Square peg, round hole. How many times have you felt like this with a new hire? They seemed like the perfect fit, based on the résumé and the interview. Then reality strikes. Your new employee isn’t meeting expectations. In order to recruit the right people for the right jobs, you need to look at your hiring practices.
Don’t rely on the résumé
I recently met with a candidate for a management position with our company, Legacy International Resort Properties. He had already gone through the screenings with various team members before this interview. I sat across the conference room table from him, where his resume had been placed in front of me. I glanced at it, looked at him, and then pushed the paper aside.
“Let’s assume that your knowledge and experience meets the qualifications for this job,” I said to an obviously nervous guy. “I want to talk about what’s NOT on the paper.”
His expression went from nervous to confused.
‘Did you play sports?”
The tension eased as he told me about his high school baseball experience. From the brief conversation, I learned about his competitiveness. I discovered he valued teammates and being part of a team. He also communicated his parents’ pride when he received a scholarship, and that told me he also had a strong family connection.
Mandy Van Streepen, COO of our company, had already shared with me that she liked this candidate’s answer to one of her “red flag questions”: “What’s your favorite movie and why would I want to watch it?”
While it seems simple enough, Mandy isn’t looking for recommendations when she asks this question. There IS an answer she is seeking though.
“If someone simply tells me about their favorite movie without first qualifying what type of movies I like, then I’ve just learned something important,” Mandy says. “We want someone who is inquisitive and interested in who we are and how we operate. We look for people who don’t come here for a job. They want a career.”
Right person, different job
I once interviewed a woman who was returning to the workplace after raising her family. I immediately recognized her potential as a sales professional. She was energetic, confident, and curious. I could tell she was a good listener because she asked strong questions.
I wasn’t looking for that role at the time, but I brought her on because I couldn’t let this talent get away. Julie Krumholz didn’t disappoint. More than that, she exceeded expectations and became the stellar salesperson and team player I wanted. She and her family moved away but she will always have a place in my organization when she wants one.
The team player/person combination
With 34 years of coaching backing him up, a national championship, and 65 tournament victories, University of Texas golf golf coach John Fields knows about recruiting. He knows what to look for in a prospect as far as the skill set, desire, and trainability. For the rest, Pearl Fields, his wife of 40 years, partners with Coach when evaluating players for their team, which have included Jordan Spieth, a member of the 2012 NCAA Championship Team. He went on to win his first Masters at the age of 21 and the U.S. Open Championship at 23.
Like Spieth, the University commits to each golf scholarship recipient for the full 4 years of their education, so it’s an investment, like hiring. If that player doesn’t help the team, they’ve taken the place of someone who might have been better, so it’s a very careful decision. Coach, who twice earned Coach of the Year from the Golf Coaches Association of America, looks at the skills and trainability of a young man.
“There is no way around the work ethic,” explains Coach, who has led the University of Texas Longhorns since 1997. “They need to work hard and be motivated.”
Pearl assesses the character of the high school students they’re considering for a spot on the 10- to 13-person team.
“You watch how they carry themselves. You can see that from a distance,” Pearl explains. “The parents matter more than anything. Are they too involved, not involved enough? One boy’s dad wanted him to play golf so badly, but his son got to college and didn’t want to play; he wanted to go to school. It was his dad’s dream, not his. Coach helped him with his degree and his career, and the young man was happy, but the father blamed John that the son didn’t become a professional. We love the parents, but we don’t serve the parents. It’s about the kids, not the parents. They have to be able to help the team, in the classroom or on the golf course.”
Find the urgency
When I was transitioning out of the military and into civilian life, I reconnected with a former Special Ops member I had served with. Like me, Jeff Jepson had flown helicopters and went on to build a successful career in resort properties. He uses his military training to assess situations and people.
“When we hire employees, a predictor of success is their urgency, similar to accountability. I want to gauge the pace at which people process and execute their work.” The construction company he manages is guided by timelines and penalties, “so we can’t have an average player show up on the team. You need a high level of urgency. That means you don’t write a 30-minute email when you can do a 3-minute email.”
How do you identify urgency in a candidate?
“When someone doesn’t look you directly in the eye or speaks in softer tones. You want someone to ooze confidence, but not cockiness.
What do YOU see?
Every person you bring to your team has the potential to make a strong impact. It’s up to you as to whether or not that’s a positive or negative one. Look beyond what the candidate wants you to see. Challenge them to show you more than their experience. Learn what motivates them, what challenges them, and how willing they are to pursue excellence. That’s both your role and your responsibility.