A Tale of Two Companies

By: MarkWeaver Monday August 3, 2015 comments

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…  It can seem that way when you hire a new employee.  Many employers have hired someone who was fine in the interview, not realizing the gem she is until after she starts.  It’s great when we’re pleasantly surprised.  Many employers have also hired someone who interviewed great, only to find out that when the new employee starts, he’s apparently switched bodies with someone else.  It’s not great when you don’t get what you thought you would.
How do you determine who will be the next rock star, and then successfully recruit him?  How do you determine who will be the next employee from Hell, and then carefully avoid hiring her?  Consider these two great companies:
Stable Enterprises is a mature Civil Engineering company that is a model corporate citizen with impeccable PR.  They are involved in the Not-For-Profit community because it’s the right thing to do.  They make it a point to never “over-sell and under-deliver.”  You can tell from the awards and recognitions they’ve received that they delight their customers.  They have very little turnover, either of customers or employees.  And everything in their world is governed by policy, making it easy for employees and managers to do everything “the Stable Enterprises way.”
Beta Ventures is a fast-growing Solar Energy company.  They are progressive, and out to challenge the status-quo and shake the world.  They are involved in the Not-For-Profit community because frankly they want the visibility.  They’re good people, but business is business.  Sometimes they sell things they don’t even know that they can deliver, but they use that as motivation to spur them on in product development.  They have this attitude of invincibility; there’s nothing they can’t find a solution to.  Their customers love them because their product is always the newest, latest, greatest.  They don’t want turnover, but when they have it they just go after whatever’s next.  They hate policies and honestly they’re inventing their way as they go along.
Then there are two great Controllers.  They both graduated from the same university, both passed the CPA exam about the same time, both have pretty much the same experience working in a consulting firm for 7 years before working in private industry for the last 3.  They are relatively equal on paper… same experience, same education, same skill, same talent.  And they’re both nice.
That’s where their similarities stop.  Bailey Balance is methodical and deliberate, focused on the here and now, and isn’t happy unless everything ties out and is accounted for… to the penny.  Morgan Momentum is built for speed, exhilarated by growth, and focused on the future and how to fund it.
If both companies hire for fit, everyone is happy.  If they hire for skills, education, talent, and experience only - and get the wrong candidate - Stable Enterprises will think they hired a maverick, and Beta Ventures will think they’ve hired an anti-sales department.  Both employees could think they have landed in a toxic environment, but may try to pound their square peg selves into round holes for years.  The impact on two companies is hard to quantify, but neither can become what they could have.  Is it an exaggeration?  No.  Is it true of other positions besides Controllers?  Yes.  Every position.  All of them.
Hiring for fit is crucial if you want the best hire.  Fit is not just a tie-breaker.  There are times in some positions, where fit trumps experience, skills, education, and even talent.
One of the biggest hiring mistakes busy employers can make is to ignore fit.  The right degree, good experience, incredible skills and noticeable talent, none of it guarantees success.  If all of those attributes are used to row in the opposite direction from where you want to go, or are used to employ methods that are contrary to your values, you basically have hired a culture killer.  You may even find yourself in a power struggle.  That never ends pretty.
There are a variety of ways to determine fit, from analytics to the selection process.  Don’t ignore this vital part of the recruitment.  Make sure your new hires fit and aren’t just good at what they do.

About the Author: MarkWeaver


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