Question: Is the best job hunter the best candidate?
The best candidates (1) have a good resume, (2) know how to present relevant skills and experience on paper or in person and (3) they keep an up-to-date online social profile.
Confused recruiters think it's their job to polish the candidate's resume and teach them how to act in an interview. It isn't.
Here's a comment from a successful business owner
Animal, is it worse to make a poor hire, or to fail to hire a top performer? Many top performers (the people who change the world) are "losers". The fact that they are losers means they have little stake in the present, nor much of an ego to protect and worry about. Having only A players is like having a portfolio of only blue chips; you wont likely outperform unless you have some flyers in there too. I like to hire winners, of course, but I also make some bets on some "losers" - people who dress badly, have spotty manners, are very confident, who don't know how to make small talk and follow conventional expectations. When I say loser, I don't mean actual loser; I mean undervalued asset.
... the ideals of freedom, democracy and the rule of law. These are not mere notions. They are the things that, over time and against all odds, have proven to be the only ground in which human rights, political stability, and economic prosperity, may flourish.
These values are not proprietary; they do not belong to one nation or one people. Nor are they a finite resource; on the contrary, the wider they are spread, the stronger they grow. Likewise, when they are threatened anywhere, they are threatened everywhere.
And what threatens them, or more precisely, what today threatens the societies that embrace such values and the progress they nurture? Those who scorn modernity, who loathe the liberty of others, and who hold the differences of peoples and cultures in contempt.
I had a chat today with @JohnSumser about company culture. John said that there is a problem with vocabulary when discussing culture because it can refer to temperament, personal style or company size and structure.
A lot has been written about company size and candidate fit.
While entrepreneurs might be tempted to hire candidates with big-business credentials, they're rarely a good fit. "There are rules, regulations and processes to do everything" in a big company, says Mr. Marshall. "In a start-up, there are no set jobs. Everyone does everything." Start-ups should be looking for flexible candidates who are used to smaller environments.
Big Company people are not universally bad for startups. In fact, you’ll never grow your startup without them. But lots of them are not the right hire for your startup.
Your Big Company candidate ought to be squirming with impatience in their current environment. They want their ideas to be implemented faster. They want to stop with the extensive analysis and start experimenting. They crave doing things vs. talking about them and planning them for next year.
BigCo reps.... may be used to relying on a steady stream of quality inbound leads and find it too difficult to build a solid pipeline without them. But even those with plenty of success hunting for their own deals may find it’s a different story when they don’t have the instant authority and credibility of a big company logo on their side.
Early stage selling is way more “evangelical” than process driven. That means you’re more often than not trying to get customers to realize they actually have a problem versus their already having budget assigned for a system in your category.
If you hire that person straight from a sales academy they will be hugely frustrated that you don’t have pricing sheets, high quality sales collateral, a well-oiled sales process integrated into Salesforce.com and a clear sense of why customers should buy your product.
Culture Is a Complex Package
Note that Suster changes topics. He's still talking about small companies but not an organizational issue. He's talking about different sales skills: selling a new product versus an established one.
You can call the lack of admin support and the need for a specific kind of sales skill part of the culture of a start-up. But your meaning will be clear only if it's understood that culture refers to a package of issues that are related but still distinct.
The sophisticated person will know that a start-up includes people who have an informal personal style, are temperamentally enthusiastic, who like to experiment, who can sell new products, and are willing to work long hours without any admin support.
But, unless you are clued in to the full checklist of its elements, when someone uses the term "company culture", you are going to find it confusing. I do and I believe that most people who use the term do not have a fully articulated idea of its meaning in their own minds.
I'm No Sherlock Holmes
As I write, I'm listen to TalentCulture Radio and China Gorman is explaining that companies attract people by means of their strong cultures. And what does that mean specifically?
Well, she's been talking a lot about paying for education. And listeners are tweeting about investing in employees. And when they say that these things build a strong company culture I think they mean what I would call a strong team spirit. People are engaged. They are happy working at the company, they think it's a good place and do not want to leave.
So, that's a part of company culture, too. But, as I said, you have to be well-informed to get it. And, maybe that's my problem. Perhaps, I'm not.
But, look, I run a recruiting radio show and I remember asking Donato Diorio, a very smart CEO and former recruiter about his company's culture. And, you know what he said? "Work hard, play hard?". And, maybe that means it's a good term for sloppy talk but has little practical value.
Culture In Recruiting
On the other hand, I've long been impressed by the idea that a paleontologist can find the footprint of a dinosaur and know what the entire creature must have looked like. Or, an archeologist can find one tool in a pile of sand and know a lot about the community it came from.
Some things are necessarily tied together. So, if you know one thing about a company, it can imply a lot. That means, in recruiting, maybe you only have to know a few things about a company and search on that basis to find a cultural fit. For instance, someone coming from the public sector doesn't usually fit into the private sector and vice versa. I know it's simple things like these we talk about when someone mentions culture. Nothing more. As you can see, however, from what Cindy Alvarez says above, crude generalizations while often meaningful can lead you to miss out on individuals who are misfits in their current companies who could be good hires for you.
My fourth and most recent mentor is my CEO Coach. A couple of colleagues suggested that I see a CEO coach during Fab’s recent changes. A couple of months later, I could not advocate more for the importance of having one.
The CEO Coach is sort of like a special psychologist cum advisor for CEO’s. My coach is awesome at calling bullshit on me, getting me to own my challenges, and helping me focus on doing the right work.
It’s true what they say: The CEO’s job can be the loneliest in the world. There are many days when you feel like your team doesn’t get you, your investors don’t get you, the media doesn’t get you, your customers don’t get you, etc. Get a coach. If they’re good at what they do, they’ll always get you. And they’ll help you work through it.
The most important hiring criteria for your executives is cultural fit. You need to work with people who work like you do, and who enjoy and appreciate your style and pace.
It doesn’t matter how smart or experienced people are, if they don’t match your style it’ll never work. You need to love working with them, and them with you.
Work with people who argue with you and tell you no. Be willing to fight like hell during the day but still love each other when you go home.
Don’t work with people you don’t love. There’s no short term gain that is worth sacrificing for working with someone you do not love working with. If you aren’t enjoying looking at each other each day, you’re working with the wrong people.
Here are the criteria I review Fab’s executives on:
Fab Culture. Does the executive personify our culture, cultivate it, and help us nurture it?
Fab Passion. Is the executive passionate for our specific Fab mission or could they be working at any company? Is Fab their life? Were they made to work at Fab?
As you grow, the hardest thing to manage is culture. We’ve probably worked harder on trying to make Fab Fab everywhere we operate than on any other initiative. Alignment amongst managers around who we hire, how we hire, and how we manage (and how we have fun doing it) is key to culture.
Follow your gut, and back it up with data. At Fab we like to say that we start with emotions and then support our emotions with data to learn whether our emotions were right. But, it’s emotions that come first. I firmly believe that’s how it should be.
- the one thing you are most passionate about. - the one thing you have a realistic shot at being the best at. - that is also an untapped market opportunity.
Only Do Your One Thing.
Everything else is a distraction. Don’t do side projects. Don’t take unnecessary meetings. Anything that distracts you from executing on your One Thing is just that, a distraction. Say no to everything that does not contribute to your One Thing.
Be Ready To Change Your One Thing
Wisely, Betashop tells us that if you don't get traction with your One Thing after a year make a hard stop and find another One Thing. He did, moving from a social network Fabulis to online retailer Fab.com
This one thing is really three things and some are hard to come by.
1. Everyone has something they like doing.
2. You don't have to be the best to be successful but you do have to be good.
3. Then, you have to find people who could use your one thing. And, you have to be a confident sales person to sell it to them.
So, this is good advice because it makes the path forward seem clear and simple. But it isn't a cakewalk.
Here's another one thing.
All you have to find is one person: - you find attractive - with a great personality - who really likes you
See what I mean?
I should acknowledge that Betashop is talking about startup companies not individuals so one's own weakness could presumably be fortified by the skills available in a team. And he advises founders to hire people who do certain things better than them. But, still, the founder has to be good at something, too, so the program does have a personal orientation.