HR Overhaul Part I

Don’t let the Perfect be the Enemy of the Good. 

I read a recent article in the New Yorker magazine that brought up some very good points about why hiring is so unacceptably slow. They talked about how HR and recruiters are looking for the exact perfect fit for new hires; they will interview dozens of people in their pursuit of perfection and then most times not hire anyone. I have seen this from personal experience. I have a long and successful career in Sales; many times when I go through the initial phone interview screening by HR they get all excited about my experience, successes, etc then there is that moment where they say: wait, you sold media advertising, not software/healthcare/research and they tell me that could be a problem. Companies are looking to fill any position only with a candidate that has the ‘perfect’ experience. This is not the way to go about hiring the best candidate, this is a lazy and ineffective way to find a replacement for someone that has left or in creating a new position. If a candidate has sold media branding that candidate would not be a good fit for a company looking to hire someone to sell media advertising for autos. I have heard stories from many people looking for work and I hear the same things from them; you always hear the advice that you should try to play up some of your experience to get a job. But employers aren’t looking for that, they only want to see the perfect candidate. Then, after interviewing countless numbers of people, wasting everyones time, most times they don’t hire anyone. I haven’t even mentioned the filters that are used for online resumes that block out about 80% of the people outright, because of simple words that are or are not on the candidates resume.

This obviously is not the way to go about hiring the best candidate for a job. Anyone looking to hire a candidate, whether they be a recruiting a VP of sales, needs to open their minds and understand what makes for a good hire. This open-mindedness includes more than just whats on paper, it really comes down to what talents people have. Talents are innate qualities that cannot be learned. Skills, on the other hand are learnable. So, using me as an example, my talents include knowing how to work with people, knowing the importance of building a relationship with a client/prospect, generating outstanding revenue, being able to listen to clients/prospects needs, being able to ask the right questions to what it is the client is looking for and having a self brand of trust. These are all things I excel at; these are also things people can’t be taught to do. I saw it so many times over the years when we would go through different sales training; most of my colleagues would follow the instructions to a T, not realizing that if you walk into a company with a scripted approach that will turn clients off. But I saw my colleagues, bosses, bosses boss, do that exact thing they were told to do by some ‘expert’. Needless to say they were never successful.

Hiring should be focused more on personalities, how you interact with your potential boss, how they interact with you. Prejudging people and only looking for the ‘perfect’ candidate is the wrong way to get the best talent thats out there. Right now companies have the upper hand in the hiring process, that won’t always be the case. My first piece of advice to overhauling the hiring process is to think out of the box, talk to and evaluate potential hires about their talents. Talented people are hard to find, the skills involved in learning to sell a different product are the easy part. I have been using sales as an example but I believe what I am talking about pertains to every job category out there, and also at every level.  We have unprecedented unemployment levels, companies hiring very few people and going about the hiring in completely the wrong way.

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One thought on “HR Overhaul Part I

  1. HR Departments interview people. The bigger the company is the more nonsensical and bureaucratized the process becomes. A friend told me recently that Google looks for MBAs in assistant positions and PhDs in (some) PR roles. This is hubris and “we can, so we do” to the absurd. The pursuit of perfection seems to be the mantra recently. Meanwhile, back on the ranch, I see people hired on the basis of their age (young) and their looks (good) constantly. And of course, every employer seems on the same page with the following discrimination: Why would we hired someone out of work who can start immediately when we can hire someone already working? I’d love the see figures on people getting hired…I bet 70% of them are working already.

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