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Entrepreneurial Hiring

By Ron Price

A young entrepreneur was recently reviewing his own natural talent patterns as revealed in a comprehensive psychometric tool. He had exceptional behavioral and motivational energy as well as having one of the highest empathetic outlook scores ever seen (9.8 out of 10). What most people wouldn’t give for some of his energy!  However, as with many up and coming entrepreneurs, he was great at getting things started and extremely frustrated with trying to get things finished. The young entrepreneur realized that in order to fulfill his potential, he needed to build a much stronger support team to execute more effectively on his ideas.

This entrepreneur currently owns three different businesses and has enough ideas to start several more. What is important at this juncture is building a support team that is different from him—folks who don’t like to initiate new projects but who will enjoy implementing, nurturing, and optimizing the ideas that have grown into businesses already. The question he had (like so many others do) is: “But how do you do that?”  In what may seem too simple to be considered anything other than obvious, the response is: “Know the job, know the person, then manage for success.”

Know the job: What are the primary activities of this job? Interaction with lots of people? Versatility? Working in a competitive environment (whether competing against a goal or winning against competitors)? Frequent change? Maintaining an organized workplace? What are the activities that make up the majority of time spent in this job when it is done right?

What are the primary intrinsic rewards of this job? Of course, everyone wants a paycheck, but what else does this job reward? Helping other people? Learning new things? Creating and maintaining order? Or, is the greatest reward creating lots of money or some other measureable result? Every job rewards something, so what does this job reward most?

What common sense or good “business judgment” does this job enlist? Does it depend on someone who focuses on practical results, organizing things, seeing how things fit together or compare with each other? Is it asking for someone who thinks deeply and spends most of his or her time managing concepts, ideas, or strategies? Or, is this job asking for someone who is an exceptional judge of other people and who can influence, lead, understand, and develop others?

Know the person: Using the same road map for understanding the job, owners/managers should be able to develop a deeper and more beneficial understanding of the ideal person for the job. What activities does the ideal candidate enjoy most? Interaction with others or space and time to work with a singular focus? Completing routine tasks or lots of irons in the fire? Troubleshooting or predictable project management? Organizing files and systems or always moving forward in the midst of chaos? How does this relate to what the job is asking for?

What motivates the candidate? Creating wealth? Helping others? Learning new things? Working according to a set of principles? Being in charge and controlling the destiny of others?

What common sense, or business judgment, does this person bring to the job? Is he or she more effective as a thinker? Is he or she quick at comparing several practical alternatives, understanding how things work, and adjusting to create the desired results? Or, does the candidate most effectively understand the needs of others? How does this relate to what the job is asking for? Is someone being put in the position that is a natural fit, or are we asking him or her to come to work and check his natural talent and motivational inclinations at the door because that is what the job requires?

Manage for success: Once an owner/manager has a crystal clear picture of the activities, rewards, and evaluative judgment of the job and understands how the candidate fits or doesn’t fit with that picture, it is possible to develop a unique new approach to managing for success. By leveraging those parts of the job that will come naturally and learning how to navigate the rough spots that don’t line up, there is a better chance of supervising the work and the person for greater performance and fulfillment. Who wouldn’t want a relationship with an employee where all you have to say is, “go do your thing!” and high performance is the result?

In order to achieve optimal effectiveness in hiring and management, entrepreneurs have to accept that not all jobs or all people are the same. Jobs ask for specific activities, motivations, and judgment. And people bring unique behavioral preferences, motivational biases, and evaluative judgment patterns to their jobs. By having a clear picture of the job and what constitutes superior results, then having a clear picture of where a person fits with what the job is asking for, business leaders can begin to “manage to win” instead of doing what most supervisors end up doing with their employees, “managing not to lose”.

It is said that diagnosis is often, “90% of the cure.”  As the entrepreneur realized, he often made hiring decisions feeling like he was playing roulette. He put an ad in the paper, starting looking at resumes and hoped the resumes gave him some clue about whether a person was capable of doing what he wanted. Some companies will take the extra effort to call references, do some background checks, and all of this to set the stage for an interview where the research indicates most interviewers decide in the first 30 seconds whether or not they like the candidate. In better companies, hiring managers may do a reasonable job of vetting the resume and validating what the candidate can actually do. However, great hiring is about developing a deep understanding of what the candidate is most likely to succeed wildly in doing.

Most entrepreneurs view hiring, supervising and managing as something other than primary work—it is a means to an end, almost a necessary evil, rather than a critical part of fulfilling their entrepreneurial dreams. They rarely recognize that how they understand the job and the candidate may be one of the most important factors in their future success.

Read other articles and learn more about Ron Price.

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