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How Haste Can Create Waste in the Hiring Process

By Kathleen Quinn Votaw

 So many companies nod knowingly about the importance of values-based hiring, while their actions speak differently. Employers screen for several traits relating to competency and skill, but often overlook those two attributes of greatest importance − character and integrity.

Harking back to children’s literature for simple life lessons reminds us of how basic morality translates into favorable outcomes. Most of us recall Aesop’s famed fable “The Tortoise and the Hare,” and the pitfalls that come from acting too quickly and carelessly. We can also apply this teaching to business dealings, more specifically, the hiring process.

It is certainly understandable that a hiring manager would take interest in a candidate who is highly proficient in the areas pertaining to the job in question. But as with the hare, most-skilled does not necessarily mean most likely to succeed.

In a study of 20,000 new hires, conducted by Leadership IQ, 46 percent of these failed within 18 months. Only 11% of the unsuccessful hires were attributed to insufficient skill, while a disproportionate 89% were due to lack of coachability and irreconcilable temperament.

Adopting a more thoughtful approach to hiring requires that we delve deeper into a candidate’s persona to find those values that drive achievement.

But while “slow and steady” might seem the obvious takeaway from Aesop’s writings, some circumstances in life and in business call for quicker action. I have found that the most successful managers are those who can morph between both tortoise and hare roles to meet the everyday challenges of running a company.

When slow and steady wins the race

  • When developing a hiring strategy. Take the time necessary for planning to ensure that those you hire can carry out your core values in the long term.
  • When training. Allow those A-players, who might not at first espouse maximum skill, to ramp up at a reasonable pace.

When to act with lightning speed

  • When the right people come along. Hire without delay, as good people forge healthy attitudes and relationships, and ultimately drive success.
  • When someone clearly isn’t working out. Fire without delay, as procrastination on your part can further compromise relationships within the company and with customers.

Boost recruiting success with these tips:

  • Look for character first, skill second.
  • Acknowledge and embrace the energy and effort required to attain the right workforce.
  • Resist hiring a poor fit out of desperation.
  • Network to maintain a pipeline of ready-to-go candidates instead of relying on crisis hiring.
  • Face up to bad hires. It happens, so set a good example by promptly ridding yourself and other A-players of those not in keeping with core values.
  • Don’t wait for an emergency to seek outside help with recruitment.

This content is from my new book, “Solve the People Puzzle: How High-Growth Companies Attract & Retain Top Talent.” The book features compelling research, specific personal and client stories and key perspectives from top business leaders and experts – all in a format that’s easy to read and prompts readers to act. It’s an executive’s guide to finding, keeping and growing the best. Buy it on Amazon today.

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