Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Another Dimension To Hiring Beyond Skills

Last week, we talked about hiring and the fact that, generally speaking, hiring for attributes like passion, values, expectations, and talent rather than basic skills will serve you, your team, and your entire organization better in the long run.

In writing last week’s post, I was reminded of an article that Dave and I published some time ago on the ECI Learning Systems website. I think that article, which I’ve shared below, adds another important dimension to our hiring discussion..….

We were recently working with a client and were discussing the fact that he was preparing to do some hiring. He had only hired a few people on his own in the past and frankly, wasn’t all that happy with the people that he had hired. Our client has a technical background and was good at spotting technical talent but he found that just because people had the talent to do the job, didn’t always mean that they could or would work for him successfully.

The truth is that there is much more to hiring and building a successful team than just hiring people who have the talent and skills to do the job. You don’t have to think hard to identify some talented under-achievers in just about any field. Likewise, you can probably think of many examples of over-achievers who seemingly lacked the natural talent, yet somehow always managed to rise to the top.

When you are hiring for specific skills, you need to make sure that your candidates have the right talent and skills to succeed. If you’re hiring an accountant, you want to make sure your candidates have the accounting degree or equivalent experience to do the job. The same would be true of a salesperson, programmer, or customer service representative. Step one in the hiring process is always, “Does this person have the skills and talents to do what I need them to do?”

But what happens after that? What else do you look for when you are making the critical hiring decisions?

The list of attributes can be long, but let’s focus on four things:

Integrity – adherence to a moral or ethical code
Energy – will take action and make things happen
Coachability – can be further trained or developed
Team Oriented – willingness to put the teams’ goals ahead of their own goals

If you hire somebody without integrity, you really want them to be dumb & lazy. ~Warren Buffett
If we could choose just one attribute to be used for hiring, it would be integrity. When an employee has integrity, you know that this is an employee you can trust.

Trust to tell you when they can’t accomplish something.

Trust to tell you when they don’t think you are right.

Trust to do the right thing for your customers.

When you can trust your employees and your employees can trust you, you have then truly built the foundation for a great team.

I think this article expands our discussion of hiring attributes even further.

Beyond skills…beyond having a passion for your organization’s mission…beyond having values and expectations that are a critical fit with your organization’s culture and values…and beyond having unique talents that will make them an invaluable long-term employee…there are other, more personal, attributes that are important to your organization and should not be compromised in the hiring process.

We mentioned 4 of these personal attributes above: integrity, energy, coachability, and team-oriented attitude and behavior. Do these attributes resonate with you? Are there other attributes that we did not mention, which are critical to your organization’s values, expectations, and mission? Do you currently explore these attributes in your hiring process? If so, how do you determine if a potential employee has “the right stuff”?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on hiring and how you handle this critical process in your organization.

At ECI Learning Systems LLC we are dedicated to improving productivity and profitability by creating engaged organizations. Our unique combination of training and personalized coaching, combined with our expertise in assessments allow us to create a development plan tailored for your success.

Until next time….

Laurie Valaer
ECI Learning Systems, LLC

1 comment:

  1. Laurie,

    You hit the nail. Skills and talent are important and in many cases depending on the level you are hiring for...can be taught. Much more important is hiring for character.

    Keep up the good work,