In 1991, Bill Belichick was turned down for the head coaching position of the New York Giants because he was a former lacrosse player and, according to the general manager George Young, a "disheveled-looking mess." Over two decades later, the New England Patriots, under Belichick, won six Super Bowls while the Giants suffered one of the longest playoff droughts in NFL history. Ray Handley, who was chosen over Belichick all those years ago, lasted in his role for an infamous two seasons.
Unless one can foresee the future, the success of a hiring decision is often up to the whims of chance. First impressions are not always accurate, and people change. In an age of rampant catfishing and scamming due to digital globalization, the hiring process--both for startups and Fortune 500s--is nothing short of nerve-wracking.
So, what is the secret sauce of smart hiring choices?
Max Shapiro, founder and CEO of PeopleConnect, has been in the recruiting business for over 22 years and has a knack for scoring a stellar hiring match. His mission is surprisingly simple: "I love helping people find jobs, and I like [to] help companies find people."
Here are three hiring secrets that will take your business from grim to great.
1. Make smart selections
Imagine that a friend of yours just proposed. It seems like a great match--they grew up in the same hometown, have good familial relations, and share a love of Pomeranians and sushi. What you don't know is that the proposee is a professional con artist your friend met three weeks ago.
Just as with relationships, successful hiring requires smart selections. "You can't coach height," says Shapiro, and "you can't coach brains." For example, if a movie producer needed a stunt double for a falling scene, they wouldn't hire someone scared of heights. Similarly, a doctoral committee wouldn't hire someone without a PhD. While some things can be learned, certain qualities must be innate.
2. Build a team
Smart selections do not mean hiring only daredevils and PhDs, however. Successful companies are not built from clones (unless you're Darth Vader). "It's like building a team," says Shapiro. "You don't want to have all guys in basketball who are only defenders or only guys who can shoot and not dribble. You've got to have matching personalities." When it comes to hiring decisions, diversity is a key ingredient.
3. Care about people
It can be easy to get caught up in the business of the hiring process and forget that you are dealing with complex human beings. One thing that sets Shapiro apart from other recruiters is that he genuinely cares about people: "I try to listen to what people want, and I try to help them find it." This simple principle is the key to successful recruitment. Rapport and relationships are the points of the game, and the real victory is when everybody wins.
In the minefield of modern-day recruiting, successful hiring requires a careful balance of strategic selection and empathy. But the goal gets clearer when you prioritize the common denominator: people. For more on hiring and valuations, see Veristrat.