012 - How to Hire the Right Person


  • The difference between title and outcomes
  • Recruit hard, manage easy. Recruit easy, and you'll end up managing hard.
  • My top three criteria for hiring new people.
  • Complex recruitment processes sometimes miss the boat.




I haven't had to recruit very many people over the years, but I do understand the challenges in getting the right person for the role.

Today, we look at what to look for most, when hiring new people.

I once asked a group of Telecom fault call centre employees what they did for a job. I was facilitating a session on excellent customer service and we had just got started for the day.

In asking, "What do you do?" I was trying to get an idea of how each person saw themselves and what they did. 

The first guy said he 'took faults calls.' 

The second lady said she was 'a customer care rep in the faults call centre.' 

But the third guy was onto it. And, not coincidentally, he was the most positive and energetic. 
He said, "I help customers sort out their phone problems so they can get on with their work as soon as possible."

Now he was onto it. 

And let me ask you this: If you were recruiting people for that role, which of the three would you hire?

Recruiting: A Common Challenge

I'm not at all an expert on recruiting and hiring people. There are plenty of specialists out there for that. 

But I do find that a common challenge many managers have is how to recruit the right people for the job and the culture of their team or business.

There's a saying I heard once: 

Recruit hard, manage easy. But recruit easy, and you'll manage hard.

In essence, it means make the effort to get it right at the start and you won't need to do so much motivating, training, goading or incentivising afterwards.

Recruiting Criteria

If I was recruiting people for a job in my organisation, I would certainly look for the following (and probably in this order):

1. Reliability - They did what they said they would - called me on time, sent me what they promised, arrived on time and were prepared. They have clear integrity.

2. Keenness - They showed an appropriate level of interest and keenness to do the work and find out more about it, and to be a learner per se. Not a show-off.

3. Perspective - They were able to articulate what the work was all about in terms of the reason for it and the outcomes it was there to help bring about. Not the title and the job, but the purpose and the point.

I've found that almost everything else can be trained.

I've also found that people who have all the right technical skills and qualifications can still comprehensively lack the interpersonal ability, curiosity and openness to learning that is central to success today. And then they become a management challenge...

Don't Shoot Me, But...

Now, skilled recruiters might look at my list and say that these are nice, but they aren't always the best predictors of ongoing success in a role.

But from what I've seen over a 20-year period, and in myriad talks with managers in that time, the complex criteria and processes that are often used by corporates, don't seem to be reliably producing the best outcomes.

I'm just saying.