hiring people, two ways

You can write a detailed job description and then wait for the right person to apply. This is our list of skills we need. You will do X and Y, posses Z years experience, and here’s a smidgen about us. It’s very one sided. Plus, you’ve said a lot about your company, its bureaucracy, and its ability to take risks. No doubt, someone out there with those exact skills is waiting to jump through your hoops. It’s a time-honored method of hiring that’s worked for decades, more or less.

Or you can treat a job description more like a set of guidelines, not spend to much time perfecting them, emphasis it’s a partnership, and sell some of the future. Why would anyone want to come work with you? You are looking for potential, not just someone with X, Y, and Z. This person will help shape the company’s future, and yours too, if you let it. S/he should be more than the sum of the skills on a job description.

You are looking for a person who wants to learn, not someone who simply can learn. Ask, how did they get these skills and knowledge? Acquisition is important resource. Talk about how they transfer of skills; assemble knowledge, and their research methods. If someone can do X, then it’s probably they can do Y with the right coaching. No, maybe you don’t want to coach them right now, but you don’t want to hire someone just because they can do Y and nobody else can?

You want talented people, those with multiple talents, doubly so. You want those who can step up when needed and preferably lead. At least, look for leadership potential. You want people who know people. How to talk, how to listen, and more importantly how to schmooze! And be ready that someone might be better than you at his or her particular talent.

Remember, it’s a partnership. If you want talented people, your company needs to be heading somewhere. Have your “why follow me” pitch ready. Yes, their five-year plan is important, but so is yours. Most likely, they are already in a position, so why would they jump ship? The people you want are not sitting surfing the web employed reading your job description. If they are, tread carefully. If people emphasis money over opportunity, say no. You are hiring people for who they will become, not for that set of skills you encapsulated for the good of the bureaucracy on a document.


Image by juhansonin @ Creative Commons

Trip versus Journey

A trip is usually somewhere you have been before. A trip to the market! A trip to the post office. There’s usually a specific purpose or a goal. To buy groceries. To buy stamps. With a journey, there is more of an unknown element involved, a challenge if you will. A little mystery. A little risk. All trips can be journeys, if you let them. And all journeys can turn into trips, if you remove the challenge. Many want their journeys to be trips. They like the element of control. They like constancy. They appreciate change, just on their terms. Yet too much control hinders or obscures the learning. And if you end up taking the learning out of the journey, then it is just a trip. So, what’s it today, a trip or on a journey?

Image by -Snugg- @ Creative Commons