I was reminded this week about the importance of getting it right when moving through the hiring process and how fortunate we are today now that we have some really great tools to help us cut through the noise of interviews.

Yes, hiring people is more than just relying on

  • a gut feeling
  • a resume with relevant experience
  • someone who’s hungry
  • whatever the rationale du jour is…

Oh, how easily we can be fooled by someone who is charismatic and has all the right skills and experience.  Have you heard the adage about the candidate who was so convincing they got the job and that was the last sale they made?  I have been there and then I learned that style is not the determining factor, rather results are really all that matter.

Salespeople, VP Sales, client service professionals…come in all different sizes and shapes.  Don’t be fooled by the packaging.  You need to remove the wrapping paper and see what’s inside to really know what you bought.

I submit to you that it’s not so easy and that hiring is scientific…at least, we can apply some science to the process to help balance out our other less scientific methods. There are many great tools at our disposal.  For example, I have used a great tool over the years – The Predictive Index – that has been an enormous benefit to me. Tools like PI allow a business to cut through the noise and focus in on the qualities and profile that matters for success.

Someone who is good at building relationships may not be able to close a complex sale.  How would you know that without some objective evidence? I was reading a blog post today about how the CEO of RBC makes hiring decisions and even he focused more on classic question and answer techniques.  Questions are fine, but they are situational and can be gamed. Isn’t it more important to identify core qualities that are authentic?

If you want a hunter for an early stage company you can’t afford to waste time trying to convert someone who needs lots of structure and guidance when time to market is time sensitive.  This person may have been terrific in the interview, said all the right things, but you missed it if you didn’t understand that this person was not a take charge, problem solving beast.

Human capital is all we have when it comes down to good execution.  Leverage the tools that are all around you to apply some science to the hiring process.  It will be worth it.


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