Want or Need? Rethink Your Recruitment Priorities

Recognizing Long-term Potential Means Looking Beyond Short-term Expectations

Uncle Sam Recruiter

Before preparing a new job posting, recognize that the “ideal” candidate does not exist—yet.

In trying to separate the good from the great, people like to start with perfection and list all the traits that make someone ‘ideal.’

The Difference Between Needs and Wants

Whether it is describing the ideal mate, planning the perfect day, or defining the ideal candidate for a position, conventional wisdom holds that by making a wish list covering every preference, you have a firm base for comparing your options.

The trouble with this approach is that people are usually very bad at distinguishing “needs” from “wants.” You see this disconnect often in the form of budgeting and buying decisions, but the same principle applies to recruitment.

Think of this way: Needs are basics; Wants are all bonuses.

Typically, a new-hire wish list is made up of few Needs, layered between lots of Wants that ultimately hurt your chances of finding the best fit for the job.

Aim to Replicate Success

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat through a meeting where a new job posting is being drawn up, and the “must have” column gets so big and detailed, that even existing employees wouldn’t be able to fit every requirement.

You can define true Needs quickly by looking at what makes your current team function. Not what makes them excel—that comes later, through practice and slow, steady cultural integration.

It is easy to reinvent the wheel when preparing to do recruiting, but expecting new hires to come in to your organization ready to meet and exceed the performance of existing employees is beyond unrealistic, and sets the whole relationship up for failure.

Plan on Remedial Training

The fact is, you need to plan for remediation in any recruitment effort.

Too many executives hear this and think it is a compromise: if they aren’t getting the absolute most skilled recruits, they must be settling for mediocrity. Nothing could be further from the truth. Any job in any company has a learning curve.

Bruce Tulgan, researcher, author, and expert on generational issues in the workplace, explains how organizations face a baseline skills gap even in the most promising new, youthful recruits.

He says this:

One of the things we’ve measured over 23 years is, what are the hiring managers saying? And an awful lot of what they’re saying, with increasing incidence, is that [Millennials] have the hard skills, but they lack the old-fashioned soft skills.” 

Before you can capitalize on any fresh talent, your recruits have some learning to do to get acquainted with your company, your staff, your product, your mission, your systems, your expectations (let’s face it: nobody is completely forthcoming in an interview).

If every new hire is going to require an upfront investment to train and get up to speed, why pretend that raw talent matters more than the will and ability to learn, fit in, and care from day one?

Tulgan goes on to say:

One of the things you have to do to succeed with the new young workforce, is find a way to channel their fresh training and new technology that they’re comfortable with, the new processes, new ideas, new energy—you have to find a way to tap that. But you also have to find a way to teach them some of the ‘here is how we do things around here, and this is our culture.’”

Reframe Your Needs as Learning Opportunities

Getting the best talent on your staff isn’t just a recruiting challenge, it is a responsibility of management and leadership. Know that going into a new hire decision, and you can make sure they know they are expected to learn, grow, and evolve alongside your organization, from the beginning.

Presenting potential recruits with a role as a learning opportunity allows you to cultivate a cultural fit alongside the skills fit your organization needs. This is where an investment of effort on their part will be met with an investment of training, high expectations, and coaching on your part.

Tulgan continues with this:

Good management is synonymous with teaching, and good followership is synonymous with learning. Good management is constantly, systematically focusing on what they can do to make things better. People should be doing that up, down, and sideways every step of the way.”

Whether that is remediating soft skills in Millennial recruits, or getting older workers up to date with the latest technology, every member of your team needs both expectations, and opportunities to continue learning and growing.

Attract Character by Demonstrating Character

If your hard skill need happens to be programming, remember that:

You don’t need the best programmer in the business, you need the best programmer your company and your culture can attract and retain.

When it comes to posting a new job and attracting candidates, you have more reach and access than ever before. The number of resources and opportunities you have to set yourself apart from the other dull, grey “Help Wanted” postings online (especially free ones) gives you freedom to experiment, have fun, and put the focus from the very beginning on what really matters: finding the right fit.

Try doing this:

  • Convey that you take cover letters as seriously as resumes.
  • Show how skills needs align with cultural norms.
  • Ask what you can learn from applicants, and what they hope to learn from you

If you are looking for skills without consideration for character, you’re trying to hire a robot, not a person. As a result, your job posting is probably going to come across as equally robotic.

Finding someone with the right skills who also fits your company’s culture requires you to not just ask for evidence of skills, but demonstrate an interest in the person offering to help you.

What are the most unique, captivating job postings you’ve ever seen? What made them memorable? How can you go from advertising a job to advertising a culture? Are you focusing on too much on Wants and forgetting what your organization truly Needs? How are you helping your youngest team members learn the soft skills that allow them to fully realize the value their hard skills can provide?

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Edgar Wilson is a Writer, Consultant, and Analyst
He follows trends in Education, Healthcare, and Public Policy
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Leaders: You Do Not Need to Be Nice to Be Kind

Kindness is not softness, it is not weakness, and it doesn’t always have to be nice.

In fact, sometimes kindness requires you to be tough and direct. I have seen the misinterpretation of this word negatively impact many organizations.

Leadership Mistakes

Leaders, in an attempt to be kind, move under-performing employees from position to position in the hopes that they will finally succeed or at least survive. Others allow deadlines to pass without repercussion or avoid having that fierce conversation that is needed in order to drive improvement and productivity.

Many of these leaders have adopted this style of kindness out of a reaction from working with or for a tyrannical ruler. They have witnessed how ineffective fear is in motivating people and driving an organization forward.

However, in an effort to be the antithesis of what they witnessed, they too have become ineffective.

Some are just new to their leadership role and worry about being liked. They lack the self-confidence needed and therefore, spend much of their time trying to please who that work for them.

But, neither of these is true kindness.

Leadership Wisdom

People need to understand where they stand, how they need to improve and what is at risk if they don’t.

Kindness requires empathy, honesty and trust. It means that at times you must be a mirror, reflecting back to a person the impact of their habits and behaviors.

Feedback, constructive criticism and accountability are all forms of kindness. People need to understand where they stand, how they need to improve and what is at risk if they don’t.

Leadership Looking Glass

It means that at times you must be a mirror, reflecting back to a person the impact of their habits and behaviors.

It may be counterintuitive, but letting someone go from their job could be a great act of kindness. For that individual, it very well may be that you are releasing them from the pain of being in the wrong job, giving them the freedom to finally pursue one that better fits their skills.

It could also be that difficult but teachable moment, where someone with a sense of entitlement finally realizes in fact they are not. Although no longer employed by you, they are now much better prepared for their next employment opportunity.

Maybe most importantly, it is an act of kindness to the rest of the organization.

It can be so demoralizing to be hard-working, a driven performer and not see those who aren’t be held accountable for their lack of performance.

Leadership Courage

When we care about others, we don’t want to be the cause of any pain or suffering.

No one relishes having difficult conversations or enjoys taking tough action. When we care about others, we don’t want to be the cause of any pain or suffering. But, avoiding those conversations and failing to take the needed action can be far more damaging in the long run.

Not only damaging to that individual, but also, to the efficacy of your own leadership and to the organization as a whole. Kindness requires that you push past your own discomfort and insecurity to take the needed action that best serves the interest of the company you help to lead.

You do not need to be nice to be kind. But, you must make people feel heard, cared for, valued and respected.

It is also essential that you always act with integrity and honesty and, that you have the conversations and take the action needed to best serve the organization you represent.

If you do all that, you are in fact a kind leader.

Remember: You do not need to be nice to be kind.

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Elliot Begoun

Elliot Begoun is the Principal Consultant of The Intertwine Group, LLC.
He works with companies to Deliver Tools that Enable Growth
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How Leadership Is Evolving In 2015 and Beyond

Millennials CollageAs the Millennial generation comes of age, there are changes happening in the workplace that are revealing just how Generation Y will leave their mark on society in the decades to come.

When it comes to the workplace environment it has becoming clear that factors like diversity and making sure everyone has a voice are crucially important to this new wave of employees.

But that’s not all.

Millennials are also looking for new styles of management to match their unique approach to the workplace. And with Millennials already overtaking Baby Boomers in prominence in the workforce, the winds of change are going to continue blowing for a long time.

Here are some of the environmental building blocks that management should be using in 2016.

Humility

It may sound strange to old-school management, but leadership in 2016 is no longer about creating an environment that caters to the rock stars within the company. Today’s Millennial workforce grew up on television shows like The Office, where faux-Type A leaders like Michael Scott and overeager disciplinarians like Dwight Schrute were mocked.

Meanwhile, the show’s characters gravitated naturally toward employees like Jim Halpert, with his easy-going confidence and a sense of low-key humility. Cultivating a similar mix of humility and confidence in your office can create a synergy and a collaborative spirit that will help lift productivity and keep your employees around longer.

Transparency

The days are long gone when management could keep a closed-door to employees and hide key information like expected salary range and how the company is performing financially.

Employees nowadays are smarter and have more potential mobility than ever before.

Sites like Glassdoor.com make it easy to compare salaries, both within a company and for similar positions in different companies. They can also reveal warts about a company’s leadership or divulge how the company is managing hiring and layoffs. And, frankly, with fewer benefits like pensions to keep employees around for life, generation Y is looking to know the companies they work for more intimately than ever before.

The company behind social media tool Buffer has set an incredible precedent for transparency, posting their salary formula for each and every position at the company as well as how each dollar a customer spends is used to fund the company. While I’m not saying you have to go quite that far, don’t hide the type of information that your employees need to know in order to decide whether they want to invest themselves in your company long-term.

Flexibility

With more and more companies adopting a more mobile workforce, questions that surround managers today include allowing employees to bring their own devices to work and whether or not they will require remote access through a VPN or the cloud when they are offsite.

In some organizations, the worksite has become more like the incubator office where employees can meet up when needed while working primarily offsite. Look for this trend to continue in 2016.

This idea was echoed by Kevin Brogan, VP at Meadows Casino.

He says this:

Whether it is a workflow or an end result giving your team the freedom to create more efficient ways of working has allowed the US to help bring back some jobs that were previously moved overseas.”

It also helps workers take advantage of their natural focus and energy ebbs and flows and cuts down on commute time, “getting ready” time, etc. It also incentivizes “staying in the zone” and working as efficiently as possible instead of pacing one’s self to make sure that everything takes exactly 8 hours to complete.

Putting your employees in control of their schedules tells them that they are responsible for getting results by any means necessary.

Empathy

In customer service, the maxim used to be: Feel, Felt, Found. It was a way of empathizing with the customer so that one could say, I know how you feel. I have been in that situation myself before, and here is how we can resolve this. Applying that to your employees in abbreviated form is an area of being a manager that should pay dividends in 2016 and beyond.

After years of being hit by ‘toughen your emotions for the war’ in the media, it is now okay to show your emotions and feelings about something.

Of course there is really no need to be maudlin, but showing that you are alive and empathetic will be appreciated.

2015 has been a pretty good year for business in the United States. Employment is up and management trends continue to emphasize a more humanist approach as a means of motivating and building productivity.

By correlating details of the environmental desires of your workforce with your management style, you can be in position in 2016 to reap the benefits.

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Tayven James

Tayven James is a Freelance Business and Tech Author
He focuses on Emerging Trends and the Marketing Methods behind their Success
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