To make sure we never hired another employee (employees and resumes are both bad Industrial Age ideas), we created a hiring process that makes employees quit before you hire them.
About 18 months ago I wrote a blog on hiring our Chief Results Officer. She and I are now hiring a Chief Supporting Officer, so she can focus more on growing our national and international speaking opportunities.
The Industrial Age gave us employees. We think the Industrial Age should have kept them; we’re not interested. Why?
Employees are stupid, like an ox
The concept of an “employee” largely came from the work of Frederick Winslow Taylor in 1903. “Employee” and “manager” didn’t much exist before his work. Taylor started with an unbelievable assumption. He said an employee is “so stupid that he more nearly resembles the ox than any other type.” When you’re that stupid, the only hope is to create “managers” who are smart enough to control every movement of the employee. Welcome to modern management theory. Really quite amazing that we’ve created an entire business culture on this nonsense.
Employees vs. Adults
With that backdrop for the whole concept, it is no wonder that employees are essentially children who are to be managed and told exactly what to do, where to be, how to perform, how to think, etc. It’s degrading, but “employee” has become synonymous with “child”. The Industrial Age can keep her children – here’s our process for hiring adults. It makes Industrial Age children/employees quit before we ever hire them. We were able to filter dozens of people out before we even saw a resume and easily a hundred others quit the process right after reading our ad.
Never Get Recommendations
At least not directly. If your best clients/friends/employees/neighbors send you people directly, you end up doing a lot of “courtesy interviews” with people you know aren’t what you’re looking for. We sent an email to everyone we know asking them to refer people directly to our Craigslist ad. If they’re good, they’ll show up at the end of the process and you won’t waste time being political.
Never meet people until you’re down to just a few – meeting people personally up front will color your view of how they might fit. There’s a much better way.
The Five-Step Process
Step One – Culture – Never hire for skills. Skills can be taught, culture (beliefs, principles, view of the world) cannot. We did a five-page ad that focused mostly on who we are and our culture, described the work sufficiently, and asked them to answer seven culture/value based questions. Buried in the middle of the ad was “please do not send us your resume”. We were looking for someone highly detailed, so that was a great way to get started. We deleted dozens of emails with resumes in them without even looking.
Step Two – Talent – After finding a few dozen people we thought were great culture fits, we tested for talent. Like Culture, Talent is largely innate (skills can be taught). Hire for Culture first, then Talent. Talents required for our position are high attention to detail, a sense of urgency, and the ability to work under pressure, so we sent them three assignments to complete in a limited amount of time, including finding errors, solving problems, formatting docs, etc. This caused a few more “employees” to quit and not return the work – they were looking for a job and we had the audacity to see if they wanted to work, too.
Step Three – Skills & Experience (Resume) – Once we had it down to a little over a dozen, we asked them to send us their resumes, which we call obituaries – a highlight reel full of glowing history about the best things people did in the past. We quickly scanned their stated skills & experience for any big issues, then scheduled interviews. Don’t ever look at a resume any earlier than this – it will mess with your judgment.
Step Four – Intangibles (Interview) – Tomorrow we’ll give each of the eight a 15 minute interview and meet them for the first time. We had already formed strong opinions based on the things we’ll actually have them do, and their culture match with us. This first interview is to help us intuitively and quickly see which ones we can enjoy being around daily for years to come.
Step Five – Confirmation Interview(s) – we’ll cut it down to three and have them meet with various people in our business to reconfirm the culture match. It’s the most important thing.
Seven Great Adults for Hire
The eight people we’ve never met are all rock stars. They’ve already proven it. We can’t possibly miss. We’re looking forward to bringing on one for a wild ride and wish we could do it with all eight. If anyone needs seven great adults in their business, please contact us.