Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

You're Hired!

Kathy Sierra is on a tear with her last few posts. I was particularly taken by her thoughts on the implicit lip-service given to the great god human capital, because from my perspective, what ever role you're trying to fill, you're hiring a marketer for your company.

This was especially apposite as I had, by chance, just seen the penultimate episode of The Apprentice in which the final four were whittled down to two by means of reports from three recruiting “experts” who "interviewed” each contestant for about fifteen minutes. The contrast between some of their comments and those of people who had watched the contestants work (if telegenic tasks can be ascribed that significance) for the past ten weeks was particularly resonant.

Perhaps, it was merely a case of opening up old wounds; reminding me of my distaste for the whole hiring process and inane gambits like “walk me through your resume” that are destined surely to hire people who are good at self-promotion and nothing else. But I remain convinced that hiring should never be outsourced because outsiders cannot know your business – they can merely apply generalised benchmarks to the candidates and ultimately that will just lead to a cloned workforce.

The best view you'll get of someone’s fit with you and potential to move your business forward is not to chat about their past and what they like, but to discuss your industry and its future with them. And, as Kathy reminds us, do so in the hope of having your worldview challenged and your passion reinvigorated.

Rather than go over their resume, a document that served to get them through the door and with which you should already be fully familiar, look to the future and how they’ll fill the as yet unwritten pages of that document.


Blogger ann michael said...

Couldn't agree more. Two comments: 1) often even internal HR is just as unfamiliar with your business (sad but true). At least one person close to the job (not just the "supervisor") like a peer or potential subordinate should be talking with this candidate as well. 2) Interviewing should be a great way to find out what's going on in other companies, other industries, and in the minds of your candidate. The interviewer should get value out of every interview other than just a feel for whether or not the candidate is a good fit for the job or the company.

4:07 AM, May 10, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you think about Ricardo Semler's
way, when hiring is, in fact, done by people who will work with a person being hired?

5:59 AM, May 10, 2006  
Blogger john dodds said...

I didn't want to slam HR departments too much Ann but I agree with you. As for getting industrial knowledge, that's all well and good but it musn't outweight the primary goal - and, anyway, how do you know that what they say is accurate and how do you ensure that information is properly disseminated.

Yes, Rimantas - that should be a no-brainer but it still requires that they go about the process in the right way. I have had line managers give me inane questions in the past and it's no surprise to me that conversations with CEOs tend to be more along the lines of what I outlined as preferable.

11:14 AM, May 10, 2006  
Blogger ann michael said...

Hey John! Just to clarify, I wasn't advocating industrial espionage. I just mean that the more opinions and viewpoints that you get the better. The interview process is your chance to get access to another brain! One that isn't indoctrinated to your company. Their perspective on your company, products, and your industry might just cause you to look at things a little differently!

6:37 PM, May 10, 2006  

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