One of the best ways to direct yourself and your team is through clear goal setting and measuring performance against those goals. Likely when it comes time to set goals your Human Resources department provides training on SMART goals and how to use them. This is clearly an intelligent way to think about goals – but there are a couple more things to consider.
- Goals must be your own
- Goals should be difficult to achieve
First, it is important that goals set are goals you want to complete. Continue reading
When consider hiring a recent graduate I am not looking for a perfect GPA.
Yes, getting a perfect GPA is difficult, and shows a lot of dedication and intelligence, but each time I see a candidate with one, it prompts a new set of questions. I want to know about times they have failed, challenges which required help, how they have solved problems no-one has ever solved before… anything that shows they don’t freeze up when they encounter difficulty. Schools provides a very structured format where requirements are clear; the real world isn’t like that. It’s messy, and there is no answer key. Sometimes you will fail, and have to have what it takes to brush yourself off, learn from the experience, and move forward.
I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying. Michael Jordan
There are many reasons not to hire someone, but if the candidate admits to lying and stealing in the interview, they shouldn’t be surprised not to get the job.
When digging in to the technical skills of a recent candidate, they were proud to tell me about their awesome home setup for which they stole a high-speed internet connection. When talking about teamwork, he told me how he refused to tell teammates how he did things, lied about what he did, and that he enjoyed hacking into his coworkers’ machines.
Double fail. Both that he was stealing services, lying to his coworkers and generally being difficult to work with, and because he was dumb enough to let that be known in an interview.
Would you ever consider hiring based on their playing of video games? I did, and here’s why. What a person does with their leisure time speaks powerfully to their motivation. Motivation matters, perhaps more than anything else.
Usual interviewing evaluates three areas:
- Can they do the job?
- Will they do the job?
- Can we put up with them while they do the job?
Make your interviews difficult. The (right) candidates want you to.
As much as we may say otherwise, free and easy are not what we want when it comes to a job. We want to be challenged: to know that those we work with will push us to be our best.
How does this relate to interviewing? Simple: if you ask only light and fluffy questions, they will think you are a light and fluffy place to work. Even worse, they will think you (and by extension, the company) are an employer who will let just anyone in the door. If they come to work for you they can expect to have low expectations placed on them, limited or no useful direction or feedback, and have coworkers who aren’t very good at their jobs.
Not really the message you wanted to send, was it?
Instead, ask candidates tough questions. Make them dig deep, work on their feet, come up with novel approaches to challenging problems. They will thank you for it. They will think you are the kind of place they want to work. And since you pushed them to the breaking point and still offered them a job, perhaps they’ll do okay. After all, you know them better than any of the other yahoos who just asked them to walk you through your resume (yawn).
Cartoon thanks to Canary Pete
How to you ensure you are hiring the best, and build teams which will help overcome any challenge?
Get yourself out of the way.
As described by Steve Jobs, A players hire A players, B players hire C players. If you are too afraid of being surpassed by or outshone by your team, you severely limit yourself. Even if you don’t think you are an A player, if you can get over the fact that you will be hiring people who may be able to take your job, you and your company will perform better. As a nice side effect, this single change alone may transform you into an A player.