I recently re-read Good to Great by Jim Collins. In many respects I find the book simplistic. In this case simplistic is a good thing. It helps simplifies things that we all should think about.
One of Collins’ tenants is to put the right person in the right seat. If you do manage to get the right person and have them work in the job that’s best suited for them you are taking a step towards success. Getting the right person is an important step in helping you have a high functioning company.
The question becomes how do you go about hiring the right person for the right job? I believe having a system in place for knowing when the right person walks in the door is a crucial part of getting the right person for an open job in your company.
Your system has to be simple to use. I’ve seen many hiring systems that are likely very good. My problem with many systems is that they are just too complicated. I’ve learned that for a system to be used it has do be “operationally doable”. This means that people will use the system with at least some level of enthusiasm.
Here are the steps that I’ve used for years in hiring people to join companies I work with. I believe the system is a simple one that is easily implemented and used.
Start with a list of traits that you’re looking for. I have three main areas I think are important when hiring a person to join our company. They are:
- Fit Factors – These are the traits that make people successful in your company. Most of the time fit factors will be the same for any job that you have open.
- Will do traits – These are activities that your new person will enthusiastically do that will make them successful in the job.
- Can do traits – These are technical skills that you will need for success in the job.
Fit factors are the most important part of the search. Too many companies start with can do factors and don’t spend nearly enough time making sure their potential employees fit into their company. I find that unless you have a clear understanding of the traits all successful people have at your company you are unlikely to consistently find the right person to work in your company.
Next comes what your potential hire is willing to do. If you need a detail oriented person in a job and the person you’re hiring is actually highly creative you are likely to have an unsuccessful new employee experience. It’s important that you think about what the person has to do in the job and make sure your new employee is not only willing but enthusiastic about doing activities that will make them successful.
Finally we want to focus on technical skills of the job. I find the least important factor to hire for is technical skills. If we need a person who understands how to read blueprints that’s easy to figure out whether our potential hire can do so. Hiring errors often happen because we ignore fit factors and hire for technical skills first. This is how people who just don’t fit in with the company end up being hired and never work out well.
Having a system in place for getting that right person will help you increase your odds of success. Making sure your hiring system is operationally doable will go a long ways towards insuring you get the right person.
We have a great case study on hiring for unique abilities. I encourage you to download this report. You’ll learn how one company used this hiring format to improve the quality and stickiness of new employees. To get this report, click on the button below.