organization. It may also be that your companies hiring practices and procedure are outdated and need to be reviewed and updated to today's ever changing environment.

A perfect example is Steve Jobs; he and Apple changed the world, but his company, putting rules, corporate procedure ahead of performance and results, tried to get it done without him, almost preventing him and themselves the chance to do that because 'he didn't fit the pre-conceived mold.'
He is quoted as saying, "Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently…they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius."

 There are many who have much to offer, but no opportunity to offer it. Were we to pay a bit more attention, looking out instead of in, we'd see many who have great things and talents to offer, but simply lack the opportunity to present their skills and gifts to the world and make an impact. The greatest thing you can do is to give someone the opportunity to shine. Never judge a book by its cover, never conclude without the facts, and never be certain in your judgment and assessment of what someone can accomplish or offer until you take the time, understanding and opportunity to allow them to contribute.

In order to find the diamond in the rough, one must take the time to examine, search, brush away the dust of their own, preconceived notions of what will work and what won't and be willing to be wrong in their assumptions and see the brilliant gem beneath.

I have found throughout the years that when I gave folks an opportunity to shine, hiring someone of character, heart, desire and passion, even if they were 'not as qualified' in skill set, I gained an employee who far outperformed those with the skill set, but not the heart, passion or character.
Skills and procedures can be taught. Heart, passion and character cannot, so change the way you think when looking to hire someone, or add someone to your team. And remember, you are not hiring 'a degree' you are hiring a person. A human, with all the greatness, or foibles, that come with being human. No piece of paper, be it degree or resume, will give you insight into that aspect of your prospect or applicant. Theory and classroom acumen never translate to the real world experience, and expertise, character and work ethic cannot be taught.

Additionally, one of the most important factors in understanding who it is you are interviewing or considering is, "Why they are available in the first place?" It, in my opinion is the most missed question and factors in determining who the person is. Common sense would tell you, unless you are interviewing someone who is currently employed, looking for career change, or they having been downsized due to company or corporate re-structuring, there is a reason that person in front of you is not employed. Regardless of degree or skill set.

Lastly, the best employees and performers I have ever trained and hired were those that came with depth of character and right mindset, willing to learn the job, the company, or skills and expertise I needed in them, rather than those who came with all the knowledge of the job, but lacked the knowledge of how to be the best they could be. The hardest thing to do, and the most unproductive to your company's goals, is to have your managers, team or dept. heads have to un-train all the bad habits one may bring to the position and then try to retrain them in he correct mindset and procedures in order to have them accomplish the duties of the position for which they were hired.

If we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.

Till next time,