Hiring Someone Else’s Superstar Could Be an Astronomical Mistake- 3 ways to hire YOUR own Superstar!

shooting star

The big score- recruiting the superstar of a competitor! Feels like a big win, doesn’t it? Not only are you taking something from a rival but this individual is going to do great things for your company. Hmmmm….I am not so sure about that. Here is why:

Hiring for talent is easy. It is not challenging to find out if someone is good at what they do because usually there is something measurable or somewhat tangible that you can rely on to validate this. It could be past performance, test or assessment scores, education or other metric. So the big question is, why do so many hires turn out to be less successful than you hoped? Because hiring for skills is not enough, you also have to hire for attitude. This is why, although someone may be a great success at one company they can struggle with another company even if the job itself is identical.

Hiring the right fit, means hiring for the right attitude. Companies like Southwest Airlines, Google and Zappos.com (Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, won’t hire stellar candidates if they don’t fit the Zappos culture–and he fires those who don’t inspire it.) take hiring the right attitude very seriously and there is no reason why you shouldn’t either. So, where to start? Here are three steps to help:

  1. Define your culture. You can’t hire someone to fit what you have not identified. While this should be a given, I am always amazed that 5 people in the same company can have 5 different opinions of what the company’s culture actually is. Culture guides behavior and should not be left to chance. Define it, share it and live it!
  2. Determine the attitude that supports this culture and makes it great. Is it important to drive creativity (think zany and fun), to concentrate on facts and figures (try someone who is introverted and detail orientated) or to elevate customer service (think approachable and personable)? Decide who you are and you can then begin to look for the person that embodies that philosophy.
  3. Find people with those attitudes. Once you decide what the attitude of the next great employee should look like, your task is to develop a way to be able to identify it in your applicants (for a great story about Southwest Airline’s “brown shorts” test, grab a copy of Mike Murphy’s book, “Hiring for Attitude” http://www.amazon.com/Hiring-Attitude-Revolutionary-Recruiting-Tremendous/dp/007178585X).

Not only can hiring the right person with the right attitude (remember skills can be taught, attitude can’t) make a big difference in the success of the new employee, it can also help to make the rest of the team better. Putting a square peg into a round hole (poor cultural fit) just because that person was a superstar at your competition not only causes distress for that person but can easily negatively impact your whole team. So don’t look for someone else’s superstar- go out and find your own!!


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