Work to be Hired

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One of the early screening processes to make it to the defense forces, is that of physical fitness. It is one of the more fundamental requirements of the job. Of course, subsequently, those who make the cut are broken down and rebuilt to be stronger, both mentally and physically.

In the corporate battlefield, potential candidates are put through interview boot camps which are at best, spread over a few days. But are these processes measuring the fundamental requirements you need from the candidate? Skill, while ever-changing, can still be taught. But what are more long-term character traits you’d want your next hire to have?

Once you’ve identified those traits, what if you took the hiring process and turned it on its head?

What if you then shortlisted applications based on simple initial screening criteria, and on gut feel? And then, have them come and work with your team for a week or two, or more. At the end of the period, both parties can decide where to take things from there.

One of the bigger concerns might be the transition and uncertainty, especially for people already in jobs.

Compensation is the easy bit. Even an approximate pro-rata salary-type compensation given to the candidate if rejected, would be far cheaper than the cost of hiring a wrong candidate.

From the point of view of ‘interaction time’, interviews, case-studies and other hiring processes can only be so effective. In comparison, working on a live project, albeit factoring in necessary confidentiality, might be a better way to assess a candidate. To assess traits like integrity and mettle, among other important qualities, which go far beyond a quick and temporary display of skills at an interview. The little I’ve watched of the mentally disturbing Big Brother and Big Boss, it is evident what a short amount of time spent in the same reference (a common project, not an interview) can reveal.

These are times when many MBA students and even experienced professionals focus more on being interview-ready, rather than on cultivating a curious mind. And it is partly because of the illusion of limited time.

Instead of hiring people to work, having people work to be hired might be a better way to build a team that is more suited for one’s company in the medium-to-long term.

Your views are welcome. I will revert at the earliest. And if you liked this post, do follow or subscribe to my blog (top right of the page) for similar topics that encourage reflection and discussion. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn and on Twitter.

The Fire to Hire

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Start-ups and many small to medium sized companies often think that costs can be saved by hiring poor to average quality candidates, thereby being able to get the adequate “number” of manpower and be able to scale up while keeping salary expenses down.

However, what many of them fail to realize is, that for every average, lower salaried hire, either they or someone from the top team is, indirectly contributing a part of themselves to that new hire’s role.

Because the average candidate will not be pro-active, determined, or have the fire in her or him to do that little bit extra, or for that matter, even just do what is expected, in the right way. They would need to have a baby-sitter to constantly monitor them and keep checking if they are on track from time to time. More often than not, you would be thinking of their action plan and communicating it to them, instead of them thinking of the best solution and suggesting options to you.

So, with each new ‘average’ hire, not only do you compromise on the tasks you assign to them, but your company too gets lesser and lesser of you, since increasingly greater portion of your time and efforts start getting diverted to managing your ‘average’ team’s planning and execution.

Instead, spending more to get a ‘better than average’ dynamic and enthusiastic hire will not only leave you with more time and less tensions/ responsibilities towards them, but they will also contribute in terms of figuring out better/smarter/ cost-effective ways to doing things, thus taking the business forward.

Another way the business would tend to grow multi-fold with such hires is, that you start thinking bigger, thinking more, to keeping such capable employees busy and on their toes. Because they can. Because they want to. And fueling their growth in turn, fuels your business.

So, while a ‘better than average’ hire will always cost more, she or he would more often than not prove more cost-effective in the long run.