Recently, I found myself in a discussion about the importance of diversity and inclusion in the hiring process. However, a point was presented to me in a way that suggested it was necessary for an organization to “lower the bar” to ensure a more equitable playing field for other potential candidates. I believe this is terrible advice.
Yes, it is essential to have a fair, transparent, and unbiased hiring process. Additionally, it’s essential to create a welcoming and inclusive work environment for employees from all backgrounds, as this can help attract and retain top talent. These points are not in dispute. However, selecting subpar candidates for the perception of inclusion is highly counterproductive. Remember that a team is only as good as its weakest link; if the organization fails, everyone fails.
It is critical to understand that an organization exists to achieve specific goals, not to provide jobs. Jobs are offered to those who wish to participate in achieving the organization’s goals. The point of an organization is to work towards achieving those goals in a coordinated, efficient, and effective manner.
Organizations need to stay ahead of their competitors in today’s competitive business world. They are in a never-ending race to outdo their competitors, maximize profits, and increase market share. In such a scenario, having the best team possible is crucial, as this can make all the difference in winning the race.
To create the best team, finding and hiring the best team members is essential. Hiring the best team members is in the organization’s best interest because a company’s success is directly proportional to the quality of its workforce. Therefore, investing in the best candidates can pay off handsomely in the long run.
Conversely, not hiring the best candidates becomes a self-inflicted wound. Hiring average or below-average candidates can lead to increased training costs, lower productivity, and a lack of innovation. More importantly, it can lead to lower competitiveness and failure. Average or below-average candidates likely do not bring the expertise and problem-solving skills necessary to help an organization thrive. On the other hand, a high-performing employee can bring energy, creativity, and a wealth of experience that can be leveraged to help the company succeed. Which would you prefer?
I can understand the position of resistance toward hiring potentially over-qualified candidates. However, in many cases, that concern is unwarranted. The benefits simply outweigh any negatives. First of all, being over-qualified is relative and subjective. Moreover, these individuals can bring a level of expertise and knowledge that can benefit the organization in the long run. Additionally, if allowed an opportunity to thrive, these candidates are more likely to stick with the company long-term.
Another point to consider is that hiring top talent not only benefits the organization but also helps to raise the bar for the entire industry. When an organization hires exceptional talent, it sets a standard for excellence that other companies will be forced to match. This can lead to an overall improvement in the quality of work being done in the industry and can create a more competitive environment. At the same time, it provides a strategic advantage to the organization willing to invest.
Moreover, hiring top talent can also positively impact the morale of existing employees and foster a culture of mastery. When high-performing individuals join the team, it can create a sense of excitement and motivation among the rest of the staff. This can lead to increased engagement, productivity, and job satisfaction. In that same vein, it creates an environment of progress, refinement, education, and mastery while simultaneously lowering complacency regarding the status quo.
An organization can kick this into overdrive by investing in its talent pool. A professional football team does not just hire their athlete and hope it works out. Instead, they invest in perpetual training and coaching. Like a pro athlete, even the best candidates will need support and resources to continue to excel in their roles. Organizations should be willing to provide ongoing training, opportunities for career growth, and competitive compensation packages to retain top talent and keep them engaged and motivated.
Continuing with the sports analogy, which scenario makes the most sense if winning is the goal? Hiring a weaker quarterback because your line is weak or hiring a better line to match your All-Pro quarterback? If you want to win, the goal should never be to hire weaker candidates.
Of course, part of the issue is found in the hiring process. When the organization prioritizes factors other than task completion, they are more likely to miss out on exceptional candidates who can propel the organization forward. To fix this, simplicity should be the focus. The organization must first clearly define the job and ensure that the job description accurately reflects the required skills and experience. Subsequently, the evaluation of candidates should focus on their ability to perform the listed tasks effectively. If they can, that candidate should be placed in the pool. They should be considered for the role if they can do it above average.
Regarding the candidate, it really should boil down to two things. The first thing is their level of enthusiasm for the organization’s vision. The second is their willingness to complete the stated tasks. Whether a candidate possesses advanced academic degrees or a lifetime of experience is irrelevant as long as they can accomplish the job requirements at or above previously-listed standards and are willing to do so for the pay being offered. Of course, that requires the organization to stop playing games and be transparent about the compensation package and the tasks that need completed. Similarly, organizations need to understand that sometimes it is not the money that attracts a candidate. Sometimes, when the vision is clearly articulated and actively pursued by the organization, a strong candidate will come along who believes in the vision so much that they will take less money to see that vision through.
Hiring the best candidates for your organization is a critical step toward success. The best teams comprise the best team members, and it’s important to take the time and effort to find the right people for the job. Remember, organizations do not exist to provide jobs. They exist to win. Find quality candidates that want to win. Investing in the best talent helps organizations position themselves for long-term success in a competitive marketplace.