At the end of this article, you will have a new paradigm for hiring staff. Whether it's a question of finding a new nanny or a new wife, hiring is a skill everyone must have, only it isn't a skill. To be a skill, hiring would have to have well-defined procedures and outcomes. Instead we see a plethora of instinctive or borrowed concepts, scrambled together and presented with confidence. Hiring is at best an art form, but more often, a pig's breakfast.
The problem is not just one thing gone wrong. Hiring is a shit show. HR doesn't know how to spot talent. They can match resumes with job descriptions. They can score personality tests, but these are so full of ambiguities, that my own family can't recognise each other in the results of our personality tests. It's a grand joke, and HR has yet to see the joke's on them.
So what is the number 1 thing you can do to improve your hiring?
The secret? Play The Dating Game.
Why hire people for fixed contracts and full-time positions, when you don't know these candidates at all? Face it: you don't know them even a little When you're looking for a partner and you don't know their skills and personality, you should increase the number of positions that you offer. Innovate to find ways to lower the commitment, for both parties. Thinking of any ideas you could take to increase the flow of talent to your team? Here are three:
1. Hire people to work freelance on weekends. A surprising number of talented people are bored to death at their own job. They would jump at the chance to drop in on a new industry and get creative, leveraging their experience and opening new horizons. Why not hire them to work on weekends, or join small projects as outside consultants? Why wait for a dull old firm to pitch you on "solutions," when many talented people will basically solve your problems for the fun, a few extra bucks, or a LinkedIn review?
2. Host Coffee Chats and Youtube Debates. Every week, take a video recommendation from one of your teammates and invite people to watch it - people from inside your office and from out. There's almost no video with nothing to teach you, and inviting potential candidates to coffee and debate is a far better way to sample their style and caliber. Invite them twenty times, if you're still learning.
3. Actively search for speakers in a wide variety of topics, not necessarily connected directly to your line of work. When was the last time an ergonomics PhD gave you the scoop about how to sit comfortably in a chair, for example? Do you know what the sociologists are thinking about today? Intelligently design the format of your meetings. Otherwise, you may end up with a video version of a GoogleTalk - fascinating to watch, but no interaction.
Even if your success rate in hiring is already high, you can do even better by lowering your commitment and playing more often. Like Poker, and like dating, hiring is a game where it pays to play lots of little hands for not too much money. And, unlike Poker, when a great hand comes along, there's no chance of bluffing.