“How I Hire” – Mantra & Messages of many!

Recently a social media has invited articles on “How I Hire” from eminent leaders and authors. So, a spate of articles surfaced on this platform. Lot of good ideas and counsel has been shared on how to hire best in class or best fit. Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of GE sees the best potential in those having what he has termed as “Generosity Genes”, apart from other qualities.

After studying above articles, 2 things crossed my mind:

  1. With so many brainy ideas floating, how hiring managers would decipher and decide what to absorb and adopt?
  2. Any organization – business corporation or others – actually hires only a very few best and most hired are medium performers!

Let us dwell on these 2 points more.

Brainy ideas are Best only when most can interpret and implement!

If one surfs for above or any other topic on net, she (no gender bias) would find plentiful of ideas and details. I am not sure whether readers can really decipher what is best for them. I see, on the other hand, plentiful of confusion and illusion! Lot of ideas and illustrations, coined as “out of box”, are actually “old medicine in a new wrapper”!! Then, what is good or great for one is bad for another.

We need to follow one simple and universal rule – the Best is one which most can relate, interpret and implement! Please note the emphasis on “can”!! Most can do everything; but what they actually don’t do is to implement and hence this emphasis.

Relevance of middle order!

Hiring the best among a lot being interviewed is really no great deal! Best would always stand out and be visible. Yes, if you are lucky to shortlist more than one, then your challenge would be to take a right call for who you eventually select.

Notwithstanding the above, more leaders and authors talk about how to hire the best. Efforts to hire only the best defeat the purpose of an organization’s success. A group of Best cannot deliver the Best; a good blend does! It has been witnessed time and again that presence of many bests together can only create chaos and confusion. Those organizations are immensely successful, who push for well woven team at middle level led by an able captain!

This means a paradigm shift to how to hire “dependable medium capability employees” in a bigger number, who form the backbone of an organization.

Characteristics of hiring manager determine those of hired!

Are you surprised at this? It is a bitter truth day-in and day-out! An autocratic hiring manager would love aggressive and dominating candidates. A democratic type of manager can never settle for autocratic or dogmatic individual.

It is another universal rule that “Traits of an individual deeply influence outcome of the task in hand!”

To overcome limitations from traits of a hiring manager, it is best to form a panel of 2 or more interviewers. Time and again, I have come to same conclusion that an organization needs a really competent and smart HR manager. It is HR, who should have the ability to select/recommend a good mix of traits in the interview panel to get great results.

Another important aspect is coaching of hiring managers on how to hire and banish their biases, when they sit on decision for someone’s career/fate!

Flatter and flirt with many; finally only few matter!

It is a constant obsession that we vie for many; but don’t know what to do with those. In the same vein, talk of selecting a leader, leaders and writers would come out with 9 to 49 qualities to be considered! What to make out of those; none has good answer!!

So, forget flocking for many; keep it simple – just few, which are mother for most (qualities or characteristics)! Here below are just 4 qualities to look for, once you have established that a candidate is technically competent, to make your hiring most effective.

Sincerity

This quality leads to:

  • Integrity
  • Commitment
  • Empathy
  • Transparency
  • Team spirit and many more

Analytical

It promotes:

  • Attention to details
  • Innovativeness
  • Meticulousness
  • Conflict management
  • Well organized, when coupled with sincerity

Focus

It brings:

  • Passion
  • Decisiveness
  • Ownership, when coupled with sincerity
  • Confidence
  • Presence of mind

Energy

It powers:

  • Courage
  • Dynamism
  • Pride, when coupled with focus
  • Diligence
  • Drive

Just 4 questions could seal your selection!

You need to focus on 4 key or killer questions, once you have understood the background of candidate in her language and reasons for seeking to get hired:

  1. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
    Dwell on each by looking into eyes of candidate; you would be able to understand her Sincerity.
  2. How are you using your strengths and overcoming weaknesses?
    Get into details to understand her Analytical abilities.
  3. Narrate toughest challenge, she has encountered and how did she manage?
    Counter question and observe her body language to understand her Focus.
  4. If selected, how would she lead the role/responsibility and make a difference to organization?
    Her excitement and flow of answer would reveal degree of Energy!

So, it is surely safe to be with S.A.F.E. – 4 qualities and 4 questions!

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9 Comments
  • Milind Medhekar
    Oct 17,2013 at 5:42 pm

    Dear Mr. Lohia,

    How are you? We are corresponding after long time.
    It is really nice to read your analysis on recruitment. And I fully agree with you. I do hire people for our organisation and as our organisation does not have proper HR dept. the decisions are left to individual managers. You are right that the best candidate may not be the best option for an organisation. In fact, I try to select among the short-listed candidates the one with correct attitude – even if there are small deficiencies in other areas. Because, if attitude is correct, then other things can be learnt, but not vice versa.

    One question I ask the candidates to see their sincerity is: Tell me about the biggest MISTAKE you have done at work-place. This unsettles many and true character might be judged then.

    However, I have not yet found a right question to ask to judge the overall attitude in one or two hours of interviews.

    The search is on.

    Regards,

    Milind

    • Oct 18,2013 at 1:02 pm

      Thanks a lot! I highly appreciate you sharing your ideas and practices for hiring!!

      I must mention that you do have a very right approach for hiring and asking a relevant question. As regards assessing the attitude of the candidate, let me share my thoughts. Attitude of a person is closely linked to degree of his/her sincerity and focus. Energy level also has an impact. Please think over by going into depth. Perhaps you would discover the same. So, if you rely on S.A.F.E. and a candidate scores on each of 4 parameters above 50%, you could be safe with his/her attitudinal aspect!

  • Rudra
    Oct 7,2013 at 6:39 pm

    So do you mean to say many organizations calculatedly recruit “medium capacity” employees just to set that proper blend? If yes, this surely eradicates one of my biggest questions ever as why companies, at-times, recruit indolent people!! 😀

    “An organization needs a really competent and smart HR manager” – couldn’t agree with this sentence more!!

    So… does this SAFE formula apply to both – medium capacity and high capacity employees?

    Having agreed to your post, many times we have seen companies hiring just about anybody and everybody when there’s a crunch or bottleneck situation in their organization. Do you advocate this?

    Well, I was a result of such situation but I am not saying that I am incompetent by any stretch of imagination!! So… see… even while recruiting employees almost frenziedly, you can end-up in having a GEM!! 😀

    • Oct 7,2013 at 10:31 pm

      Many thanks for your frank views!

      I have not meant to say that organizations purposely recruit medium caliber employees; but they do need to, otherwise how can you create a blend?

      Yes; S.A.F.E. applies to every rank; but the degree would vary. Top ones would have all 4 in higher degrees; whereas mediocre may have 1 or 2 of these in higher degrees and rest in lows.

      No; I would never advocate hire recklessly. As a matter of fact, I would not advocate recklessness for anything, leave alone need to hire!

      I can only appreciate your confidence in being a gem!!

  • Subhash Deshpande
    Oct 7,2013 at 8:45 am

    Dear Murlisir
    I found this article really interesting & coincidentally me & my friend recently had a talk on the recruitment styles now a days.I felt while hiring for a new candidate wheather a fresher or an experienced one ,while interviewing the Specialist in that concerned post must accompany the HR person to know the exact capabilities of that candidate( He will have to find out how much technically he knows or grasping capacity he/she has for particular job position —weather its a technical or non technical position) These days overall confidence & personalty aggressiveness of candidates have changed, which can create a pseudo impression on the interviewer ( As if he can do the best job just because of the confidence !).REAL SKILLS & QUALITIES must be scrutinized with the existing expert from the specialist in that field.( Also
    Also I feel some candidates can perform best once they get training because some have endowment factor of a particular subject which remains undeveloped or underdeveloped because they don’t get opportunity!( We can think of Trainable Person)

    Please kindly guide me for any mistakes or misperception regarding this topic on which I have expressed my thoughts.

    Regards

    Subhash Deshpande

    • Oct 7,2013 at 10:17 pm

      Many thanks for sharing your thoughts and giving me an opportunity to add mine!

      I don’t see any mistake or misconception in what you have stated! HR person or manager should in any case be the 1st one to interview or be the part of interview panel. This is usually taken as done.

      Yes, as also mentioned in the post, a candidate can manage to create a false impression. Therefore, the post talks of suitable training of interviewing manager. Leaving judgement to one individual, unless one is really free from biases and is competent of fair decision making, does pose challenges and therefore, the suggestion for having a panel of interviewers.

      Candidates also need to get trained how to present themselves in an interview, not merely to get through but to generally improve their skills to present!

  • Subhash Deshpande
    Oct 7,2013 at 8:43 am

    Dear Murlisir
    I found this article really interesting & coincidentally me & my friend recently had a talk on the recruitment styles now a days.I felt while hiring for a new candidate weather a fresher or an experienced one ,while interviewing the Specialist in that concerned post must accompany the HR person to know the exact capabilities of that candidate( He will have to find out how much technically he knows or grasping capacity he/she has for particular job position —weather its a technical or non technical position) These days overall confidence & personalty aggressiveness of candidates have changed, which can create a pseudo impression on the interviewer ( As if he can do the best job just because of the confidence !).REAL SKILLS & QUALITIES must be scrutinized with the existing expert from the specialist in that field.( Also
    Also I feel some candidates can perform best once they get training because some have endowment factor of a particular subject which remains undeveloped or underdeveloped because they don’t get opportunity!( We can think of Trainable Person)

    Please kindly guide me for any mistakes or misperception regarding this topic on which I have expressed my thoughts.

    Regards

    Subhash Deshpande

  • Murli Lohia
    Oct 6,2013 at 5:12 pm

    Nitin Lokhande

    COO at Educate To Automate (ETA)

    On 10/05/13 9:42 AM, Nitin Lokhande wrote:

    Lohia Sahab,

    Very good analysis, yes if good communication is established while interviewing the candidate on these four questions, judging the candidates capability for the given position will be very easy. Also after recruitment grooming becomes further easy throughout career path, where HR plays vital role.

    Regards,
    Nitin Lokhande

    • Oct 6,2013 at 5:14 pm

      Many thanks for your valuable feedback and views!

      What you have stated is very true and apt. I appreciate your interest.

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