Hiring: do you speak the same language?

Hiring: do you speak the same language? 1024 683 admin9696

If hiring well ranks first on our services, this is not by coincidence. This is one of the key management skills. Operational and sales excellence start with excellence in terms of talent management : the right people at the right place and for a long time.

We have repeatedly highlighted the symptoms of flawed recruitment processes.

They may due to leaders who interfere with well-established processes through personal biased judgments ( See « He is intelligent »). They may be due to the difficulty of assessing a singular trait in a specific environment, organization or culture ( See « Sensitive strivers and sales »)

Hiring is a process. Fair enough. Structure, however, is not enough to eliminate the risk of error. A score card is but a tool and is of little help if not perfectly assimilated by each stakeholder. A fist glance, score cards bring to the recruitment process two paramount attributes : alignment and objectivity.

Without consensus on the questions to be asked and the answers to be obtained, they prove to be useless and give free rein to everyone’s interpretation. From what needs to be validated to how it should be validated, stakeholders do not speak the same language. This is certainly a first step towards hasty judgments and prejudices.

The number one reason? The vocabulary used. Some criteria require our attention. There is a long list. We come back on 5 of them.

  • The « fit » : we mean cultural fit of course. Corporate culture is often credited with virtues it does not have. It become a clone machine : stakeholders project their own image onto candidates. Often without carefully defining their own culture or without measuring the real success factors: the ability to adapt.
  • A twinkle in the eye : we can see roughly what it means. Or not ! Curiosity perhaps. Are the eyes the mirror of the soul to the extent that we can find in them the irrefutable evidence that the candidate has what it takes? This is all the more serious that the twinkle in the eye can quickly shit to a snap judgment on image and physical appearance of a candidate.
  • Driven : everyone can see what it comes about : the ability to execute. But which one ? Ability to execute a great number of tasks or ability to delegate and orchestrate? Some may understand the goal is to evaluate candidates’ motivations. And if a sales rep is more motivated by money than customer satisfaction, is it that bad, Doc?
  • Energy : well, namely in sales roles, let’s agree energy matters. But which one ? Extroversion or introversion ? Is the point to run a 100 meters or a marathon ? Confusion between being and looking, between action and reflection, energy is meant to be a bone fide criterion but turns out to be loosey-goosey, airy and fairy. Neither the perceived level of energy, nor charisma, does predict future success.
  • Young and hungry : apart from discrimination toward senior people, most of them being by the way beyond physical appearance younger and hungrier than most graduates, let’s acknowledge what it means: nothing ! When we dig into what it actually means, here is what we find : (Energy + Drive + Twinkle in the eye). Or sometimes a base salary well behind market standards, on a new and untapped territory, in a highly competitive environment …

Hiring is a process. Structure, methods, and tools are needed. A score card is useless if it does not clarify what needs to be investigated and qualified by each stakeholder.


Hence the need to avoid misused or meaningless criteria. Hence the need to define critical success factors and the way to validate them, starting with the right questions to ask.

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