The basics…Overnight success…

The basics…are important

In golf, we’re taught to position ourselves the right distance from the ball and to keep our heads down. In snow skiing, it’s keeping our weight forward and pointing our shoulders down the fall line. Even in a simple activity like painting a room we’re told to cut in the edges first.  Yep, in almost every undertaking imaginable, they’re processes required to do it well. And not surprisingly, in hiring there’s also a process.

The first one is that we must distinguish between those qualities that’re indicative of that candidate’s can-do abilities – the ones that indicate his ability to do the job from the will-do qualities – that foretell his or her likelihood of actually doing it!

Distinguishing between them is really pretty simple. Can-do’s exist in the present – right there in front of you. Those are qualities like good communication skills, physical vigor, intelligence, even mechanical aptitude.  But those more elusive will-do’s are only available by investigating a persons’ past.

That’s because they’re behavioral issues more than skills. Take stability for one example. If the candidate has been married, or changed college majors multiple times, those may say something about his stability. If he badmouths his past employers, think about loyalty. If he describes the perfect vacation as lounging on a beach, he has no hobbies and likes to sleep till noon on his day off, you might question his energy level.

The point – or more correctly the principle here is that we have to separate the evaluation of these two sets of criteria in the interviewing process. If we focus only on the can-do’s, we’ll likely hire a totally capable person who might fail to actually apply those abilities. If we look only at the will-do’s we risk hiring a person ill-equipped to do the job. It takes both to succeed.

Next up: References: The biggest hiring mistake.

Overnight success…Just isn’t overnight

There’s a trap in all those ideas that promise success shortcuts: They cause some folks to actually believe there’s a way – other that hard work and consistent effort to achieve it. It’s like those TV advertisement for weight loss. You know, the ones that promise there won’t be any of that “complicated dieting, boring exercise or uncomfortable hunger pangs”.

Well, if any of that were actually true, we’d probably all have the svelte waistlines of our high school years! But there’s a reason many of us don’t and it’s because achieving that old waistline requires a bit of all three of those supposedly non-existent matters.

In the case of succeeding professionally, we have to face the fact that there’s more than a bit of truth in the old anagram “TANSTAAFL” (there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch). Truth is it’ll take hard work and more than a little sweat and strain to achieve it. And like another old one, “YCGRSOYA” (You can’t get rich sitting on your azz), success is the result of consistent and persistent effort.

Whether it’s closing that big account, deepening the penetration of our existing customers, consistently growing the business, or developing our managerial abilities, none of that will happen overnight. The good news is that it doesn’t have to.