Hire for Passion Instead of the Task

Thoughts of the day: When searching for new hires, lead with what your business is all about. Find job candidates who are already passionate about what your company does. Stop looking for last-minute job fillers. Make sure that current employees are good role models and start new hires on the right foot.

Thoughts of the day: When looking for new hires, advertise your company as well as the position. Make what your company does stand out. Look for people who want to talk to you about that. Be aware that people who come in looking for a job are different from people who are on a mission to apply themselves to specific kinds of work and market needs…

Look carefully at the background of people. Have they gone out of their way to learn about your company’s field of interest? Courses? Internships? Volunteered? If there is no connection, suggest that candidates seek out opportunities to learn about what your company does. Wait to see if they do. It’s okay to give out specific suggestions on ways to learn more about your industry. Offer to stay in touch, but take a pass on hiring until they show interest.

Most hiring mistakes happen when the company is desperate to hire, with no ready candidates. Look realistically at who might be with you a year from now and who might be gone.

Always be on the lookout for people who are passionate about the work you care about. Build a Rolodex of people to keep an eye on, from entry level to senior management. Go to industry conferences. Ask for referrals. Look for people who demonstrate drive and dedication, who take pride in what they do.

Look at the young professionals network for your industry. Line up candidates who are just getting their careers off the ground. Offer internships to find entry-level candidates who might want to grab on to your company’s dreams. Focus on people who want to know more about the mission and the opportunity that goes along with taking a job at your company.

Look for people who:

  • see challenges as having had a positive effect on their lives;
  • can face adversity and turn it into opportunity;
  • find a way to win, even in difficult circumstances;
  • know what it is to be appreciated; and
  • generally perform at a higher level because they expect more of themselves.

Once you’ve hired the right candidates, create an environment in which they can thrive. Have someone in charge of being the primary mentor for each new employee, make them your brand ambassador. Have them build a positive working and coaching relationship with each of their mentees.

Make sure you, your employees and managers continuously pay attention to the needs of others. Provide tough feedback when warranted. At the same time, express reassurance and concern for each person’s well-being.

Give people time and opportunity to learn more about what your company does. Nurture and feed their curiosity. Intersperse learning with doing.

Send people to classes, industry conferences and workshops so they can grow their skills. Encourage people to practice. Look for people who readily engage and who use a schedule to get in enough practice hours. Look for people who seek out opportunity to improve. Reward people by increasing their knowledge so that they can contribute more and have a greater role in the future.

Encourage downtime. People need to get away to recharge. Look for people who value time away, but also can’t wait to get back after recharging. Start, in interviews, to look for this pattern of downtime and re-engagement, accompanied by a long-term commitment to seeing things through.

Looking for a good book? Try “The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working: The Four Forgotten Needs That Energize Great Performance” by Tony Schwartz.

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