Should We Stop Looking For Team Players?

Steve Jobs

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Jeff Altman, a recruiter for many years, shared this viewpoint in an article:

“Stop looking for team players. When you do, you announce that you don’t want people who can think and want people who are docile and obedient. You’re saying that Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Michael Dell and a host of others should never apply to your firm.”

What do you think about that?

Do you think we should take “team player” out of the hiring equation?

Let’s look at this a bit.

If you’re looking for someone who will bring brilliant ideas to your company and you don’t care if he roughs up your current staff — then, well, have at it.

I imagine some of the greatest businessmen and women and some of the creative giants were difficult to get along with.

But may I emphasize the word: “some.”

Yes, some of the greatest leaders and creators in our world have been deficient in people skills.

Some.

I would say, however, that most of them have brought exceptional quality to both their creativity and leadership and to their ability to get along with others. We just don’t hear about them as much, do we?

If you get the idea that you can and should hire someone who is brilliant but is somewhat or even very abusive, then you’ve decided to be in a continual state of juggling his worth versus his harm to your company.

Here’s a very simple and direct question:

Is it possible you can find a brilliant individual, someone capable of bringing dramatic, positive change who also possesses that not-so-elusive ability to get along with others?

You can certainly answer that for yourself.

Here’s my answer:

Absolutely.

When you encounter a recommendation to undervalue qualities that you know are essential to your way of doing things, think twice and even a third time before you accept that advice.



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Would You Let Your Son or Daughter Marry Your Applicant?

Proposal

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Okay, I realize this is a pretty stiff measurement to use with an applicant, but it is an interesting one.

You’ve read over his résumé, you’re verified as much of it as you possibly can, you’ve tested him on IQ, Aptitude and Personality, you’ve checked with previous employers and you’ve done several in-person interviews with him.

So, would you let him marry your daughter?

Your daughter’s not old enough to get married? Okay, you know what I’m talking about here.

How much do you trust this candidate?

Well, you can ask yourself in a variety of ways how much you trust someone, or you can simply ask yourself would you let him marry your daughter.

Would you approve of her marrying your son?

If your answer is yes, then that really tells you something about the candidate.

If the answer is no, then the next question is “how much of a ‘no’ is that?” If that’s an absolutely, without any shadow-of-a-doubt ‘no’ — well, then you haven’t a very high opinion of your candidate, do you?

Maybe you have a very high opinion of their skills, how polished they came across in the interview, their glowing résumé, but you wouldn’t let them near one of your kids.

Okay, I know this is a bit of an odd way of evaluating an applicant, but doesn’t it quickly give you an insight when you ask yourself this kind of question?

As with all of these wonderful hiring tips, use them as you see fit to help you learn more about people before you make that hiring decision.



To see how our employee test can help you bring better people on board watch this three minute video.



If you have ever interviewed someone and later discovered a "different" person is working for you, check out our new book How To Hire The Right People.


Are Soft Skills Eroding?

Eroding Soft Skills

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There are a number of definitions for “soft skills.”

One that I particularly like is:

“The personal attributes you need to work harmoniously with other people and succeed in the workplace.”

Another good one is:

“Desirable qualities for certain forms of employment that include common sense, the ability to deal with people, and a positive, flexible attitude.”

That last definition was interesting. “Desirable qualities for certain forms of employment…” — does that mean there are certain forms of employment where common sense, the ability to deal with people and a positive, flexible attitude are not important or desirable?

Perhaps that is the case, and if so, it brings us to the subject of this tip: “Are soft skills eroding?”

In my humble opinion, the most important soft skill is the ability to communicate…and communicate well.

That means being able to look at the person you’re talking to, giving them a clear statement of your ideas, listening exceptionally well and properly acknowledging the other person…and at the end of a communication, both parties fully understanding each other.

Kind of important, right?

Well, that soft skill may very well be eroding. Are you observing that in your interviews? In the performance of some of your new hires?

Is the skill of communication eroding because we are spending too much time looking at our phones, at our computer screens and not at each other?

Whatever the reason, YOU should not let your interest in soft skills wane. They are vital to the success of any business and a good number of business problems can be traced to employees deficient in them.

So, I’ll make a strong suggestion here. Regardless of who shows up to be interviewed, do not compromise on the soft skills. Hard skills can be taught…the soft ones, not so easily.



To see how our employee test can help you bring better people on board watch this three minute video.



If you have ever interviewed someone and later discovered a "different" person is working for you, check out our new book How To Hire The Right People.


Sample Work Versus Probational Hire

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Let’s start this tip off with the disclaimer that I am not an attorney, and if you have ANY questions on this, I recommend you contact your attorney and get legal advice.

I am familiar with the fact that when you hire someone, even on a probational basis, you are hiring them with the expectation they will be paid. That seems pretty straightforward, right?

To my knowledge, “sample work” is something different. You have not made a decision to hire but you would like to see how they would handle some aspect of their projected job.

Giving them sample work to do can provide you considerable insights.

Example:

You’re hiring a software programmer and you’d like to know how proficient they are technically.

Sample work:

Give them a problem to solve in the programming language you are using. Ideally, this problem has already been solved and you’ll see if 1) they can solve it on their own and 2) if they possibly can provide a better solution to what you already have.


 

Example:

You need someone to do collections.

Sample work:

Give them a list of five theoretical accounts. Each account has a name, an amount to be collected and what the status of the account is: recently due, past due 30 days, past due 60 days, etc. You will be the customer in this sample work. Have the applicant go through the process of calling you and working out getting a payment made. Could be a partial payment, could be a full payment. Give your applicant a variety of responses and see how she deals with each.


 

Example:

You need a receptionist.

Sample work:

This one seems pretty simple. Take the person through a series of calls coming in — with you making them and see how your applicant deals with each. You’ll probably need to set a few guidelines on who can be reached and what not, but you get the idea.


 

Example:

You need a salesperson.

Sample work:

Give your applicant a clear picture of what you sell, how much it costs, how it gets delivered, some of its features and benefits. Then take your applicant through several sample selling scenarios.

Some positions can give you “sample work” to carry out in the hiring interview better than other positions. But I’m thinking a considerable number of positions will give you this opportunity.

Finding out just how your applicant would handle things iF he were hired is a great tool for your hiring interview.



To see how our employee test can help you bring better people on board watch this three minute video.



If you have ever interviewed someone and later discovered a "different" person is working for you, check out our new book How To Hire The Right People.


The Hiring Juggling Act

Hiring and Juggling

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In reading an article that Anthony Iannarino published on LinkedIn, entitled “Hiring People Based on Their Deficiencies,” I particularly liked this paragraph:

“You are not going to hire perfect people. You are going to hire people who need to develop in some areas. You are hiring human beings, and we all have deficiencies. One of the decisions you are making when you hire is the decision as to whether you can help them improve in some area or mitigate the damage the deficiency causes.”

During the hiring process, when we are presented with an applicant’s strengths and weaknesses, we are doing a bit of a juggling act in our mind. Actually, it’s a two-part juggling act.

The first is simply weighing the apparent points of strength and weakness of the candidate.

The second considers the weaknesses or deficiencies head on. Can these be improved upon? To what degree? And, if you don’t think they can, can any potential damage be kept in an inconsequential range?

If you feel you have someone who could be of value but you just can’t get past the juggling act, then a conditional, or probational hire is worth considering. The time period on these vary, anywhere from a few days to several months.

Even with a probational hire, there’s no guarantee your applicant’s deficiencies will fully manifest, but it will give you considerably more insight than a few hiring interviews.

There is of course the positive side of the ledger here. Will the exposure to you and your staff help the applicant build on his strengths and minimize his weaknesses? If so, my hat’s off to you — you’ve created a great team and a great work environment.



To see how our employee test can help you bring better people on board watch this three minute video.



If you have ever interviewed someone and later discovered a "different" person is working for you, check out our new book How To Hire The Right People.


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