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Ty Kiisel: Current hiring practices aren't working — here are 6 tips to get the right people

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 11 2012 11:41 a.m. MST

What are businesses doing to ensure that they hire the right people — and then keep them?

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I think the hiring process is broken.

Over the last few years, we’ve let resume scrapers, personality tests, and other technology take too big a role in processing resumes, interviewing candidates and ultimately hiring new people. Successful candidates today write their resumes and cover letters to keywords and search terms to hopefully help them float to the top of the hundreds of resumes they are up against to fill a single job opening.

I know the technology goal is to help human resources and hiring managers weed out applicants who wouldn’t be good fits in their organizations. But, although it may have streamlined the process of determining who should move forward through the interview process, I think in many instances it’s pushed the wrong people through.

I’ve been at Lendio since this past spring. I’m here because a former colleague knew my capabilities and was in a position to tell me about a possible role for me when I asked about it. He was also in a position to speak for me when it came time to make a decision about whether or not to hire me. Although I had a very successful track record where I was, when I start to think about making this change, I can’t help but wonder if I would have received any serious consideration had I been an unknown commodity.

I have other friends who haven’t been so lucky.

Although this isn’t intended to be an advertisement for my friend Geoff Crane, there will likely be some who think it is. I’m putting his name to the story because it’s real and it’s happening right now.

Geoff is a project management friend I’ve known and worked with virtually over the last several years. Not too long ago, he determined he needed to finish his education to better his career, so he went back to school. Since graduating, however, the pickings have been pretty slim — despite having a long, successful career of 22-plus years and a recent degree. So not long ago he offered a $25,000 finder's fee to anyone who could help him find a job. Again, I’m not interested in writing about the finder’s fee, nor is this an advertisement to get him a job (though I’m sure he’d talk to you if you’re interested). But it’s a great example of how a broken system has forced a highly skilled and talented professional to go to drastic lengths to find a job.

Unfortunately, despite getting some airtime on his local TV station, a couple of articles in the news and some interesting PR, he’s still looking for a job.

I recently read an article written by Evernote CEO Phil Libin on how his company hires and keeps the best talent. Although most of it is real common sense (and doesn’t rely on a resume scraper), I think it bears repeating here. Here’s the list (with my comments after each tip):

Recommendations from close friends (or just hiring close friends) is the best way to start

I currently work with a number of colleagues and friends I’ve worked with before. Many of them where here before I was. They knew what I was capable of, and knew how we would work together. The logic of this is pretty straightforward. Evernote offers what Libin describes as a “generous bonus” if they end up hiring someone referred by an employee.

Hire people smarter than you (or at least smarter about their particular job than you are)

Several years ago, when I was leading the creative team at Response (a local ad agency), we made it a point to seek out the right talent. If we didn’t find a good fit, we wouldn’t hire. We thought it was more important to hire the right people and wouldn’t settle for the best person of those who had applied. It often meant waiting, but as a result, we got to work with some incredibly talented people.

Make them write

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