I was hiring a software salesman who didn’t know how to use computers, handing a new marketing initiative to a salesperson and making CTO in charge of marketing.
I said yes in all these three decisions, and they have been the best hires of my career. And the common point in all these three hires was the fact that I didn’t give much attention to the experience.
It may sound a bit different, but the thing is as you go higher up, the need for more hands-on approach decreases, and so does the need for specific experience. What becomes important is your behavior and competency.
The process of hiring for the leadership role is tedious, to say the least, so save yourself some time by avoiding the following three mistakes.
Background over behavior
Suppose you need someone to lead your retail marketing team, you would think that someone with experience in such matter is the best. But this is not always correct.
Sometimes what experienced people tend to do is that they focus on the area that they are good in and ignore the rest and are less prone to try the new things and new methods. They are rigid in their approach and less open to learning about new ideas.
It does not matter if he has been successful in the similar tasks earlier. It does not mean he will deliver for you again. It is more important to have the right behavior that is required to do the job. Because knowledge that can be gained is important as compared to experience & the behavior is hard to change.
The most important qualities in a candidate are rational thinking desire to prove himself, and I will learn and figure it out attitude. Bookish, technical knowledge and textbook responses are a big no.
Experience over ability
The salesman I hired had no knowledge of computers, He did not know a lot about the computers, but he was passionate. He made more calls than anyone else at the company and thus made more sales than everyone. He went on to break every sales record and made his way up the ladder to finally run millions of dollars’ worth of business.
It looked like a gamble, but it paid off big time. If you would have been in the same position would you have taken the risk? If not then you are missing out on an excellent opportunity.
Little fish from the big pond.
Do not get blinded by the resume. If it shows that she has worked at the leader company in your sector does not mean that she is good at what she does. You need to ask the important question. Why is she leaving such a big company and coming to you? What were the contributions that she made while she was with that company? Could she adapt to the demands that a lower funding puts on individuals?
It’s not hard to work for a company where you are surrounded by capable teammates that hide your weaknesses and give your strengths a boost. Plus it’s easy to pitch for a company like Apple or Google or Microsoft but not so accessible for smaller companies.
If that candidate has all the qualities that you are looking for and has work experience with the big company, then you hit jackpot. Otherwise, it’s better to go for someone with good working prowess from a smaller company as he is more likely to have the drive and thrust to excel as pointed out in the book David & Goliath.
Also Read: Planning To Hire A Developer?
Raw talent over resume
Personally I like to hire those that show signs of raw talent instead of a shining resume. If I can find someone who has both, well I just thank my lucky stars.