How to select the right person for a job?
Clothes may maketh a man, but man maketh an organization- more so the right man (or person to be politically correct). Clearly, the most important decision that an employer makes is reflected in his/her hiring choices. The fundamental factor for sustained business success is picking the right people. In mathematical terms, the right human resource is a multiplier and the wrong one is a divider.
Therefore, the right selection is a crucial business process – it is the first level quality control.
Organizations like Google place overwhelming emphasis on employee selection, to the extent of favoring the hiring account over training budget. In such high achieving organizations, selection processes are exceptionally elaborate and rigorous, with involvement from the highest levels; hiring is never, or at the most rarely, outsourced.
While each enterprise has its own evolved selection process, some basic observations should be kept in mind while hiring.
Knowing the difference between ownership and sincerity:
It is an important criterion by which intelligent selection can be made. It is as simple as the difference between doing a task and achieving a goal. The former would be sincere; the latter would mean ownership of the said task, which begins with acknowledging the problem, taking responsibility for it and finally finding a solution. An individual can make mistakes but as long as there are course correction and learning, a person with the right profile is responsible for the problem and for the success. Responsibility equals ownership.
A sincere person will readily accept that he/she is wrong because he/she possesses that “honesty of mind” and maturity to learn from these mistakes. And other people respect that honesty. It builds confidence and trust, two must-haves of a good worker.
Taking ownership is about taking initiative and taking responsibility for the quality and timely outcome of a task, even when you are working with others. Taking ownership is telling others,“You can depend on me to get the thing right.”
Do not pay for what you can; pay for what you can’t:
Interviewing candidates based on their resume is a given. It is taken for granted that the potential candidate has the requisite skill set and experience. The trick lies in how to further shortlist.
If a seemingly right candidate is short on knowledge and skills, they can always be inducted in a training programme–which begets the question, why pay for what you can do. Hire a candidate who brings something with him/her that cannot be taught. This something is called “constitution.” The constitution is intrinsic in a person; it is his/her values, beliefs, attitude, and perspective towards work. These are the elements that will define his/her contribution to work. A large portion of what makes up a right constitution is universal; some part though will be contextual to the industry, the stage of evolution the organization is at and its value system.
Do not be under the illusion; you are not in a transformation business:
Hirers need to understand that they may not have the wherewithal and time to effect a change in the hired candidate, more so against his/her wishes. You can lead a horse to water, but cannot make it drink. Hence, it is crucial that this choice is made at the selection, not after.
Right selection is a skill that employers need to hone: Although the art of right selection is so fundamental to business success, ironically, the world over, interviewers are rarely trained in “quality interviewing.” They are also rarely measured on their performance - except a few organizations. Once again the example that comes to my mind is Google.
A right person is distinguished by his/her constitution and attitude; not only through their academics, knowledge or skills.
There are five distinct attributes of a Right Professional in the business context, sometimes in the order mentioned below but not always:
- Independent thinking
- Learning ability
- Problem-solving ability
A business may have a robust infrastructure and efficient systems in place, but if you don’t recruit employees who can perform, the bottom will eventually drop out. The selection and subsequent hiring of the right employee (or team member) is a fundamental process for business success. It is not so much recruitment as a process of quality control.
Hiring is undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges companies face and at the same time, one of the most rewarding business processes. Getting it right the first time helps avoid costly and time-consuming repercussions enhance the affected area and have a positive impact on employee morale, thus eventually impacting productivity and profitability.