When leaders of an organization, from a billion-dollar professional sports team to a small “Mom & Pop shop”, are looking to add talent to their team they’re going through a very similar thought process. They are evaluating their current needs, short and long-term goals, as well as the current culture of the organization. Once they’ve completed those evaluations, they will then prioritize the skills needed to be successful within the role they’re hiring for.
This situation goes sideways when too much emphasis is placed on a singular skill. This leads to organizations spending their time searching for the “perfect candidate” while missing out on the “right candidate.”
Based on the current needs of an organization, the right candidate could be much easier to find than you might think. If your favorite football team needs a punter, they are looking for a particular skill set and background. That could be comparable to a CFO looking for a staff accountant. You just need someone that has a specific skill set and background that is going to be heads down doing their job. However, the higher up in the organization a vacant job resides, the larger the gray area of what an organization needs.
For example, that same CFO now needs to bring in a controller, he/she is going to look for someone that possesses the knowledge to do every role within the finance department, but also someone that can manage people, process, and be a leader within the organization. To keep my football analogy going, that could be the equivalent to now looking for a middle linebacker. That role needs to be the captain of the defense, know and understand where everyone should be on every play, and before every snap, make sure that their team is in position to be successful. The required skills and experience for a middle linebacker is quite a bit more advanced than that of a punter.
As roles become more complex, organizations need to take into consideration more factors. This adds to the difficulty of them finding the right candidate for the position. However, some steps can be taken to help this process and make this task less daunting.
1. Prioritize Tangible Skills
Identify simple core skills needed to be successful. Things that are 100% necessary and make those the top priority for the role. This should be no more than four or five things. Examples would be a specific degree or industry background.
2. Prioritize Intangible Skills
These are things such as personality, motivation, ability to learn, etc. These intangible skills are what tends to create a good culture fit. They also lead to tenure and growth within any organization.
3. List of “Nice to Haves”
These are skills that are trainable yet could be time savers if the candidate already has them. This could be industry connections, management experience, etc.
If an organization follows these three easy steps, they will put themselves into a position to be able to hire the right candidate and not get caught up in searching for the “perfect” candidate. They will get the skillsets needed to be successful as well as the correct long-term fit to the organizational culture.
Too bad the Minnesota Vikings and the Cleveland Browns didn’t use these steps when evaluating field goal kickers…