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A Very Simple Hiring Principle

My favourite HR VP has taught me one thing (more than one but this will be with me forever), the Right People in the Right Place, at the Right Time. The principle is simple and this is what you should be finding out during the interview process. If you have that in mind looking for talent looks very different. 


How do we do that? Interviewing is not an easy task. You have to probe into the person's level of competence and motivation, you need to learn about them as a person, their strengths, and their circumstances to see if this is the right time for that role. That's why you need to structure interviews properly. Here is how. 


But what exactly these three areas are about?


Right People: This is all about finding the right vibe for people. You know, figuring out if someone clicks with a team or is up for the kind of challenges a role throws at them. Sometimes you've got folks with all the skills, but they just don't gel with the team or vibe of the place, or they're not really into tackling big challenges and just want to cruise through. Some folks thrive when there's a clear structure and routine, but they might struggle in smaller setups like startups where things are more loosey-goosey. On the flip side, sometimes companies bring in big shots from corporate giants hoping they'll bring order to chaos, but it often flops because it's a whole different ballgame setting things up from scratch. Then you've got the free spirits who love having room to breathe and hate being chained down by rules and bureaucracy. They might suffocate in big companies with tons of red tape. And creative types? Forget about it in a big, stuffy corporation. Then you have hierarchy, relationships, and politics to think about when hiring. Will the person get on with the chairman, owner or the boss they will be reporting to? In the hotel industry, many GMs fail because they don't get along with the property owners. Technically they are very good but their personality or management style differs so much that it is impossible to work together. 


Right Place/Role: This is all about competence. You have plenty of tools to probe into that but remember one thing; performance must be repeated for you to consider it. If I did something well once it doesn't mean I have the competence. Maybe it was the environment or I got lucky. To say, "Szilvia has what it takes to successfully open hotels because she did it 11 times." One or two openings don't prove that I have what it takes. So be careful with this massive mistake hiring managers and recruiters make. Sometimes you look at people's CVs where they write their achievements and notice they are all different. In one role (with the same title) they increased revenue, in another role they implemented a system and so on. So where is the evidence for repeated success in something? The best predictor of future success is not previous performance, it is previous repeated performance. 


Right Time: Now this is difficult because you must get into people's circumstances without invading their privacy and switching on your biases or empathy so you end up giving a job to someone who is not the best for the role but may have a sob story that talked to your heart. People's circumstances can make or break someone's performance. Parents with young children or people who need to care for others will struggle in roles that require extensive travelling or long working hours. Sometimes the company is going through major changes that cause uncertainty and is looking for people who can ride that. If the candidate is looking for something predictable and stable this might be the wrong timing for the match. Timing is everything! Some people just want a chilled role in a certain era of their career whilst others are ready to work their asses off. Or you have people who went back to University and now the 6 months a year travelling schedule doesn't suit them. When you recruit, you must find out all of these intricate details otherwise it won't end in a match made in heaven. 


Recruiting is hard because performance is circumstantial. You might not have the right level of competence but there is one person on the team who loves nurturing talent and bringing them up to speed you can hire that person even if he/she doesn't currently tick the Right Role box because you have someone to solve for that problem. But if you don't have such a person you better hire someone competent. Hiring is an art but the art is not only in your interviewing skill but your ability to understand the environment of the organisation and the team you are bringing the person into and the candidates' environment that will also have an impact on their performance. What you do is, match two environments and add competence to the mixture. 


PS: I have a friend who is going through IVF and is struggling in a role she has been successful for years. Her circumstances have changed so I told her that she needs to change the job because the two environments are not compatible and she will eventually get burned out or fired. It is not the company's role to adjust to her IVF situation. She has become incompatible with the job due to her circumstances. That's it. we don't need to overcomplicate it. 


Exciting news! My second book, "Blind Leading the Disengaged - From Kindergarten to Employee Experience," is dropping in April! It's a treasure trove of solutions and cool ideas to shake up your people management game. But before we get there, let's chat about where we're at now—The Corporate Kindergarten, as I spilt the beans in my first book. Check it out, and let's transform your workplace from a daycare to an awesome employee experience hub!:




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