A Guest Post by John Francis
I have been in the recruitment and retention business for 25 years and have consulted and assisted hundreds of Small Medium Enterprise’s (SME’s) and start-up’s as they establish their brand and grow their business. There is one truism throughout my many years of experience and this is it: a company’s success or failure rests on the people that they employee. But here is the problem, securing and cultivating employees that add real value to your business is no easy task. The fundamental dilemma that every company faces is the following:
I need good people for my business but how do I know that I am getting the right person who will be the right fit for my company and culture?
People Are More Complicated Than Equations
The most common error at this moment is for the management team to grasp for guarantees with their human resources hiring. Companies are so desperate in not making a hiring error that they will seek out certainty anywhere they can find it. I tell my clients that yes, you need good people that will fit your culture and that add real value but it’s a huge mistake to put the same mathematical or logical formulas of success (e.g. by doing X you will achieve Y) to recruitment that one applies to, for example, the company’s accounting or sales department.
I understand the pressures to get the hiring process right. But to apply and rely solely on any formulated and logical process in order to understand the complexity of people and to expect success is foolhardy. At our very core, we are entities that are fundamentally unknowable. We are continually changing, we are dynamic creatures with multiple layers of intricacies. Throughout the ages, psychology, and philosophy has attempted to provide understanding to the human psyche but their efforts have only provided understanding in general terms. An understanding of the true essence of people, an understanding that provides certainty and 100% knowledge is never possible. The real fact is that people are continually in flux and are never constant and it’s impossible to ascertain any absolute certainties.
There Is No Worry Free Hiring
So, what to do if I am a CEO of a start-up that is scaling up its business and needs some critical hire to ensure success? Well lately there has been an onslaught of Artificial Intelligence (AI) platforms that claim, with their unique algorithm, you will be able to safely determine the success or failure of your next hire. Don’t be fooled by this simplistic claim to such a complex problem of understanding people. There are numerous HR algorithms and personnel assessments in the market today and in defense of them they do offer some general assistance in the hiring process, but they can never offer worry-free hiring success as they claim. These unique algorithms can never capture all the unknown variables of the individual. In full disclosure, I am a practitioner of The Workplace Big Five (a personal assessment tool) and it’s a reliable vehicle in helping me with retention issues but I would never rely upon it for my hiring certainty.
Hiring Right Takes Time
All is not hopeless though. My advice to any CEO of an SME or start-up that is in scale-up mode is to invest in the time needed and get the hiring done right. There are no shortcuts in bringing the right fit into your company. You need to empower your managers to take the proper amount of time and due diligence to bring on and cultivate the right hire or if your management team is stretched and they don’t have the time then outsource your needs to a professional firm like Theonera. There is a great deal to say about outsourcing your recruitment and retention needs to a reputable firm. We are true business partners and contrary to popular belief working with a reputable firm doesn’t have to be costly. Don’t be hoodwinked into working with a head-hunter and their quick-fix promises, they are only after a quick buck and recycling unwanted applicants. You must invest the time needed to bring the best people into your company. However, you decide to proceed, be it through internal management handling the process or outsourcing your needs to a professional firm there simply are no fast and easy steps in the hiring process. When it comes to hiring the right person for your company remember these two golden truths:
- There are absolutely no elixirs when it comes to hiring the right fit, no algorithm can ever replace or capture the full and complex character of people.
- People are dynamic and to truly understand them takes time and effort. There are no shortcuts.
About the Author
John Francis is President of Theonera Inc, a recruitment and retention firm based in Waterloo Ontario Canada. For the past 25 years, he has been helping SME and Start-ups in the scaling mode build successful teams through proper recruitment and retention methodologies. John is also the host of the entertaining and informative podcast Work Passion Fit. He is always interested in hearing from CEO’s and Founders so please contact him directly if you need recruitment assistance or would like to be a podcast guest.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.
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