Name your people adjectives

Most hiring is a total crapshoot. You can do better. You have to! You need something more reliable than trusting your gut at a lunch, or asking the same 5 questions that you’ve asked the last 5 candidates.

If you don’t know who you’re looking for, you’re not likely to find them.

As you’ve no doubt experienced, the best candidates aren’t always those with the most experience. The best candidates are often the best fit. They fit with who you are, where you’re going, and where you are today.

But fit is terribly difficult to define. Without a plan, we end up asking if we ‘liked’ them. Usually this means we think they are ‘like us’ or we would like to go to lunch with them.

You need to do better. You can.

Defining your next hire

A few years ago I started asking folks to name the adjectives they were looking for in a new teammate. We would assemble a list of 20-30 adjectives and then pick the half dozen most important.

Hiring a computer programmer who is a dreamer is different than one who is a doer. A teacher who galvanizes new ideas is different than one who finishes established ideas. Long-term implementation takes different energy and interest than short-term innovation.

Inevitably, you’ll have someone who is looking for a team member who is fun, while another is looking for someone who is responsible. Now is the time to talk about it. Try to avoid circling around adjectives like “integrity” that won’t do much in terms of selecting the best fit.

Name what you’re looking for. Talk about it. Your selection process will be easier because you’ll have a filter that works.

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