Category Archives: Connection & Engagement
Many of us understand that the job market is a tough, competitive one. In the pursuit for good talent, it’s necessary to stand out in order to attract solid candidates.
However, if you look closely at your hiring criteria, you may find that you’ve set too stringent a criteria for your search and restricting or excluding the people who may be the best match for your organization.
Look at your hiring and job descriptions then see if any of these key phrases appear:
- XX years of YY industry experience
- XX years of <specific> regional management preferred
- Knowledge of Excel, Powerpoint, Word
- Experience using ZZ system (usually a CRM, SaaS, other technical interfaces)
- XX years working for AA or BB company/or in AA or BB operations/systems
- Bachelor’s degree required, Master’s preferred
- Extensive contacts and network in the industry
Now at first glance these seem like necessary skills that a candidate needs to possess. But dive a little deeper and ask a few questions respectively:
- Industry experience – Can someone from an ancillary industry serve in the same capacity with the same impact?
- Regional management – Does someone who is highly effective managing a team of 5 qualify them for managing a team of 50?
- Excel, PPT, Word – Do these still matter today? Do these need to be mentioned?
- Using a system – can someone who is competent learn your system?
- Working for a specific company – Does this shows preference and bias to an internal candidate? Or, can someone learn internal operations quickly and still effect needed change?
- Degree required, preferred – If the right candidate emerges without this, will you disqualify them?
- Contacts in the industry – Does this “rainmaker” bring the right customers into the pipeline? Do you show a red flag for not generating leads or other internal warning signs?
The core question at the root of all of these is this:
Are you being too stringent in your own prejudices and hiring biases that you’re neglecting great talent?
I’ve worked with many companies and managers who let sharp talent slip past them because they carved out and restricted otherwise matching talent because they didn’t fit a certain pre-conceived mold.
In fact, I had one manager say she wasn’t going to hire a customer service person because there was a spelling error on her application!!
Yes, certain non-negotiable traits must be met. But how many do we place in our hiring process, and particular our ATS, that are kicked out because they aren’t – in what we and/or the ATS deem – the “right fit”.
Most hiring is like an iceberg. That top 10% is skill and the below the surface is the 90% behaviors that you can’t see at first. You only see the top 10% of what the person shows and neglect the 90% of who they are. And our hiring processes only are targeted for that 10% and leave the other 90% untouched. It’s that 90% that can tell you more accurately what a candidate brings to the table.
A former colleague of mine was refused an interview as he was told he didn’t have the needed experience. When they called him on the phone to inform him, he went down the job description and asked them line by line what the’re looking for, then matched it up with what his style and behaviors have accomplished. After each line, they admitted that he did have the relevant talent they were looking for. They scheduled an interview and he got the position after all.
Whether you’re looking at internal or external candidates, don’t restrict your chances to finding the right fit by narrowing your search. Have high standards, but open up the parameters to capture as many people as you can in the queue. Then you can use your standards to select the best from among them.
Earlier this week I posted on “How Extra Effort Makes The Difference“.
Since then, I’ve received feedback and ideas from many people that explodes this definition beyond what was suggested.
Everyday, leaders from all over are giving that little extra effort to push towards that goal, to build that person’s confidence, or to generate synergy within a certain team. It’s the belief that when they lay their head on the pillow at night, they know they did everything they could that day to improve their lives and the lives of those in their world.
Here are some more ideas on how to give that “extra effort”:
- Call your mentor and closest professional friends weekly to thank and appreciate them for their efforts in your life
- Breaking your team out for a “vision session”
- Call a quick “town hall” meeting to ensure everyone is on the same page and aligned
- Stopping during the day to review your company goals and mission
- Pausing during the day to review your life goals and mission
- Asking questions to find out which two parties need to be more connected and integrated
- Tabling all administrative task to late day or after business hours to spend more time with your people and customers
- Calling or texting your spouse or family and folding them into your busy day
- Asking colleagues to proofread a proposal to look for feedback
- Telling your customers that you appreciate their support and are glad to work with them
- Take 5-10 minutes daily to learn more in your job role
- Conduct a 2-Minute Drill for planning and refreshing
- Take the pulse of your team through a temperature check
- Finish Friday on a strong resonating note
Every idea will not fit every leader, but in putting these in front of you the hope is that you can be inspired to give a little more and reap enormous benefits as a result of a little extra effort.
Remember, a little goes a long way, whether it’s your smile, your attitude, or your effort.
One of my favorite pastimes during college was a bunch of my buddies playing a baseball simulation game called “Baseball Challenge”. This was a board game from the late 70’s/early 80’s that was a lot of fun and heavy on real-life game simulation.
One of the mechanics in the game was at certain times a fielder could make an “Extra Effort” roll to make a failed play into a successful one. This was always fun part of the game and many a game outcome was changed because the fielder made the “extra effort”.
Whether your workplace is one for gamification or not, Extra Effort is something every leader should strive for, both within themselves and each person on their team.
Extra effort can be a game changer for a variety of reasons:
- It can build customer loyalty instead of leaving a lukewarm experience
- A sale or new account can be won out from a competitor’s bid
- Employees can be converted from passives to promoters
- Difficult goals that may not be met can be attained
- Teams can ride out dry spells in revenue or innovation
Leadership should define what extra effort should look like. It’s more than just working 12 hours a day, and then taking work home at night (a poor work-life balance example). Whether it’s to “embody the values“, put forth resolve, or stick out the right course of action, you can instill the proper mindset of giving extra in even the smallest of actions.
Some suggestions on giving extra effort for both yourself and an example to your teams:
- Making another sales call before wrapping up for the day
- Spend 5 extra minutes to review your presentation
- Taking time out to connect with a customer or employee
- Doing a quality check on products before shipping
- Touching base with staff in a department for 10-15 minutes
- Having a follow-up call on a customer to ensure follow-through after the sale
- Sending a “Thank You” card or email to every job candidate
- Reading your emails for spelling and context before sending
- Spending a few moments working alongside your staff
There are so many ways to give “Extra Effort”. It’s a matter of finding a need and giving up something of smaller value for something that will have a greater return. Not necessarily an immediate or tangible return, but one that will build more value to those within your organization and those your organization serves.
(racing image: healthworksergo; baseball challenge: kypris.com)