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The Great HR Mistake

Via LinkedIn : The primary, and I would argue most important, purpose of HR is to hire and retain the best and brightest talent available. Sure, we all know that HR does much more than hire. Functions such as talent development, compensation and benefits management, employee review, legal, business partnering, and employee support are all important aspects of an HR department. However, none matter more than finding the right people for the organization. After all, if HR facilitates the hiring of people who are the “right fit” for the organization the need to manage them through the rest of HR’s responsibility is greatly reduced.

The Great Mistake

There is no doubt that the typical HR department is overwhelmed and understaffed. When this is the case in any situation, not just HR, shortcuts are made. One of the greatest mistakes HR professionals make is shortcutting the hiring process. This is typically done because doing the hiring process right takes a lot of time and effort. Discussing AND understanding the position with the hiring manager; identifying key behaviors necessary for success; creating an accurate, descriptive, and results oriented job posting; posting the job; PROPERLY screening candidates; developing meaningful and insightful interview questions; developing a hiring team; coaching the hiring team; conducting interviews; developing an offer; and onboarding the new candidate is a labor intensive process.

With all of the other issues nagging at HR and the hiring manager they typically want to check the hire of a new employee off their list and move on to what appear to be bigger issues. However, I would argue that in many cases the “bigger” and more pressing issues they have to deal with are most likely connected back to a bad hire in some way or anther. If HR spends the time up front to do the hire right the time spent on the backend addressing issues with a wrong hire will be minimized. Long term, time saved on the backend is greater than the time spent on the front end.

The Search For Passion

People who are truly passionate for the company and/or the product or service provided are the people HR should be after. Passionate people will place the organization as a priority in their lives (personal and professional) and go out of their way to ensure that a great job is done. These are exactly the kind of people that every owner, CEO, hiring manager, and board of directors wants in their organization. However, HR typically does not do a great job of finding these people. Don’t believe me? Just look at the millions of job postings that list skills and experience as the primary hiring criteria. Just watch the process for hiring and listen to the questions. Just look at who HR has screening candidates (interns who have no idea what the job is or how to identify the right fit).

For many organizations the typical HR hiring process is about finding someone who has the background (usually in the same industry), but not typically the right behaviors. It is behavior that will make or break the hire. If someone is smart, teachable, possesses strong interpersonal skills, emotionally intelligent, and is passionate they can be taught just about anything that is skill oriented or specific to the industry. On the other hand, it is very hard to teach behaviors that are innate and it is difficult to make someone passionate about something they are not.

What They Bring To The Table

Beyond not needing to manage a hire that is the right fit as much as you would someone who is a poor fit, HUGE benefits to the organization are the energy a passionate employee brings, the productivity that is typically increased as a result and, probably most important, the positive impact they have on the overall morale and attitude within the organization. Having a passionate and organization first minded employee is invaluable when you have to assign overtime on the holidays or mandate a change that may not be popular. Organization first and passionate employees will work behind the scenes to help those on the floor and in the trenches accept the change and understand from management’s perspective why it may be necessary. They also bring to management ideas, perspectives, and insights that someone who is “just doing their job” wouldn’t care to do. This behavior could be invaluable, especially when it comes to process, product, culture and climate improvement. Not to mention the fact that they will hold their coworkers accountable for their performance, especially as a part of a team.

Take The Time

If HR and hiring managers are truly passionate about finding the best and brightest for their organizations then they need to seriously evaluate their process and ask themselves some tough questions about how they currently operate. Get outside the box and look at talent from other industries. Develop a process with questions that uncover high potential candidates who may not appear as such when compared to the traditional job description. Great people make great organizations and great people want to work for organizations that are as passionate as they are about what they do and who they work for. HR is the first impression that great people get about an organization that they have an interest in. If HR is not passionate about their work it becomes hard to convince a candidate that the other leaders within the organization are passionate and worth following.

The Investment

If HR wants a high potential to place his/her career and their livelihood in their hands they have to convince them that HR and the organization are worth such a huge and risky investment. How HR and hiring managers behave is the first indication of whether or not the investment is a wise one.

Randy Stepp is a Senior Human Resources Consultant for Zenith Leadership Group, LLC

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