So, you can’t find good people. Something is very wrong in the business community. Far too often, I hear, “I can’t find the right people. There is nobody decent to hire these days. OMG, I can’t run my department, division, company because we can’t find good people anywhere”.
I fear the sheer pervasiveness of gnashing teeth, group pity parties and moan-athons has now reached the stage of the latest management/leadership complaint fad.
I don’t believe there is a shortage of the right people. Decent people are everywhere. The problem does not lie with the candidates. The problem lies with those who are doing the hiring.
No one can argue that things haven’t dramatically changed over the last year, the last ten years, even the last 30-40 years. Nor can one claim the pace of new activities, new tools, and new ideas hasn’t propelled most businesses forward over the decades. Consequently, we all suffer from a certain level of fatigue from the way the world has morphed. (This was very true Pre-COVID. COVID merely accelerated the already speedy pace).
This one thing has remained constant.
It starts with what we learn from our parents. Then what is taught in school. And finally how it is finessed in the workplace. For the vast majority of us, we are not taught how to hire, develop, lead, or even disassemble a team.
Have you ever taken any course in elementary, high school, college, university or even after, which focused only on developing YOUR leadership skills? I mean, one that solely concentrated on teaching you better ways to hire, develop, or even lead a team? Something called The Art of People? The short answer is NO.
Harvard University only recently added a leadership module into its MBA programme. And while I heartily applaud that, I don’t think the majority in the world has the means or the desire to get an MBA from Harvard.
For the rest of us, we might pick ‘the Art of People’ – ourselves. In dribs and drabs. Of course, the brutal truth is, most people are not interested. Pretty much all of us have learned and perfected how to be the best in terms of our chosen field. But master the Art of People? Not so much.
Where the problem lies
Two factors are driving the constant complaint of not being able to find good people. Those doing the looking were never taught. And they never expressed an interest in learning how.
Now, I am not blaming them and nor am I trying to call them out. But I do lay the cause for the lack of quality candidates at the hiring people’s feet. And I do this because once I too said there were not enough good people; that I couldn’t find the good ones. I also said I didn’t have time to do the actual interviewing. And that running the department, the function and the division was way more important.
I was wrong.
We need to realise that if we are in charge of any component called People in our day-to-day dealings, we are, in fact, in the people business. Not the technical business piece for which we studied and trained. The soft, mushy and uncomfortable part of which most of us have no ideas – the Art of People.
The first thing to realise is that the person on the other side of the table is exactly like us. A human being with a life, with loved ones and with hopes and dreams. Sure, they may not share our view of the world, our education, our lofty position or even our pay grade. That only makes them different from us. Neither better nor worse. Just different.
The fastest way to get inside a fellow human being’s head is to ask them what their hopes and dreams are. To what do they aspire? What do they want to get out of this arrangement? The fastest way to get inside a fellow human being’s heart is to make them feel heard and pledge to help them get at least partway to their hopes and dreams.
How does this relate to finding those diamonds amongst all the lazy, incompetent and ‘bad’ people?
It’s about your approach.
Try changing your interview process. Instead of starting at the years of education and experience level, consider looking at your company’s values, your personal values, and seeing if there is any similarity with those on the opposite side of the table. Instead of outlining all the job tasks and responsibilities and your high expectations, why not ask them what kind of secret sauce they bring to the table. You can take it as a given that pretty much everyone will walk in with some degree of the experience you are seeking. So change your interview tactics to focus on the person in front of you.
The good ones always have something extra. And it is your responsibility to unearth that. The fastest road to finding their hidden treasures is to ask them what they believe is their brilliant lane, what particular bit they can bring to the table, and how they see this playing out over the next few years. Have a conversation that is more free-flowing and less ticking of the boxes.
Having witnessed and been on the receiving end, here is what I know. The number one thing that drives every business forward and pumps massive amounts of profit to the bottom line is happy employees. (Irrespective of their full-time, part-time, contract status.) A happy employee is miles ahead of a contented employee.
When you want to find those good employees, you only need to match their traits and values with yours, align their goals with yours and demonstrate how you can help them further their dreams. To keep them happy, all you need to do is respect them for their differences, provide an environment that allows them to shine and stay out of their way.
Really believe you can’t find the good people? I’ve given you my best solution. And yes, it IS that simple.
It is not difficult. Just a bit uncomfortable in the beginning. Master it and be amazed at the vast number of good people who come your way.