Hire people who don’t fit

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There is a serious problem in procurement and recruitment. It’s down to algorithms.

People buy from people and people hire people. These are truisms. And yet increasingly it would seem that organisations limit their ability to buy and hire by putting up screens. “Literally” as people seem to say randomnly these days. But in this case, literally.

The screens on the screens (sorry) are filters set up to weed out the firms and people to be considered for purchase or hire respectively.

Whether submitting to a procurement process or applying for a job, it is increasingly a requirement to fill out online forms which sometimes seem to have about as much use as the old multiple choice examination techniques did in schools. Do they still use them? I hope not. Putting the “x” in a box allows you to “pass Go” or not.

Purchasers and recruiters will never know how much great talent they excluded from their search because the ‘machine’ dd it for them. What they are presented with is a limited choice. A choice limited automatically.

Selections are made on the basis of who you think “fits” without knowing whhat or who is out there.

I can’t think of an idea I’ve had about anything which hasn’t been turned on its head by being open minded and looking at the people and things which don’t appear to be good fits.

I know I’m old-fashioned. Funny really because I used to be so edgy and radical. but what was once new soon becomes old. My old-fashioned view based on experience has been that the best buys and hires often come from the most unexpected places and people.

I recall a PR agency pitching to me way back in the Dark Ages who were, let’s say a little different. Probably a bit ‘special’.

Their pitch was off the wall the say the least. Their people were different from those in every other agency I saw. I spent most of the pitch trying to work out what the hell they were ‘on.’

As my colleagues and I left their offices (I say office – it was a basement room actually) I turned to them and said – they scare the s++t out of me, let’s hire them! That agency would never have got through the screens of today to have that opportunity.

I’ve pretty much applied the same attitudes when hiring new or promoting existing people.

I hate people who ‘fit.’ I love people who challenge me, think differently, have a spark. By the time most applications get through the machine process the spark has been extuinguished.

I’m shouting into the wind here as most big organisations are going in the opposdite direction, so in love with algorithms. But my two-penneth is that people buy from people and people hire people. So get people in your face.

How else will you find those people who stand out?

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