People should be evalutated on whether or not they positively influence others
My last article was about the consequences of hiring jerks. This article is about a few simple steps to avoid them.
Often some form of so-called soft skills are included among the requirments in a job advertisement. (Why are they called soft, when they are essential?) Still, most recruitment processes tend to focus on skills and experience.
The argument against hiring for character traits or attitude is that it is too complicated, too expensive or too something else.
So what can you do about it? If you are working with HR, part of any interview panel or otherwise engaged in recruitment.
Or perhaps you simply want to have a say, because you have experienced too many failed recruitments, too many promotions for the wrong reasons. And worked with too many managers, “bosses” or “heads” that are jerks or close to.
I have worked for “experienced” heads of offices of international organisations, who would have been fired if they had worked for a remote municipality in Lapland.
There are 3 simple things you can do or suggest no matter your position in an organization. And you can implement or suggest them with without needing much experience in recruiting.
1. Give your employer some good arguments.
Further too sexual harassment: sexual harassers would not be able to harass, on duty, if they had not been hired by someone. In other words, their spinning moral compasses were not detected during the recruitment process. Now with dire consequences for many aid agencies.
People with rotten attitudes fail quickly. Unskilled and inexperienced employees with excellent attitudes succeed in the long run.
[Adam Toren ]
According to Adam Toren’s article almost half of new recruitments fail. 89 % of those failures, were due to something related to attitude or personality. These results are based on corporate businesses ; but there is not reason why this should not be the case for other industries. Recruitment processes are very much based on the same concept.
So when your employer complains that it is difficult to find the right person for the job, perhaps they are attracting the wrong people, or looking in the wrong place?
2. Suggest including some extra questions in the interview.
( and let them weigh more than the traditional skill questions)
- A time they achieved something they were proud of. Do they only talk about themselves or give praise to others?
- A time when they failed despite trying hard. Do they take responsibility? Or primarily blame others or the circumstances?
- A funny story about themselves. People with big egos will have a problem with that.
- A time a male/female (=opposite sex) co-worker/staff did something out of the ordinary they deeply admire.
3. The waiter rule
If someone is nice to you but rude to the waiter, they are not a nice person.
The waiter rule refers to the fact that how we treat people who are perceived as subordinate, such as waiters, is an indicator of how you treat people in general.
It might not be feasible to suggest taking candidates out for dinner or even a coffee.
But you can let them be alone with some staff that might be below his rank for a few minutes. Why not the cleaner? And tell the cleaner to ask the candidate some questions.
Is the candidate ignoring them? Friendly? Rude? Indifferent?
How he treats the cleaner says a lot about how he will treat employees or people he believes to be subordinate. Such as younger female staff.
If They Do Not Listen, It Does Not Mean You Are Not Right
You might say, that this will not work. They will not listen, your managers are themselves recruited merely due to experience and skills, or not even that. It could be due to politics, as I have experienced within the UN. Or it could be nepotism or camaraderie. You may be working for an organisation that are full of incompetent jerks (they do exist). If so, then you should leave as soon as you can. There is no future, and little opportunity for doing good work in places like that.
But it would be better, when you leave, to say to yourself: “at least I tried”. If your superiors or co-workers are not willing to listen, even though you have tried several times, it does not mean you are not right. Or you can do what I did: gather information about how a work place is not supposed to look like. And the dire consequences of a dysfunctional work environment. Because then you will also become much more aware of what a work place not just should but need to look like in order to thrive.