The Art of a Good Hire (Hint: it is not the resume)

BulletProof Consulting

There is such a large unemployment rate today and a groundswell of resume circulation. Thank you, COVID. Yet I still see and hear the usual hew and cry about how employers are having a tough time finding good help. That there is a huge shortage of decent employees. And that we need the government to come to our rescue and provide more training.

As much as my heart bleeds for all the souls who are currently unemployed, I refuse to believe there is a shortage of decent employees.

The one thing I do know for sure is there is a shortage of business owners who lack the understanding of what makes a good hire. Because none of us are born with this knowledge; none of us are taught this in school. And unfortunately, most of us do not have decent mentors to show us the right ropes. So the fact that we don’t know is not our fault.

We all know in our heart of hearts, the kind of person we want. Because we know how we run our businesses. We know how everyone who works with us, works, we know our budgets and how much we can spend in people costs, we know how the customers must be treated and we even know how fellow employees expect to be treated. We have great places to work! Right?

So what exactly is driving this shortage of really amazing employees?

Let me contrast two different ways.

Today, nearly every single advert for any kind of vacancy follows the same format. Title of the position. Reports to. Duties, responsibilities and accountabilities. Education necessary. Years of experience needed. This is because just about every single advert gets pumped out of the same sausage-making machine.

In short — no imagination. No sense of adventure. No fun. Entirely all boring business. Totally dull.

Most of us hate wading through the tons of sausage-made resumes trying to find the one that might be gold. And when faced with a two-foot stack of resumes, we tend to zero in on the kinds of experience they have that most closely identifies with what we want. Because sorting in this manner is the easiest way to differentiate the good from the bad.

People leave bosses. People do not leave companies. That is a fact. So people leave us. We the boss. They don’t leave our company.

That was a very hard lesson for me to learn.

Here is one way I changed my hiring practices.

I made the adverts a little bit funny and a little bit cheeky. I decided to sell the culture and business. Not the job.

First, I had a slightly different take on titles. (For me, Customer Concierge was superior to Customer Service because it informed better about the high esteem with which we held our customers.) Next, I was upfront about the company remuneration practices as well as the work ethic we were looking for. (Hey, we never pay at the top end of any pay scale. But we do offer a pretty good benefits plan, we do have bonuses for everyone, and we do allow people to make mistakes. And by the way, we believe helping you add skills to your resume is one of the best ways to help you fulfill your dreams.) Finally, I strongly believed in spelling out the values we held dear. (This is what we hold sacred. Integrity, persistence, our word when we commit, and a sense of fun no matter how crazy it gets.)

Creativity and ingenuity with a big dollop of truthfulness never failed.

And is just one of the drivers which plunged the employee churn statistic from somewhere north of 30% to less than 1%.

Did all this cause me extra work? No. This brought in way more of the kinds of candidates we wanted. The stack of resumes received was always much shorter. We chose the candidates to interview based on their cover letter. Not their resume.  And because of all the laughter and joy generated from those letters, the interviews became fun conversations.

For us, education was a given. Having more didn’t separate out anyone. And yes, we did look at the resume to determine the depths of experience. And yes, the experience side can be artfully arranged. However, here is what we really wanted. Attitude. With the right values. Because honesty, attitude and values will always shine brightly in any situation.

And for me, my team and our company, matching values with our culture was our gold standard in all hires. Interested in knowing other ideas involved in the Art of a Good Hire? Reach out to me.

Change Your thinking