How to Hire People You'll Never Have to Manage
Resumes Are Nearly Useless
Most of our hiring practices were developed for the Industrial Age. But it turns out resumes are nearly useless and our hiring process is backwards. Here's four steps to turn that legacy process around.
#1--Business Beliefs and Culture Business Beliefs determine your culture. Beware the picture of the eagle on the wall with the clever saying. You don't create a culture; you just live out what you believe.
Before you ever look at a resume, test for Business Beliefs. Your best future Stakeholders will believe they should Make Meaning at work, not just money. And they'll believe that taking ownership of their job, processes, teamwork and results are fundamental responsibilities. Traditional employees believe they trade hours for money. Stakeholders believe they go to work to create Significance in the world around them.
Business Beliefs and Culture are everything, and you don't find these on a resume.
#2--Talent Unlike skills, talents are those innate abilities that can't be taught; a sense of urgency, attention to detail, silver-tongued communicator, ability to work alone or in teams, etc. Every job requires unique talents. Figure out what those are and hire second for talent, before you look at their resume. You don't find talent on a resume.
#3--Skills (Demonstrated) Resumes are a terrible place to find skills, too. You don't test for skills by sitting across from someone asking them if their resume is true. Have the person demonstrate whatever they are being hired to do. If they are good at it, they have the skills. If they don't, you have to decide if training them makes sense. Our company focuses on hiring talented people, because you can teach skills, but talent can't be taught. People who are highly skilled but untalented will never be great contributors.
#4--Experience If someone passes the first four tests, only then should you bother to glance (yes, glance) at their resume. Resumes are just obituaries about what someone used to do, and like obituaries, they are always embellished while downplaying shortcomings. Use resumes at the end of the hiring process to see if someone is a job-hopper, and to help you talk to their references about their stated experience.
We have it all backwards.
In order to hire someone who you'll never have to manage, who will take ownership and become a contributing Stakeholder, interview for these four things, always in this order:
1) Business Beliefs and Culture, then
2) Talent, then
3) Skills (test for them, don't look at the resume), then
But how does the traditional Industrial Age process do it? Backwards:
1) Experience--"We need someone fast. We won't have time to train."
2) Skills--"Their resume says they're good. They must be good."
3) Talent - Rarely looked at.
4) Business Beliefs and Culture--At best, an afterthought.
Is it any wonder we end up hiring Industrial Age style employees who need to be herded into office day care centers and supervised like seven year olds?
Key-Word Searches Are The Worst Possible Hiring Practice
Using software to do key-word searches as the first step is broken. The rationale is that there are always too many candidates and "it eliminates the 90%" who won't be a fit. But what it eliminates is great people who could be a perfect cultural fit, with all the right talents and possibly even the right skills. Instead it selects BS'rs who wrote the best, and possibly most exaggerated obituaries.
If you want to hire people you won't have to manage, throw out most of what you've been taught about hiring. Hire first for Business Beliefs and Culture, second for talent, third for demonstrated skills, and use experience as a tiebreaker. You, and the people who you hire, will all be happier and more productive.
Chuck Blakeman is the founder of Crankset Group, which provides business advisory for business leaders and companies worldwide. He is a TEDx and worldwide speaker, author of multiple award-winning business books, and a weekly Inc.com columnist and contributor to other major magazines and journals.