Who do you let inside the door?

Who do you let inside the door?

Working as a consultant and executive mentor to various types of employees gives me an interesting view of human nature. Having worked with different nationalities for twenty years has been an eye opener.

We often encounter managers and executives complaining about certain individuals in their organization. In my former corporate life, this include me. We would highlight the poor work output of this person. Often, it is the behavior that we talk about. In my consulting career, I keep getting asked for suggestions on how to get rid of such employees. How can we find a better job fit for them elsewhere in the company. How about finding a better fit for them outside the company?

After the dust settles in these heated discussions, I would often say “why don’t we step back and look at the bigger picture?” The problem stems back further than the current challenges we face with them.

The problem stems all the way back to the recruitment process. Why did we let the person inside the company? Why is our selection and recruitment process so weak? We often hear reasons like; he seem like a fit at the start, we don’t have time to sift through hundreds of CVs, let’s give him more time to adopt to our culture.

Unless we inherited our problem employee, we have nobody to blame except ourselves. We assessed his CV. We were part of a meticulously designed interview schedule. We signed off to hire the person after a six-month probation.

For short, we have nobody to blame except ourselves. We let the person inside the door.

Southwest Airlines is the most profitable airlines in the U.S. When the airline started, they focused on recruiting former cheerleaders. The logic then was that “why hire demotivated people and spend a fortune trying to motivate them.” In the airline industry, the behavior of the flight attendant is a big factor. The passengers loved the energy and enthusiasm that the former cheerleading crew brought to the plane.

How does your recruitment process weed out the chaff from the grain? Do you hire people based on their behavior or their technical skills? What questions do you ask to understand how a candidate thinks of behaves? How much time do we spend trying to find the right candidate for the company?

David Jones, my forger manager and COO of NCB, keeps reminding us back then “We are only as good as our people.”

Who do you let inside your door?