What You Want Is Clarity
“‘Cause I’ll tell you one thing, You can’t get what you want
Till you know what you want…” ~ Joe Jackson
It’s easy to forget or become confused about what you want in a busy world. Sometimes you just grab for what’s readily available like those mini Michel et Augustin cookies and that chocolate glazed Dunkin donut that makes you hungry again in an hour rather than the sprouted protein salad you really want. Or, reading celebrity trend gossip because it’s there and everywhere, instead of the Fast Company article you wanted to read that might offer new insights for a project. Sound familiar? One great challenge for busy business people right now is how to stay focused while hiring during ‘the Great Reshuffle’.
Across years of experience in retained executive search and coaching, I saw 5 kinds of expensive preventable mistakes that executive decision makers were making because they forgot to focus on or became confused about what they wanted. These pitfalls are still valid today. If you want to hire well and have the person you just hired stick around longer, keep these five situations in mind.
“How come the person we just hired isn’t around for meetings?” Because they weren’t hired to do what you have them doing, so they’re busy interviewing. One of the reasons this happens is a boss made the mistake of hiring for what will (might) happen in the future instead of for immediate needs and responsibilities. Best to hire for what the person will be doing when they join your organization or risk losing promising talent. Don’t hire for aspirational needs. The complaint around “not hired for this” was one of the top reasons my former colleagues and I would hear from an employed job seeker. Understanding these are unique times, what can you do if organizational circumstances change and the new hire has to fill in for a while? Alert them to how long this fork in the road will last. A few years ago, the new person might have given you time to create the situation promised; now you’re lucky if they give you a week’s notice.
“I really like this individual. I could easily see us schmoozing over a few beers” said many a hiring decision maker. This person made the mistake of hiring a buddy not a responsible executive. I remember getting a call from the HR Director of a male-audience-based cable channel. She told me the recent hire was well-liked but didn’t have the same style as the rest of the team. I had told the senior executive to look at fit, style, values when hiring. And, he had the choice of five candidates. The exec was more focused on who he wanted to grab lunch with, instead of who could do the best job. These days, if you make the “buddy” mistake, it’s not so easy to replace that hire.
“They just don’t understand they have to work with others.” When you’re hearing or saying this, it’s often due to a hire that has a great track record of being effective. That is if they can work on their own. If in your organization, it’s essential they work well with others and collaborate, interview and vet for that. I had to perform reference checks for every executive I placed; in the reference report I would highlight for the client warning signs for those who did not “play well with others”, like a disrespectful attitude. I saved many a client from this who were sold by charm, awards/accomplishments and a great appearance when what they needed was a team player like a John Stockton, not a Russell Westbrook.
“They’re great with following what’s been done before. They just can’t think on their feet when they’re put in a new situation.” In hiring for today’s unanticipated needs, if you are in an industry or company where things fluctuate easily and depend on a lot of factors outside your control, you have to hire someone who can operate that way. You’re looking for a “Chopped Chef” who can think extemporaneously as well as someone who can follow a recipe or improvise slightly. You are looking for a creative thinker and doer.
“But their former title was exactly what we were looking to fill….” It’s easy to focus on titles and assume someone has the skills you’re looking for, skipping the fine print where it says what they actually did. Titles vary from company to company. When hiring smartly look for the skills you need not the title. Also look for potential not necessarily exact experience. Exact experience would be making a lateral move and many get bored quickly when they “jump ship” to do that. These folks will not hesitate for anything that comes along and has more “bling”. Many a client was blind-sighted with a quick exit because they were so enthralled by a former title.
In the current job market, there are expensive mistakes that can cause work gaps, time, money, upheaval, and productivity if you don’t hire the right person. And it is so easy to make them. If you are a leader with clarity about who, what and why you really need before you start the vetting and interviewing process, you’re way ahead of the game. You’ll know what you want. And everyone in your organization will benefit from that.
Do any of these challenges feel familiar? Turnover, talent gaps, underdelivered expectations. Is whatever solution you’ve used previously not the right response for now? We can work together to gather the information and inspiration needed so that you and your team can be more productive, satisfied, and recognized. And, your bottom line will feel the results. There are three levels of service options within Golden Monocle™. To learn more and find what services suit your needs, contact me, Susan@SusanGoldbergLeadership.com .
My work as a leadership and communication expert has me go into organizations, as an outside unbiased view to look at the information gaps. Using proprietary and trademarked solutions including a team mapping tool, Collaboration Beyond Words™, I identify what an organization is missing that’s holding it back from thriving. Have practices become entrenched or no longer fit your plans for today’s workplace and goals? Contact me: Susan@SusanGoldbergLeadership.com Let’s talk.