Finding Good People
Estimated Lesson Time: 5 minutes
If finding good people were as easy as choosing ones with the best resume, human resource managers would have the easiest job in the company. What is a resume? Basically, it is a written exaggeration of only the good things a person has done in the past, as well as a wish list of the qualities a person would like to have. There are those with very impressive resumes who may be “burned out” and just looking for an organization to take them. Then there are those with less-than-impressive resumes who have not yet had the opportunity to achieve what they are capable of achieving. To find good people you need to value people for what they can do, not for what they have done.
Since 1994, I have run some very successful companies. When it comes to the success of an organization, I believe that a key element is the organization’s people. With the right people in place, an organization can achieve great success. Since 1994, I have never once asked for a resume. I personally don’t put much emphasis on what someone has done or not done in the past; I want to know what they can do for me now and in the future. Since I cannot see the future, I must rely on my ability to value a person professionally based on five key factors (remember ABCDE).
- Ability. Does the applicant have the ability to do the job? If they are doing the job now on their own or for someone else, that is usually a good indication that they do possess the ability. Here is where we do need to look at history. Have they done the job in the past? Or have they just been trained to do this job?
- Belief. Does the applicant believe that they can do the job, and do the job well? What is the confidence level of the applicant? Do they say “I guess I can do it” or “Not only can I do the job, but I will be sure to do it better than anyone else!”
- Character. This is a big one. I do not care how qualified a person may be, or even if I do believe that a person can make the company a lot of money, if the person has a lousy attitude, is dishonest, or otherwise does not have good character (by my standards) I will not consider making the person part of the team. It is true that one bad apple can spoil the bunch.
- Desire. Is the person applying for the job simply because they need the money? If money were not an issue, would they do the job for free? The person who can find pleasure in their work, no matter what the work may be, is the kind of person I want working on my team.
- Enthusiasm. It is amazing the difference in performance between a team that watches the clock waiting for the end of the day, and a team that is enthusiastic about accomplishing an objective. People who are or who can become enthused are not only more productive, but a great influence on other members of the team.
Together, all of these factors help me to determine the applicant’s overall potential to do the job.
I understand that this hiring method will not work in all situations. I certainly would not want my local hospital to hire doctors without detailed background checks and assurance of their skills. But even in situations such as this, more weight can certainly be given to the above criteria, rather than the content of the resume and the applicant’s history itself.
Realize that you pay for a person’s history. A Harvard graduate will cost more than a community college graduate. Make sure that you are paying the higher price because of what the person can do for you, not what they have done for themselves. You might be able to minimize your risk by taking the person on as a contractor, rather than an employee. Or perhaps agreeing to hire the person on a trial basis.
Seeking good people with potential may be a better strategy than seeking people with good resumes; it certainly has worked for me and my businesses. This is because my businesses also have leaders who know how to help others reach their potential. Value people on a professional level based on their potential, not on their history and build an organization of achievers rather than a team of “has beens.”
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)