Friday, February 5, 2010

Who Should I Hire? Part 2

This post is a continuation from a thought I began discussing last week. Read that first to get the context...

I learned to focus my interviewing on attitude and behavioral characteristics I wanted. The necessary skills became a secondary, albeit important, objective. Don't get me wrong. There are definitely times where a certain level of technical competence is required. I am not going to hire someone who has been in sales their whole career to be my accounting manager just because they have a great attitude. What I do mean is that attitude is the primary bar they MUST clear before I even worry about exploring their technical skills in-depth.

The next time you have an open position to fill, start by defining the attitude and behavioral characteristics that are crucial to success within your organizational culture and within the specific department or team. Get a clear handle on this first and foremost. If you've never thought like this before, get ready for some hard work. It is harder than you might think to begin thinking about people and positions in a completely new way.

Craft your interview questions to illicit responses that will make it clear as to whether or not they fit what you are looking for in attitude and behavior. If they pass that "test" then you can move on to the things you'd normally do to test the mettle of their technical skills.

There is an additional reason why I like to hire for attitude and train for skills. That way I don't have to break them of a lot of bad habits. As long as they have the fundamental technical training or knowledge, I'd much rather take someone a little green and teach them the way WE want them to do it.

How many times have you heard a person say, "Oh, that's not the way we did over at XYZ Company." I don't care how they do it. They can keep doing it that way. That's why we're killing them on market share and customer loyalty, etc.

So, what kind of person are you looking for? What attitudes and behavioral characteristics matter most within your organization? What kinds of questions can you ask to discern whether or not this person is a fit?

Seize the day!

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