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Hiring? Stop fishing in the same gene pool...

By MARTIN ELLIS Published 30th Sep 2013
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Encouraged by a world that often doesn't look much beyond tomorrow, we often make decisions in isolation that seem a good idea at the time - only to regret them later. I understand the Danish perspective is that "at least when I wet myself it's warm....." (I find the Danes have a very pragmatic view on the world!).

This got me thinking. In the last 5 years I've NEVER been asked to bring candidates that could do the next job up. Yeah sure, they say there's the possibility of promotion, but that's never examined or considered at the time of the interview. "Let's get the right person on with the right skills, experience and network". "Let's make sure this hire can hit the ground running". "We can't afford to think about the future, 'cos we got to get through today".

Well I reckon that's going to be increasingly poor thinking. Organisations looking to grow now have limited built-in capacity for the future. They have taken on for the job of today. Along with that has come people they feel safe with; people who fit the company culture. Organisational culture has become more rigid, and that's going to hurt those outfits who want to grow. To win, companies will have to be more nimble and light on their feet. The danger is now that change is going to be even more challenging at the clones march to the steady beat of conformity. Uh-oh......

So two pleas to all of you now hiring:

  1. Start thinking about taking people with transferable skills. Not all the time. Just sometimes. It doesn't take a lot of chilli to make a lively curry. It only takes a small amount of zest to bring life to something that was dull before.
  2. And from this point on, ALWAYS make an appointment where you've consciously considered if they have the capacity to do their bosses job. You won't be right every time, but it will force you to make more thoughtful hiring decisions. Some hiring decisions will better as a result, which means you will have a stronger organisation. You will have in-built capacity to cope with the growth that you will be looking for.

An old best-boss of mine introduced me to point 2. He was a very wise man. I had a better business because of it.

So DON'T bring in the clones. They will march on regardless. You will need some who can dance to new tunes. And those who were lighter on their feet always had more fun anyway.


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259 weeks ago, by Steve
Good words, and all agreed Martin. I've always suggested my clients hire someone with 80% of the skills, and train them the extra 20%.
If you hire someone with 100% skills, where are they going to go? In 6 months time they will be bored or unfulfilled and will move on again.
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