Imagine an organization where workers do not need to be controlled or “managed.” Instead, they can be set free. This is possible if the organization alters its approach to hiring. Remember that when you hire the weak, you get weak links.
Traditional management principles tend to focus on controlling and managing people. This approach is usually not ideal for several reasons. For example, being “managed” usually makes the worker feel terrible. Moreover, management tends to be costly and overly rigid.
A new approach is necessary for today’s fast-paced and dynamic business environment. The future might be found in the science of leadership. Utilizing the science of leadership, an organization can create a culture of engagement and ownership. However, the organization must first shift focus to success and vision and then develop and hire accordingly.
Of course, organizational initiatives must always focus on the achievement of the vision. Remember, it is difficult to orient organizational directives or tasks at any level if the vision is ignored, misunderstood, or missing. But let’s assume that the vision is a central focus of your organization. Now we need to orient the organization to that vision. However, this requires understanding what might be hindering that effort.
We must first accurately identify the problem. One way to start this process is through a thorough gap analysis, which compares the organization’s current state with its desired state (what success looks like). A gap analysis identifies the gaps that need to be filled to achieve success. This analysis can help the organization determine whether a specific task is necessary, if an employee should be let go, if a new employee is necessary to fill a specific role, or if development efforts should be pursued for existing talent.
In addition to a gap analysis, organizations should also conduct a job analysis of each role within the organization. This analysis is a process of gathering and analyzing information about the potential duties, responsibilities, necessary skills, and working conditions of a particular job. With a proper gap analysis and job analysis, the organization can hone in on potential issues and devise plans to overcome the various problems discovered.
Once the gaps have been identified, and necessary information about them has been gathered, the organization must clearly define the roles for each job and any job they will be hiring for. This includes identifying the essential duties, responsibilities, required skills, and working conditions of the job. This information should be used to formulate a detailed job description that includes the job title, a summary of the job’s purpose, the key duties and responsibilities, and all necessary qualifications.
From there, the organization must live by definition. Existing jobs must adhere strictly to the defined job description. Each worker must then work to master the tasks related to their job description. This allows for mastery and efficiency.
The organization must then solicit and gather its candidate pool for any discovered gaps. Leveraging technology in the hiring process can help reduce manager bias and increase the chances of finding truly qualified candidates. One way to do this is through “blind pooling,” which omits names and focuses solely on matching talent with role criteria. This approach can also help ensure that the organization only considers genuinely qualified candidates based on the predefined criteria for the job being offered.
Again, we seek to reduce bias, including our own. In a perfect situation, you want at least three candidates to consider for a specific role. If you have leveraged technology correctly, every candidate being considered is qualified. Once your candidate pool is selected, it’s time to conduct interviews.
Remember, these candidates are all qualified. Therefore, a truly productive and meaningful interview should assess three essential things. These are:
- A candidate’s overall communication skills and attitude.
- A candidate’s ability to problem-solve and think critically.
- (Often overlooked) A successful hiring manager will clearly and concisely present the organization’s vision to the candidate, describe the job’s strategic role in achieving that vision, and then evaluate the candidate’s motivation, passion, and enthusiasm for that vision.
It is vital to remember that the organization is not a “cool kids club,” and the job offered is not about finding the right person to fit into a clique. Instead, we seek professionals who will work hard to help achieve the vision because they believe in it. In other words, we seek someone highly qualified who believes in the vision and wants to work towards its achievement.
Someone who checks these boxes probably does not have to be managed and does not necessarily have to be liked. Think about how Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman navigated their dislike for one another to achieve greatness. This is the type of professionalism we are seeking to obtain and foster.
I cannot stress this enough. When evaluating a candidate, it’s important to remember that they should already be considered qualified. Therefore, if the candidate you interviewed is passionate about the organization’s vision and can communicate effectively, they should probably be hired – regardless of any bias had by the hiring manager. If that seems risky, consider the alternative. By focusing on a candidate’s passion for the vision and their ability to contribute to pursuing that vision, organizations can ensure that their ranks are filled with motivated and engaged individuals, and the likelihood of achieving the vision is greatly increased.
This approach is far superior to many I have examined because it focuses on the candidate’s qualifications and passion, which will contribute to effort, engagement, and productivity. Conversely, you will get exactly what you ask for when you focus on traits that have nothing to do with effort, productivity, or vision. Examples here might be age, race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, or whether the candidate said the “secret password” or knew the right person.
Best of all, by keeping everyone focused on pursuing the vision, employees are less likely to be distracted by political distractions and more likely to be happy and engaged in their work. Of course, this requires eliminating the weaker, non-vision-focused employees. While it may be difficult to let some of them go, we must remember that some workers are only there for the paycheck. This is fine in some cases, but these types are definitely not as dedicated to the vision and often cause the most problems.
Focus on the vision. Stop with distractions. Instead, live and breathe your vision and hire and fire accordingly. You will likely get closer to achieving that vision when your team truly wants to help realize it.