Don’t Hire on Resume or CV

In the last post I talked about people you should not hire. Here we will do a 180 and talk about the people you should. Herb Kelleher, the founder of Southwest Airlines, was all about attitude and creating an organization that fostered a positive, upbeat atmosphere. He felt strongly that people could be trained, and urged managers to “hire good attitudes even when the people with bad attitudes have superior degrees, experience and expertise.” He also felt that people should be allowed to be themselves at work.  No employee should ever have to put on a “work mask,” he once told me in a written interview.

Happy business teamResearch and experience shows that Kelleher is right. Choosing someone because of an impressive resume over an individual with a winning attitude can be a huge unforced error.

How do you know how to spot someone with the right stuff?

I have always looked for people with character—individuals with the DNA that allows them to put the company above themselves.  That’s often the difference between a good hire and a bad hire.  People with personal goals often go the extra mile when the company needs them most.

There are other ways to discern the out-performers from the laggards. Trusting your gut is usually a good idea, especially if your gut has served you well in the past. Or, perhaps you have heard from multiple constituencies (e.g. customers, colleagues) that this individual is not a team player. If you need a formula to identify top notch people, consider one of my favorite Jack Welch management models. People with good attitudes are also more likely to have his “4E’s of Leadership.” What are the 4E’s?

Energy—people who go at 75 miles an hour all the time. Energize—are those managers that fire people up. Edge—managers with edge know how to make the tough decisions and avoid the maybes, and Execute—those managers who deliver results. Hire the people with the right attitude, people who score high on the E to the 4th scale, and you are far more likely to reap the benefits of a great manager or employee. Hire on the basis of resume—which reveals little about someone’s “E” quotient, and you may find yourself having to clean up a huge mess somewhere down the line.

Want to know more on what to do and what to avoid in the workplace? The Unforced Error, my new book, is now available at Amazon and at all good bookstores.


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