How to make smart personnel decisions
We have the wrong brain and the wrong education to get people decisions right, according to Claudio Fernández-Aráoz in his book It’s Not the How or the What but the Who: Succeed by Surrounding Yourself with the Best. We distrust people who are not similar to us, but to succeed in a globally minded environment we need to surround ourselves with people who have diverse backgrounds and complementary skills. And the vast majority of managers have not received proper training on assessing others and helping them reach their highest potential.
To complicate matters, we tend to assume that the difference in productivity between employees is normally distributed, so that the difference between an above-average performer and a below-average performer is not that much. However, in skilled occupations such as software development the productivity difference between a standout programmer and an average programmer can be as much as 1,200 percent. It really is important to try to recruit the star performers.
So, what are some of the key things you need to do when interviewing a job candidate?
- Carefully check for self-awareness and humility
- Reduce the social pressure for overly positive self-assessments
- Give the candidate a realistic idea of the required skills and behaviours and the expected challenges
- Tell the candidate to discuss the potential role and his or her readiness for it with close friends and colleagues
- Conduct smart reference checks
The book is filled with wisdom on topics associated with personnel recruitment including how many candidates you should interview, the benefits and pitfalls of using consultants, how to ensure that new hires fit into your organisation, how to support their integration, how to deal with compensation, and how to create teams that thrive.
This is an outstanding book, entertaining and informative in equal parts. I highly recommend it to anyone who is responsible for personnel decisions.