Saturday, February 23, 2008


Finding the right people

I sent in a reply to a question posted on a business network site recently about looking for the best qualified staff to recruit. My point was that qualifications are only half the story, and that the best PhD or MBA or whatever is worthless if the person is going to alienate colleagues, represent the project badly, traduce common working values, in other words fail to fit in. It's possible to build technical skills, but all but impossible to ask someone to change their basic nature or personality. So, I said, I hire on character - assuming that there is a basic level of technical competence in all candidates. The benefits are in the far lower need for maintenance within the team, and a capacity to focus on the task, not on resolving personality clashes. And of course everyone brings a distinct team role as well; irrespective of qualifications I can't have a team full of Completer Finishers, but need a balance of capabilities to get the work done. Whenever I have broken this habit, I've regretted it.

So I was a bit taken aback to find the questioner climbing onto the moral high ground and taking to task those like me who said they ever hire anybody except the best qualified candidate. This to him was just subjective and unprofessional - and weak. I think he's wildly wrong.

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