If your knowledge of horse racing doesn’t go past the “Birdcage” on Melbourne Cup Day, it can be difficult to distinguish a good horse from a bad one and back a winner. It can be easy to miss that long-shot that will give you the best return! You may be lucky enough to know someone in the know or give you the ‘inside tip’, but for most of us its just plain pot luck or the name of the horse that we like most.
Similarly in Recruitment if your knowledge of the recruitment process does not extend beyond the metaphorical “Birdcage” and you don’t know anyone to give you inside advice, it can be difficult to choose the right candidate. The repercussions will be far more serious than blowing some loose change on a slow horse!
Gut Instinct can play a role in a hiring decision and long-shots can get up and in hindsight prove to be an inspired decision. Of course modern hiring practice requires compliance with restrictions of equal opportunity – meaning that you have to show a line of reasoning about why you made the choice. ‘Gut Instinct’ doesn’t qualify as a line of reason in this instance, but by showing what prompted the balance to sway to that individual, you would be in compliance. For example: It could be passion, a particular approach to problem solving, a way of getting people to work together – or some other demonstrated level of creativity that makes that applicant the winner – against all odds.
How do you tell one thoroughbred from another? At some point you trust your own judgement, but unless you give them each a try out, you can’t allow them to reveal their drive and passion, or understand what drives them and what unnerves them. This is all needed so that you can make a valid judgement on their fit for your team or organisation.
This judgement can come from experience of being so immersed in your own area of knowledge that you can accurately analyse the situation that is in front of you. You may be lucky enough to have that skill, or know someone internally that has, or partner with an external recruiter (that person in the know) who can steer you either towards the favourite or the long-shot!
Who we hire reflects greatly on our judgement and can impact the teams we have already built.
If we do this well, then we can echo the words of Franklin D Roosevelt:
“I’m not the smartest fellow in the world,
But I can sure pick smart colleagues.”
Good Luck Cup Day, we hope you back a winner and a long shot at that!
The HORNER team