Rethink Hiring Rules

Each of us has our own set of candidate expectations, and we often rule people out based on them. These vary from specific resume layouts, what colors candidates wear, their handshake, if they end sentences with a preposition, how much they blink… and, yes, these are real deal-breakers recruiters and hiring managers have shared with me.

Rules associated with safe hiring practices, stereo-types, and personal preferences, harm organizations, as much as out-dated strategies. Great recruiters and managers prioritize filling staffing needs with people who add value to what already exists. This requires them to rethink and look beyond the hiring rules that limit their organizations.

When you are not willing to invest in people, your people know, and will not invest in you.
1) Personal preference – there was once latitude for hiring based on a specific image. Wise organizations learn to hire based on what they need, including diverse perspectives and personalities, as long as candidates value the organization and its culture.

2) Industry only hiring – many organizations hire almost exclusively from competitors. While this can be valuable in specific roles, when hiring leadership, strategy, innovation or marketing, everyone hiring from the same pool makes little sense. Outside candidates bring industry-changing thinking which can solve problems and leap us forward.

3) Ignoring job hoppers – while a ‘red flag’ for years, we now need to ask why, since start-up failures, leadership changes, economic declines, layoffs, and short-term roles are relatively common. These people often have broad experience and are creative, adaptable, flexible, resilient, and enthusiastic about being somewhere more stable.

4) Unemployment phobias – there are many good reasons for gaps. Unexpected job loss is common with new leadership, market changes, and restructuring. People also take time to care for family, raise children, or to find themselves. These candidates are often re-energized, and more grounded, grateful, committed, long-term, and loyal.

5) Fired once – many amazing people have been fired by supervisors who did not understand their value, felt threatened, were covering their tracks, etc. It is far more common than you may think, and people often lack the evidence, energy, or funds to hire an attorney. When these candidates feel valued, they will give you their everything.

While ‘playing it safe’ with hiring can get you consistent results, it rarely creates an energizing environment that invites new thinking, trust, commitment, and ideas.

Organizations which invest in diverse personalities and perspectives, that add value, take us in bold new directions, impress us, and make headlines… and history.

What rules are you breaking to energize your team and leap forward?

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