Thursday, January 28, 2010

Who Should I Hire? Part 1

Hiring new people can be a very challenging endeavor. Not only does it take a tremendous amount of time, energy and often money, but the rate of success is just not that high, based on the numerous conversations I have had with executives and managers.

In this week's post I wanted to share with you one of the most important lessons I learned over my 15-year management career...hire for attitude and train for skills.

I have shared that tidbit with many people over the years and they usually nod their head slowly in agreement, yet the look in their eyes tells me they're still not convinced. The reason is that it is counter-intuitive in some ways.

For example, you have an open position. The fact that it is open often means that there are others who are carrying the weight of the duties and responsibilities of that position until it gets filled. Many times it ends up being you, the hiring manager, who is carrying the bulk of the weight. So, what you want more than anything is relief! You want someone who can step in, take the ball and run with it. That seems to be the best answer...but only in the short-run, as too many of us have learned.

"But you don't understand," you say. "Do you know how much work it takes to train someone? I don't have time for that, " you continue.

No, you don't understand. Do you know how much it will cost in time, energy and money if you hire the wrong person? I have heard some HR experts say that a bad hire can cost six times the person's salary, or more! Can you afford that?

From my experience, most bad hires are the result of a lack of fit within the culture rather than a lack of competence. They just don't get along with the team, don't work well within the established system, don't have the right work ethic, etc. The problem is one of attitude and behavior, not skills.

More next time...

Seize the day!

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