Hired 4 Life

William Tincup Audacious Ideas, Recruiting, William Tincup

This article will make your brain hurt, but the payoff will be… well, hopefully… worth it.

Imagine a different world for the next 5 minutes. Imagine that with every single hire you made, you did so for life. Yep, lifelong appointment! So any open position becomes a decision that you’ll live with until you or that hire dies. In particular, what would be different about whom and how you hire? I’ll throw out some ideas, but I won’t hit them all.

– Candidate Experience – The candidate/employee won’t be transitory… what do you want them to feel, see, touch, hear throughout the candidate experience, moreover, how “real” can you be? And by real I mean completely honest about what happens behind the veil at work.

– Sourcing – Where do you look for lifers? Sad dating analogy, but I was told to look for my wife at church or a library. I found my wife of 20+ years at a party that I crashed. I was drinking beer out of a Frisbee. So where we look for lifelong appointments might not be obvious.

– Job Description – How much more important is the job description with a lifelong appointment? I mean we all lie and say it’s important, but 80% of the job descriptions are cut and pasted from job boards—meaning we don’t usually custom create job descriptions.

– Recruitment Marketing – Where do we place our ads or, better yet, how do we our recruitment marketing budget for lifelong appointments?

– Background Screening – I’m guessing we do everything here… credit checks, criminal background checks, social media audit, drug test (if applicable)… after all, the candidate will be with us for life. We may as well really know what we’re getting. Carfax for candidates?

– Cultural Assessment/Fit – We all know how important “fit” is. With a lifetime appointment, a poison pill hire is a firm killer. So most of this is on us to know what works/doesn’t work (culturally) with our firm. Oh, and add a layer of complexity because you’ll also be predicting what will work (culturally) in the future.

– Behavioral Assessment – How folks handle stress, behave under stress and/or just getting to know them in a deeper/better way can’t be a bad thing. Right? I’m not totally sure you can identify with certainty things like ethics, morality and/or character but we may as well try. Re: lifetime appointment!

– Personality Assessment – The personality folks would have you believe that personality drives everything. What your personality is… defines everything about you… who you’ll marry, who your friends are, how you interact with the world, etc. I believe some but not all of that. That said, I think we should know more about the personalities that thrive at our organization.

– Skills Assessment / Testing – Wait… I almost forgot about competencies. Can the candidate do the job? Seems important… scratch that… critical for us to know. Can they do the current job AND will they grow with us?

– Reference Checks – Like background screening… I think we call every single reference and really get to know the candidate.

– Pre-screen Interview – You’ve researched (ahem stalked) and now the first human discussion happens… are you screening in or screening out?

– Mission/Vision/ Values – How do you adequately communicate the mission of the firm, the vision of where the firm is going and/or your corporate values to the candidate? How do you make sure they get it? Would it be appropriate to test to make sure?

– Team Interview – Making sure that everyone really… really loves the candidate is critical with lifelong appointments, right? So how do you control the natural biases that would pop up? I mean, who’s going to grant a lifelong appointment to a maverick, renegade and/or contrarian?

– Compensation Discussion / Negotiation – When do you talk about money and how does the conversation change because you’re hiring them for life?

– Employee Referrals – Commonly referred to as the Holy Grail of HR… how much MORE important are employee referrals now?

– Onboarding – Typically the last stop on the talent acquisition train. How should we do onboarding with a person that will be with us for life?

– Training & Development – Okay, I’m way outside the TA process but suffice to say… we’re going to learn a ton about the candidate in recruiting phase… shouldn’t some of that inform how we develop said employee? I mean, we’re going to know where the holes are. Right?

Okay, I’ll stop. Lifetime appointments probably terrify us—that is, if we’re truthful with ourselves. But why is that? Why don’t we treat every hire as if we were hiring for life?

I’m curious as to what you think. Please comment!