Recruiting Ideal Players for Your Team 4 Common Traps to Avoid
When we examine successful sports franchises, we find two common reasons for their success. One, they recruit highly skilled players. And two, they have great coaches, i.e. good leadership. Today, I want to talk to you about the first: recruiting ideal players for your team and organization.
There are stale hiring practices that from time to time, we are all vulnerable to slip into. I want to reveal four common ones to you today, and encourage you to guard against these traps.
Growth is more important than bringing on the best.
I love to grow the teams and organizations I lead. I feel it reflects well on me and is social proof that I am doing well as a leader. That growth, however, drives many leaders toward an unintended consequence: accepting average or poor performers for the sake of filling positions.
Many times, because we are in a perceived crisis, or because we really want to grow a team, we will act quickly to hire someone. We feel, We are growing so fast! Just give me somebody—anybody. As a result, we don’t get to harvest ideal players. Soon, we find our team suffering the consequences of our lack of discipline in this most important area.
My friend, place the growth of the business secondary to the quality of the people you bring on board. Otherwise, you will end up with a stagnant pool of staff. The organization will stop growing, many times without recovery. Remember this rule when we are hiring new people, “If it is not a definite YES, it is a definite NO.”
You haven’t worked for me yet.
At times we interview someone we really like, but who may be a little below par. Still, as leaders, we are quite confident that we can help the person improve. We tell ourselves, “The problem is that they haven’t had a good leader, a healthy culture, an empowering team. I will help her. I will change him. Once they are on board with us, they will shine!” After years of studying and practicing personal growth, I have discovered the sad truth. People don’t change fast, and most people refuse to or are unable to change at all. Even with my best efforts of depositing seeds, many are just not open to change, to growth. Many people say, “I want to grow,” but don’t have the motivation or the discipline for growth.
So here is what we must know: Aim to grow people, but remember their growth is never guaranteed. Pretend for a moment as if the person will never change. Would you still hire them based on their current attitude, skill set, and professional presentation?
I don’t know what I am looking for.
If you don’t know what you are looking for, it is impossible to get the right person. I recommend writing down the traits you desire the person for this position to have, and measure potential applicants against those. Better yet, write down the traits that everyone on your team, including you, should have, and that should be the measuring stick for whomever you bring on board.
It is not enough to have a clear job description and be sure that new candidates can fulfill it. That’s important, but what you are looking for is a person whose dream matches the dream of the organization you lead. It must be a person who already has personal values which match the values of your organization.
I will keep them longer to give them a chance.
Even with your best efforts, you will occasionally hire people who do not fit well within your organization. It’s a fact of life in leadership. When this occurs, you must let people go quickly, ideally in the first few weeks of employment. These decisions are never easy. I am rarely 100% sure.
What usually goes through my mind is, Let me give them another chance. They are too new to our culture and our ways of doing things. I have made this mistake many times, and I have learned to let people go early if there is a suspicion that it’s the wrong fit, even at the risk of occasionally firing the right person. The alternative is too costly and too painful for everyone involved. If you keep people hoping for them to change, you will end up with a lot of misfits coming on the journey with you. It is more costly for you and your team, and even more painful for the new hire, to let them go after they have been with you for a long time.
Don’t be rash. Don’t make the decision alone. Execute difficult choices when the signs are leading you to let someone go, as painful as it may be. That’s the hard work of a leader. Engage it. The health of your team is your responsibility. Take it seriously. You will be doing them and your organization a big favor if you end the relationship early. Remember the maxim “hire slow, fire fast.” There is much wisdom in that.
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