Don’t Fall Into This Common Hiring Trap
If you are like most people, when you have a new position open up in your company, you go to HR and you pull a standard job description that’s focused on the essential skill set the job requires. You review candidates based on the skills they possess, and then you you’re your selection. Even then, with proper vetting, it’s still something of a leap of faith. The person you ultimately select might be a great hire, or a total disaster.
What if there was a way to tell beforehand? Perhaps not with 100% accuracy, but with more certainty than you have right now, would that be of interest to you? If so, then keep reading, and we’ll let you in on the secret. If you basically follow the outline above when it comes to hiring for your company, you’ve been doing it wrong. What follows is a “life hack” that can be applied to the workplace.
Flip The Script
The thing that’s tripping you up is the focus on skills. That might seem a bit surprising, given that your future hire will need a base level of knowledge and skill in order to perform the job in question, but the real test is how he’ll mesh with the team you’ve already got in place. Sure, basic skills are essential, but as to the particulars, those things can be taught, usually as you go and in iterative fashion. What can’t be taught is team harmony. If you introduce what amounts to a bomb into your department’s mix by hiring someone with a personality that just doesn’t mesh well with the rest of your group, then it’s no wonder that the person in question would be a hiring disaster.
The problem that most managers have is they get so hung up on particular skills that they forget to consider the team dynamic and how it will change with the addition of the new person. For that reason, it’s a good idea, if you can arrange it, to introduce any new candidate you’re seriously considering to the team. Maybe treat your candidate to lunch and have him sit with the crew, just to observe how they interact. You can’t teach team harmony and balance, and if you stop to consider hiring disasters you’ve had in the past, odds are that you’ll realize many, perhaps even most of them had less to do with a “bad” employee who was lazy or incompetent, and more to do with the fact that not long after you hired that person, the team was no longer cohesive.
These days, you can’t really get away with being a true Jack-of-all Trades. This is especially true in IT, where everything is becoming increasingly specialized. Even so, as much as possible, rather than obsessing over specific skills, focus on how the potential hire “meshes” with your existing team, and trust your instincts where that’s concerned. If you need to, you can have one of your senior people serve as a mentor to the new hire for the first month or so, until he gets up to speed. Do that, and you’ll find that the number of “disaster” hires you make declines significantly.