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I've done a fair amount of hiring (and firing) in my day. Perhaps not as much as an HR professional in a large corporation, but enough to know the hiring part is just as hard as the firing part, although... when you find the right person for the job, the result is immediate joy. Sometimes, I even treat myself to a Mocha as a reward.
Finding the exact right person for the "job" or the "career choice" isn't as easy as you'd think, however. In today's world of social media, where everyone knows everyone else, it's hard to get a good fix on a talented job-seeker's skills. Their Facebook page may or may not reflect who they really are, and if they blog, you could spend days slogging through content to try and figure out if they're a good fit. Even that face-to-face meeting, where you rely on your 'gut' to tell you if this person is a great candidate, can backfire.
That leaves one way to really discover the right person for your job opening - are they crazy enough to do a good job?
A wise man once told me that as an entrepreneur I needed to have a vision and I should hire other people with the same vision. He also told me to look for skill, "but don't overlook passion." Passion, he pressed his point, could take me and my company farther than skill, in the long run.
You can teach the skills you need an employee to have, you cannot teach them to be passionate. My take on that is - if they are as crazy as I am, they're likely to be a good fit.
I remember asking folks those silly, personality revealing questions, "If you were lost on a desert island, what books would you want to have with you?" And, I remember being asked those silly, of no use whatsoever, questions, "What is your biggest weakness?" Answer: not being able to hide my "did you really ask me that?" face.
Today, I ask the person I'm interviewing to tell me a story about how they came to be sitting in that chair opposite me. I ask open-ended questions and politely listen to the answers. For my pet community, I might ask someone, "What was the name of your first pet? Do you feel that your cat/dog/ferret (current pet) has replaced your first pet?"
The important part of those questions is how much of a story the person is going to tell me, how excited and enthusiastic she is about telling it, and how truthful. Yes, I can tell if she's being truthful. You can't fake the love you feel for your pets.
Her resume, and everyone has one, will tell me much of what I need to know about her skill level and her talent. It's her personality, the shine in her eyes, the smile she shares, the way she leans forward to relate a special point, that will sway me. Because, we have a culture of openness (you will not be chided for loving your pets as if they are people at BlogPaws); we have a culture of acceptance (you can dress your pet up or not, as long as its done lovingly, we will not judge); we have a culture of respect (each of us respects life, in all its forms, regardless of how many legs it moves around on).
It's the culture of our workplace that is of utmost importance to me, at BlogPaws. The training, the talent, the skill set needed to complete jobs here...can all be taught. Know that this does NOT mean I don't care about the experience and work history of my team. I do. But, since I can get that from references and resumes, I consider experience and work history a secondary issue to "will this person fit into our company culture?".
We hope this person stays with us for a long, long time and if she's passionate about pets, we know she'll hang around. "She is so crazy about pets," I can tell my current team, "she will fit right in."
Now, check out this fantastic infographic from my friends at Visa Business... I love the "Happy Employees Have" stats! Do share!