Poor Corporate Hiring Strategies in SMB

IT Business, IT Culture

I knew there would come a day when I would have to categorically disagree with Karl on virtually every piece of advice he has offered. Take a look at this post on Hiring the Best Employee.

The basic flaw in Karl’s process, and process of hiring in virtually every corporate institution, is that the focus is on finding the right fit for the role, not the right individual for the company. Have you ever heard the following words:

You are just not a good fit.

Yeah, you’re just a fantastic person, very talented, exactly what we are looking for except you didn’t fit the role of the imaginary employee we came up with while circling the lines of the resume of the last two people that didn’t leave this company in a quadruple-fatality shootout.

Criteria hiring works OK in very large companies both because HR department has limited time/money and the employees are not really meant to be very fluid in their capacities. They post a list of qualifications, people with time to rearrange their resume send in their applications, the most apt liars that can repeat them back to HR meet the hiring manager who is really looking for someone that can read and think at the same time. This is an awesome way to hire a burger assembler at McDonalds or a data entry person in a hospitality industry.

It is a horrible way to hire in SMB, and the reason why most one man shops that do hire someone end up firing them on a very short schedule. How is it that someone that fit every one of your criteria, that you really liked, that could do everything that was expected turned out so horribly – as a matter of fact, most turn out so horribly bad that many one man shops never want to hire another person again or be someone’s manager?

Flexible Prospect, Desperate Candidate, Fired Employee

The traditional hiring process falls apart at the mere premise that there are people out there so unfulfilled with their jobs that they have the time to spend on full-day interviews, three lunches and two application appointments. Unless you are offering a LOT of money, or seeking an executive with commensurate pay, you are statistically less likely to find a good candidate and more likely to just find someone that is unemployed for a number of very good reasons.

Think about the desperation for a second. If you are finding a candidate that is willing to put up with such a huge hassle not to work for a brand name company with global visibility (IBM, Google, Microsoft) after which they can go to another big company and claim global experience, how desperate are they for employment now?

Desperation brings out the worst in people. They will lie. They will tailor the right resume. They will subject to every test, interview, assessment and application you give them.

Then as soon as something better, something they really wanted, becomes available they will leave you.

What went wrong? You hired the wrong person. Right role, right fit,  wrong person.

The truth about SMB is that we look for flexible people, ambitious and knowledgeable, that want to work well with other people. But at the same time we want to subject them to baselining, assessments, comparative metrics and treat them as business assets that will constantly learn and evolve just not to the point that they figure out that they can make more money elsewhere for far less work. This is the underlying theory of “Human Resources” — treating people like movable objects, hiring them based on a list of credentials, bullet points, and percentage based compatibility with the set of criteria in the Kit with folders Step 1, Step 2, Step 3.

Then the business owner sits back in dismay when the employee leaves under the most unpleasant of circumstances… seriously, should you ever expect any better?

The Right Hiring Process

Hire people. Not roles.

If you hire the right person, they will find a way to fit the role you give them now. They will be able to adjust as your business adjusts. They will be capable of being promoted, of teaching, managing, nurturing and growing other employees that your company gets as it grows.

If you hire the right role, that employee will be gone with the first sudden shift in your business strategy (read Erick’s book on Managed Services) and you will be stuck at square one of looking for a fit for a hole that will change shape with a business that must change in order to grow and survive.

You can either adjust your business hiring practices to fit your changing business and the rapidly changing IT market… or you can franchise a Subway hole in a wall sandwich shop.

The process of finding, qualifying, and hiring people is NOT bullet point or KIT based. It can’t be downloaded online, it can’t be ran through a computer, it is not something you can process. If you want to see how well the process-based hiring works, go to Target. Look at all the drones there. Not an ounce of passion. Not a cent of personality. Just drones running around doing what the master told them.

But you don’t want that. You want an adaptable, flexible, skilled, creative passionate employee that is going to have your best interest at heart and do as they are told (hopefully for less than market value). Good luck with that.

The process of hiring, qualifying, nurturing, leading, empowering, enabling and growing a creative sales force that can work in a rapidly changing business is at a core of business leadership and being able to work with people and treat them like people.

We look for good people. There is always plenty of business to go around and plenty of things to get people to work on. There is not always a ready supply of people that are motivated, willing and capable of working on what we have. But we also aren’t installing a revolving door in our office.

Hire the right person. Get them to build up your company in the same way you have built it to the point of being able to allocate a salary.

Only then do you get someone who has your company on their mind, not just themselves. 

6 Responses to Poor Corporate Hiring Strategies in SMB

  1. Pingback: More on SMB hiring… « SMB Thoughts by Brian Williams

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