Why Do We Make Hiring So Hard?

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We know what we want in a new hire or in our teams: We want someone who is highly motivated, who has good character and strong talent. I know countless folks who have read the books or articles on leadership and hiring, and they’re very good at throwing out buzzwords like ‘grit’ and ‘gusto,’ but when I asked them how exactly they hire for ‘grit’ or what ‘grit’ even looks like to them, I often just get a shrug or a smirk and the response of I just know it when I see it. But is that enough or would it be more beneficial in the long run to the company, the team, and the prospect, to know exactly what you’re looking for? The answer seems obvious to me; the answer should be I want to know as much as I can.

We preach the gospel of what we want/need to have in a candidate or in our team members, but we don’t take the necessary steps to measure these things. If you want to hire for motivation, or for character, why not use assessments (StrengthsFinders, Hogan, DISC, Caliper, etc.) to get a better understanding of where someone falls on the spectrum and make a more informed decision about them? I recognize many organizations are trying, but many of them only go halfway with assessments. They don’t have a conversation of what they’re actually looking for and grab a random assortment of assessments, administer them haphazardly to check the I gave an assessment box, and then don’t apply the results. Naturally, the mindset then becomes these things don’t work but it’s not the failing of the assessment, it’s a failure on the organization’s part to not utilize the tool. If you try using a screwdriver to hammer in a nail, is the tool itself defective?

The spectrum and intricacy of behavior and personality is complicated enough as is. Why do we go above and beyond to complicate it more when we have tools and resources available to make these complex traits and combinations just a little more clear to us? Everyone has their way of doing things; they can easily throw out the statements of you should hire for this trait or this is just how we do it but really, and I know I’ve said this so many times before, we need to be asking why. Why do you do it the way you do? Why this trait? Is it effective? Instead of being ready at the jump to fire off an answer, slow down. Ask yourself some questions. Start with this: Have you given behavioral assessments a real shot?

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