10 Things that will Help you Hire the Right People
People are at the core of innovation. Its the most significant difference between a company that innovates and leads the industry and a competing company that follows or just staggers along at best. Malcom Gladwell in his famous lecture about challenges of hiring in the modern world, discussed the dilemma of mismatch when it comes to hiring people. He sites examples where NFL quarterbacks who did poorly on the Wonderlic test and in Combine like Terry Bradshaw and Steve Young. He cites the study conducted by University of Michigan Law School where it found that the criteria for the entrance into the law school had little to do with the professional performance of the lawyers. Additional notable examples include criteria for selecting airline pilots and teachers. It is clear that the methods commonly used today to hire are insufficient, outdated, and quite useless. This is more true for hiring for strategic positions that are supposed to lead the charge of innovation at a company. So the question is, how to hire the right people for your organization? In this article I will share with you 10 Things that will Help you Hire the Right People.
Who are you Hiring?
The answer is not quite as simple as one would imagine. There is no simple checklist or a test. Rather, here I will share with you lessons from research and experience that have proven quite useful when hiring practical thought leaders or innovators. But first let’s list a few roles I feel are ideal to lead and execute the charge of innovation. Remember, in most cases, innovation comes from the bottom and the middle of an organization. They are; product managers, software developers, designers, software architects, test or quality assurance engineers, surgeons, pilots, talent developers and coaches and the list goes on.
Here are 10 things that will help you hire the right people
- Subject matter experts make lousy managers. Take a brilliant software engineer and give him 12 people that report to him and he will fail.
- Take a brilliant mathematician and she won’t be able to hold a class’s attention for more than 10 minutes.
- Standardized tests and interview questions will generate results and responses that will not give clear indication of the person’s ability to perform in the real world or at the actual job.
- A deep-rooted subject matter expert with no other special skills or contradicting hobbies or special interests generally suffer from a tunnel vision.
- Generalists with variety of experiences (if trained well) tend to outperform their counterparts. Same is true to creative people.
- Its a myth that older (in age) professionals don’t perform as well, don’t work as hard or don’t put as many hours as their younger counterparts.
- The difference between real performance of a recent college graduate and that of a 20+ year subject matter veteran is the same as buying a bicycle and buying a car.
- The best measure of performance success is to let a person actually do the job for 3 months and perform in a team environment.
- First impression should never be taken as the last impression and therefore never judge a book by its cover.
- Professional referrals almost never work out (or leave people disappointed) and professional references can’t always guarantee a great performing candidate.
In speaking with several professional some companies are coming up with innovative ideas to help them hire the right people. Social gatherings, hack-a-thons, small projects, short-term consulting gigs, research projects, short presentations, group interviews to name a few.