The Evolution of Hiring: Do It Differently

Kathy Rapp Audacious Ideas, Change, Culture, Employment Branding and Culture, Hiring Managers, HR & Marketing, Interviewing, Kathy Rapp, Leadership, Recruiting

One of my favorite cartoons as a kid was The Jetsons.  George and family living in the sky, flying cars and best of all… Rosie, the loveable robot who made life less stressful.  I wonder what the hiring process was like in the Jetsons’ world?

The evolution of hiring is critical to understand. How you identified, assessed, hired and onboarded talent even 5 years ago has changed.  I found my first job in HR in the newspaper.  I haven’t gotten a newspaper delivered in 15 years.  Websites and email campaigns may be valuable recruitment tools today, but likely less impactful in the future giving way to YouTube-like video diaries and text messaging.

Let’s review a couple of examples of companies thinking differently about how they hire.

Mediocre hires are like empty calories.  They make you bigger but less healthy” says Eric Ryan, Founder of Method, the sustainable cleaning product company. Ryan talks about approaching each hire as though the company’s future depends on getting it right—and how he has evolved his approach over time.

Ryan is a marketer and views recruitment as a marketing exercise.  Forget the boring Word doc job postings—he uses 3 slides written with attitude and art.  He knows his culture is an ultimate recruiting tool and encourages posting of pics to Instagram and Facebook.  His interview process is intense and involves homework, which he views as a necessary speed bump to slow down and really get to know the candidate.  The homework assignment is 3 questions: one strategic, one tactical and one cultural—specifically, how the candidate would keep Method weird. The last question is answered via the candidate’s passion, so they may sing, do yoga or even set up a make-shift tennis court for the team!

For extra credit, candidates are asked to come up with their own titles.  Love the creativity from one packaging engineer who wanted his title to be, “The Perfect Package.”

Over at Spanx, the shapewear company, Sara Blakely, Founder, gets personal. Duh—she’s hiring for a shapewear company!

For leadership roles in particular, Sara says 70% of her decision is based on the feeling she gets from the candidate and 30% has to do with the details of the role. (I know some of you are already all twisted up over her approach but keep reading.)

The 70%—the reaction to a person—is based on if they are if they are “smart, quick, and scrappy” and a glass-half full type. She also is keenly interested in their questions, so shuts up for at least half of the interview and ensures there are a few awkward moments of silence. Don’t you want to go interview with Sara?!!

She also insists on meeting the significant other at the end of the process, although has never disqualified a job candidate “because a spouse was wrong.” Her belief is in meeting someone’s chosen life partner you see a dimension you wouldn’t necessarily encounter in an interview.

The trend that should be most apparent: There is a huge personal dimension to hiring in these companies, and many others. As the lines between work and life continue to blur, this trend makes sense.

So for those of you who think robots will take over HR and perhaps envisioned Rosie putting candidates through the ringer in the Jetsons’ world, I don’t see it happening that way.  I do see hiring appropriately and evolving and, yes, I may just ask my next candidate to go for drinks while contemplating their ideal title.  More to come on how that turns out!

Kathy Rapp

Kathy Rapp is the CEO of hrQ where she helps companies find groovy HR Talent for permanent or project roles across the country. Prior to joining hrQ Kathy booked more than 15 years of diverse HR leadership experience working in F500s and start-up organizations. A connoisseur of the intersection between pop culture and business, Kathy believes many talent insights can be gleamed from the succession planning lessons experienced by Van Halen and AC/DC.