Putting It Together: Recruiting and Selecting Employees

The essence of recruiting is expressed in researcher, advisor and bestselling author Jim Collin’s classic recommendation: “Get the right people on the bus.” This analogy, presented in his 2001 bestseller, Good to Great, reflects the realities of operating in a dynamic and disruptive environment. In the years since, this insight has been widely recognized as a critical business success factor. Indeed, our environment has become even more of a chaos or opportunity situation, with trends and technology developments favoring companies that find and hire the “right” people. The key question, then, is how do you identify the “right” people? Organizational design consultant Karen Wunderland provides this summary of Collins’ five discovery questions:

  1. Does the person share your organization’s core values?
  2. Does this person “get it” so they don’t need tight management?
  3. Does this person have exceptional ability—the potential to be one of the best in his or her field?
  4. Does this person understand the difference between having a job and holding a responsibility?  You want folks who think three steps ahead, feel a sense of responsibility—and if they see a hole, they fix it.
  5. Can you answer “yes” to this question: Knowing everything you now know about this person, would you hire them again?[1]

Perhaps one of the most powerful lessons is not to make a hiring decision based on hope. As expressed in the Callibrain video review: “When in doubt, don’t hire. Keep looking.” The candidate equivalent was expressed by former Apple & Pixar Animation Studios CEO Steve Jobs in his legendary Stanford commencement address:

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

As Psychology Professor, researcher, and author Angela Duckworth demonstrated in Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, this passion is what translates into grit and sustains the commitment to succeed despite setback or failure. Indeed, it’s this passion that builds successful organizations and meaningful lives. As Collins noted:

“People are not your most important asset…the right people are.”

For a 5 minute distillation of Good to Great, watch Callibrain’s sketchnote video review:

Angela Duckworth’s Grit Test: https://angeladuckworth.com/grit-scale/