In most businesses you’ll find a lot of emphasis put on skills and experience during the hiring process and in selecting the most ideal candidate to employ.
As a coach that works closely with business owners and entrepreneurs, I always recommend that my clients widen their scope a little bit more and pay attention to a few important aspects to consider when employing new people into their businesses.
We know that skills and experience are tried and tested – it gets the job done and gets the position filled – but, it isn’t enough to find employees that can really make a true impact.
Talent, Culture And A Paradigm Shift
If you’re building a business that requires people, which most businesses do, one of the most important processes will be your ability to find and hire quality people and retain them for a long time.
It’s certainly a crucial part of running a business, but what tends to happen is that most businesses will only interview for both skills and experience – which, we can all agree, is a bit outdated.
Skills refer to what the person studied, learned and whether or not they can do what it takes to produce results in their field; while experience refers to what jobs they’ve had, how long they’ve been in the workforce, which businesses they’ve worked for and what they’ve been exposed to in those environments.
It’s easy to measure these two attributes, as you can check who they’ve worked for and the duration; you can take a look at their body of work to get a sense of what they’re able to produce; and you can check their character through references.
But what often tends to happen is that when these people join the business, there comes a realisation that they’re not a good fit, culturally speaking and that they don’t have the right talent often required by the business. Talents can be considered one’s ability to do things naturally, their ability to learn and ability to take and adapt to criticism.
These attributes need to be paid far more attention when choosing the right staff and during the hiring process to get the best out of the people that help operate the business.
Incorporating Value Into Your Business Through It’s People
The first step that needs to be taken is to identify what your business culture is and what your company values are and being aware of this will allow you to have a stronger sense of the people you require to complement your business.
In the second step and during the interview process, you need to figure out how to test the culture and value that the person can bring to your business – figuring out whether they’re a great fit and that the candidate and company will comfortably dovetail; you need to ensure that you’re inclusive of both talent and culture.
I’m not saying that you should discard the current factors that are looked for in potential employees, but to pay more attention to attributes that might bring extra added value to your business. Make use of all four (culture, talent, skills and experience), rather than the traditional two.
If you had to do a proper test for these pieces, you could make the final decision as to how you would implement them: my suggestion being 25% for talent, 25% for culture and 50% for skills and experience – you decide what becomes more important in the right fit for your company.
By taking the traditional route, you could run into the risk that you employ someone who can do the work, but can’t communicate; or that can do the work, but doesn’t want to learn more; or who can communicate really well, but doesn’t want to do as much work.
You’re trying to find people with a natural ability to learn and adapt to new processes, that take on challenges and learn from them; what you’ll find is that talent and culture can’t really be taught, where skills and experience absolutely can.
More often than not, you can teach people the skills of the job that need to be done, but the ability to be a self-starter, to be autonomous, high-performing and to have a strong work ethic – are all things that can’t be taught; they either have it, or they don’t.
Honesty, Hunger, Humility, Happiness
The email delivery powerhouse, SendGrid, applies a healthy combination of what they call the “4 H’s” when hiring new staff and it’s worked wonders for them.
There are 4 cards and each one is rated from 1-5 to measure where they fit in with those attributes in the company. It makes the hiring process a lot easier and you’ll find more emphasis put on talent and culture, rather than just skills and experience.
In the workplace, you should look at employees that bring, or have a sense of:
These are obviously not the be all and end all in measuring who should or should not be an employee, but it is a pretty good start.
The Rotting Banana In The Car
A story that is etched into my brain, which gave me a nice chunk of insight into how skills and experience don’t necessarily correlate with values, talent or culture is the rotting banana story.
A few years back, I had a national key accounts manager that sat in on an interview with a potential employee that he considered hiring. The interview went well, I thought she had all of the necessary skills and experience for the job, so naturally thought that she’d be a great fit.
This is when it got interesting. Instead of simply thanking her, finishing the interview and letting her be on her way, he insisted that he walk her to her car.
I was expecting him to come back up to the office saying how brilliant she is and that we should pull the trigger and hire her. To my surprise, he said without hesitation, “we’re not hiring her.” I thought why not? She has the right talent, skills, a great network and ticked all of the proverbial boxes.
He said that I had to see the state of her car; that a black, rotting banana peel sat on the front seat and was just baking in the sun, probably emitting all sorts of foul odours. He was horrified at the state of her car and said that it meant she was disorganised, messy, can’t keep her head clear, that she doesn’t represent herself well in front of clients and that she’s put on a really good sales front for the interview and that deep down the car is a reflection of who she is.
I thought to myself, “that’s madness”, then he asked me if I saw her nails, which he pointed out were half-painted and half-worked. He firmly said, “she doesn’t take care of herself.” He pointed out that you want someone in sales that takes care of themselves, as they also represent you, or the company and judging by the state of her grooming and car, she’s not a good culture fit for the company.
This taught me the valuable lesson of always paying attention to how well potential employees take care of their car and of themselves. Sure, some people might have an off-day, but those small things can tell you a lot about a person and how they would fit in with your company.
Just in case you were wondering:
I keep myself well-groomed, healthy and fit and know how to best represent you and your business.
So if you’re in need of a great business coach, that also rocks up fresh and energetic – get in touch.
+2783 253 3339
Shit! This just reminded me that I need to go get that damn banana out of my car.
The joke is on you, because I have a kickass motorbike, just so I can avoid bananas.