Yeah, great question. I’ve evolved in this space. As a leader, my favorite thing I’ve ever done in my career is really hiring talent, onboarding people and seeing people take it to the next level and progress in their careers. I get a lot of satisfaction out of that when I think of purpose in life as a leader. The greatest satisfaction comes when I’ve had somebody work for me and then they go on and do bigger and better things than I’ve done in my career. That gets me really excited to at least have even just a little bit of influence there.
What I’ve learned is that it starts with attitude. You’ve got to have the ability to really understand who someone truly is. When you get in a situational interview, sometimes people can get rehearsed. They can anticipate some of the questions, but the ability to really dig in and understand what someone’s values are, I think is incredibly important. Some of the biggest hiring mistakes I’ve made my career have been where I’ve hired someone that didn’t share the values of the company, or the team. And I would’ve gotten to it if I really had dug deep enough and maybe followed up with some of the references. I think it starts with really understanding what makes people tick and are they aligned with the values
and the culture of the company?
The other thing is just being approachable. Some of this I’ve learned the hard way, but you’ve got to have empathy in the interview process, whether somebody is entry-level or they’re going for the C-level job. The interviews can be tough. They can be grueling. And so being able to be approached and just kind of conversation like we’re having right now, where someone feels at ease and approachable tells you a lot about a person. And so, I’ve found as a leader, being able to be approachable and make it more of a conversation and not an interview. Not hitting them with a million questions, but having a conversation and getting to know the person, I think goes a long ways and tells a lot.
And then I think finally, most importantly, it’s getting other voices. We all have blind spots. Sometimes we don’t want to admit it, but we all do as humans. We all do. I found at times where I was tending to seek the same type of person over and over again, because maybe someone with certain traits had been really successful for me. And so, one of the things that I’ve tried to do to eliminate those blind spots is to have a well-represented interview panel, so a very diverse panel, and background, ethnicity, gender.
And I think you make a better hiring decision. And for me, it’s creating a culture now where when someone’s hired into the company, it’s really a team decision. And so, what I find is when the team really digs in and the team is held accountable for the hiring decision, not just the hiring manager, I find that you get better hires. As a team member, if you’re held accountable for the success of an individual and you feel responsible, you’re going to be more likely to really challenge and push. Whereas if you’re at a company where it’s just seeing the hiring manager makes the decisions, in many cases, it’s a check the block exercise. And a lot of times people have this kind of, even if it’s not spoken, I’m not going to challenge your hire as long as you don’t challenge mine. I think the only way to get away from that is having these hiring decisions that are owned by a collective team. People from different functions, backgrounds, and ways of thinking.
One of the coolest experiences I had early in my career was I had direct reports interviewing me. Which historically I’d only had my boss and maybe people that were senior, or in some cases, peers, but having direct reports also interview the perspective candidate. I think you can gain a lot of value out of that, because at the end of the day, there’s even a company that thinks more like a servant leadership. You want that leader to be able to connect with those frontline workers and people that are going to report into them. And so that’s something I’ve tried to do as well. Some people don’t like it. Some people come to an interview and feel like it seems odd or different, but I find there to be a lot of value in that you got to have a healthy culture that in my opinion, to be able to pull that off and make sure that it works well.