February 13, 2011 08:31 PM ET
This article may be a tough pill to swallow for a lot of people because they may fall into some of the categories that I'm about to discuss. If that is in fact the case, perhaps you will get a new perspective and become a better employee, manager or business owner. Take the lid off, have an open mind, and lets dig in.
Hiring is an art. Here are my top 5 hiring requirements.
This is a big problem in the industry. Keep this saying in mind for later. "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach." Tweak this saying slightly and you have something.
What if it were "Those who manage, have done it."
How can someone make a skillful decision on a qualified candidate if they have never done the job they are applying for? Without this, a LOT of money can be wasted in a short period of time. I have never, and will never hire a manager, to hire the talent. I hire the real hands on talent first, and either train them for promotion, or let them determine who's most suitable to be their boss.
Unless you've been living on the moon for the past 10 years, you know that just about everyone changes their resume for the job they are applying for. Houston we have a problem.
Why would you want someone to tweak their resume so that it fits your job req needs? That's insane. Folks, you need to know everything they have done in the past. This helps you assess what their true capabilities are. If Jesus just had carpenter on his resume, because some hiring manager told him to "only put your carpenter work on there" wouldn't you be a little upset if you later found out that he could turn your water into wine? That brings a new meaning to the phrase, GOOD LORD!
Okay, I won't beat around the bush on this one. Interviewing someone in an environment they are not familiar / comfortable with typically leads to a chameleon affect. They are going to talk, mimic, and act as close as possible to those around them. Wouldn't you say that's going to lead to a misjudgement of character? No wonder people don't stay at companies for more than 2 years anymore. The first date was a dog and pony show for everyone involved. I personally believe that finding good employees should be like making friends. Find a common interest (the job need), pick a spot to hang out (coffee shop), and then start asking more in depth questions (casual interview) after everyone is comfortable.
Before hiring a candidate, Nike has them meet other employees out for a drink before making their decision. This is genius, and common sense, and makes perfect sense. You will get to see what a person is really like in an environment that is not on the company's terms. Conversation and knowledge will be exchanged casually, and it isn't a high pressure situation, like cornering a wild animal with a spear, as you peg them with questions that have little relevance to the job they are applying for.
Regardless of what you think you know based on the answers an interviewer provides you, you're most likely wasting your time with a majority of your questions, and here's why. Ready? They are going to tell you what you want to hear.
What are you basing your decisions on? Experience/qualifications, culture fit, stability, likeability, honesty, potential growth factor, affordability? Asking the applicant what the last business book they read is a total waste of time; unless they are applying for a teaching position at a business school. I've compiled a list of some of the dumbest interview questions I've found to date, and I had a little fun with the answers. I mean c'mon, who wouldn't want to give some off the wall answers to some of these questions?
Sometimes you can get 2, and 3 employees for the price of one. Find out what else they have mastered during their career. It may make, and save you lots of money in the long run.
What's the point in hiring a rock star, who is best in class at what they do, if you're going to just micromanage everything they do? I doubt the Sistine Chapel would have been what it is today, if the Pope called 3 meetings a day, and told Michelangelo which shades of blue to use for the sky.
Tell your crew what your goals are, then define the goals with them, and collaborate on a strategy based on the information their expertise has granted you.
The idea or definition of a manager will vary depending on who you ask. Theoretically, they are nothing but managers of time and efficiency. Managers can also be the biggest waste of money in a heavily silo'd organization if not utilized and watched carefully. Often, they can be nothing more than official interrupters of your hard working employees, and add no real value to the company. They love to have meetings, lots of meetings. Rarely, if ever do quality action items become of these meetings. Usually, their only real job, is to "manage people" and participate in meetings and conference calls. Now, this is a person who sits in meetings with his "manager" and they brief each other on all the things they are "managing" for the company (tasks, hirings, firings) etc. At what point, were business teams unable to determine what they should be doing, and need someone to do their thinking and prioritization for them? If you're a manager at a technology company, you need to understand that the more you interrupt your developers, designers, IT folks etc, the more you delay your projects, risk having them make more mistakes on what they're working on, and risk aggrivating the employee to the point of not wanting to work with you anymore. I know this is harsh, but out of the hundreds of technology folks I've met, and worked with over the past 13 years, this is the reality for the vast majority of them. As a manager, you obviously want your team to be as efficient as possible, produce quality work, and participate in creating a great culture in your work environment. To be a better manager, you need to learn how to think like your employees, figure out how to stay out of their way, while keeping them enthusiastic about their work. We know you want to have your meetings, and "see how things are going" but learn to keep that at a minimum. Instead of dragging your entire team into a meeting, why not pull in one person and have a brainstorming session, then send your ideas to the team to look over at the end of the day. Brainstorming with 20 people in a room is not efficient. That's 20x their hourly rate x 1 hour. So in essence you just burned 20 hours of company pay by putting all those people in a room. That's the same as having an employee sit in a room with you for 20 hours a week to brainstorm. How's that for efficiency? With all the emails, chats, taps on the shoulder, and scrums, managers can make it difficult for the producers to "produce". It's extremely tough to blanket all managers as useless, but I'd say the numbers speak for themselves, so lets have a look.
There are three common traps of non-action that managers must deal with.
Great ideas rarely come out of last minute meetings. I have always found it entertaining how managers think they can get great ideas and thoughtful answers to their questions by asking an employee to stop what they are doing (which probably has a deadline attached to it) to come into a meeting, to help them solve a problem they don't have an answer to. Oh, in 30 minutes. Now do that a couple of times per day, and you have a big day full of "not much done." I'll bet the majority of those employees are only thinking about what they have left to do for the day before they go home. How much work actually gets done during the coarse of a day at the office. See the next mistake.
Jason Fried is one of the foremost authorities on this subject. Sine he took the words right out of my mouth, just watch this video.
"The Home Depot Effect" is when a company's online business is lead by people with no real online experience. This stemmed from Home Depot completely ignoring their dot com as a major source of revenue up until the housing market crash, when their online channel made over 300 million dollars while being almost completely ignored. Home Depot made a last ditch effort to quickly ramp up homedepot.com to shore up more revenue. This is where Home Depot made costly mistakes. Allegedly, Home Depot copied the Lowes.com website, ironically just as Lowes did a redesign of their own website.
Finally when Home Depot saw the revenue potential of homedepot.com, they started a hiring frenzy. The problem was the people doing the hiring (hiring managers) had no idea what they were doing in the world of online marketing, and had no business or qualifications to make any legitimate decisions as to who was qualified for the jobs they were hiring for.
Managers overselling leadership with goals that can't be met, which leads to managers in failing, high pressure situations, which leads to managers taking it out on employees, either by ingratitude or possibly malevolent relationships, and that leads to a calamitous, and extremely discouraging environment at the Depot.
Recruiters, former employees, even current employees recognize Home Depot (homedepot.com) as one of the worst working environments in the tech industry. This is a company with a churn rate higher than a butter factory.
Hopefully, your company avoids all the costly mistakes Home Depot made, and we hope the Depot gets it together one day.