…because some thoughts are worth remembering
My friend told me a rule of thumb for hiring a “winner” for a fund manager: ivy league graduate, and played a competitive team sport.
I like the simplicity of it. In these two factors, you can gauge the level of ambition and competitiveness, as well as the ability to work well with others.
Hiring is important because it’s an investment for the company. It’s a big price tag, and it’s an on-going financial commitment. It also has the potential to improve or ruin the existing team culture. It’s worth looking back on your hiring choices, which ones you consider success and why, but more importantly which ones you regret and what got you to hire them. It turns out that we are pretty bad at selecting the best candidates, because our emotions and cognitive dissonances get in the way. We fall in love with where they used to work (but what contributions did they really make there?), what you think they know, and we often hire them for their pedigree, as if we were selecting a breed for a dog. But when we decide to let them go, it’s often because of who they are: their personal traits.
A consulting firm came up with an algorithm for evaluating talent that acknowledges the different factors by separating the WHAT from the WHO:
Their method is for the hiring company to select several key words that describe skills they are looking for and ranking them in their importance, as well as a list of things you need the employee to do (revamp a department, improve productivity, etc.).
Having a good idea of the kind of person you want to get (who) and the type of things you want them to accomplish (what) before you start writing the job description should also help attracting the right talent.
Photo: A manhole cover in Berlin, Germany, depicting their key buildings. For a place with a very rich and complex history, they seem to know who they are, enough to boil it down on a manhole cover.