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The 6 Huge Hiring Mistakes Everyone Makes

Posted on May 24 2012 | Author: Admin

You need a top-notch team to do your best work--but you need to hire them first. Here's half a dozen common ways managers shoot themselves in the human-resources foot.



If you can recruit people who are talented, brilliant, natural leaders, it can make all the difference to your organization’s success--and your sanity as a leader. There is nothing that improves your chance of success more than having a strong, trusted team.

But even with the best intentions, you can choose badly. Particularly if you get really excited about a candidate and hire for the wrong reasons.

Here are six mistakes--some of which I've also made myself--that executives make when their misplaced enthusiasm for a candidate causes a superficial, rushed, and ultimately bad hiring decision.

1. Admire a past accomplishment too much
Very often a candidate will have an accomplishment in their past that is truly extraordinary. It’s more impressive than anything you’ve ever done and vastly overshadows the accomplishments of the other candidates. Wow! You’re Hired!

Don’t: Hire the candidate based on this one grand accomplishment alone.
Don’t: Assume this breakthrough will be repeated for you!
Do: Make sure they are ahead of the pack on many of the other hiring needs too.
Do: Make sure to get them to talk about how they will think, learn about, and do the specific things you need now--don’t assume brilliant success on the prior thing will automatically translate to brilliant success on what you need done.

Make sure you will love them just as much for other reasons---for the mainstream work they will do and for their personal contribution to your team. Don’t just hope for a repeat home run.

2. Put too much stock in advanced degrees
I know plenty of people with advanced degrees who are highly effective business leaders, but I know as many who are not. Advanced degrees alone are not proof of future business success. They are only proof that the person is capable of getting advanced degrees.

Don’t: Say “Wow, look at all those masters and PhDs--you must (by definition) be better than all the other candidates that don’t have all those impressive degrees”.
Do: Get them to talk about examples of what and how they have done the kind of things you need done.
Do: Get them to give examples of how they personally conceived of and led business change, growth, or transformation.

3. Too much experience
One of my first hires was a telemarketing guy who had 22 years of experience being a telemarketing guy. I was so impressed! Oops.

Don’t: Hire someone only because they have a huge amount of experience in the thing you need done. Remember, they might have so much experience in that job because they were never talented enough to get promoted. If you are hiring a deep expert you may be okay, but if you are hiring a leader be suspicious. You are always better off judging and hiring for smarts and future capability than past experience--because the problems and opportunities are always changing.
Do: Look for advancement on a resume over experience. Judge the person’s ability to solve problems, learn, grow, and lead others, not just how much experience they have.

4. Fall in love with the person
Okay, when after the interview you want to go out for drinks with the person even more than you want to work with them, make sure you are not mistaking how much you like the person as a potential friend, with making the right hiring decision.

Don’t: Make this decision by yourself. You’re in love. You are not thinking clearly.
Do: Get others’ help validating the person’s capabilities and fit for the job.

5. A great talker
Particularly in the case of sales and marketing people, remember these people are experts in selling. So they are selling themselves in their interview.

Don’t: Get so mesmerized by a great pitch that you think the person is a star.
Do: Press extra hard on examples of their success. Look for proof points that were unambiguously accomplishments of theirs alone, and check their ability to explain them at a significant level of depth.
Do: Ask them to describe a mistake or a failure they have overcome. A truly great candidate will always be enthusiastic to share a big lesson. A big talker will always resist showing any chip in the armor--or will give you an overly polished answer.

6. Failure to check references
This seems so obvious, but for all the rose-colored reasons listed above, I have seen executives not bother, or get too busy, or need to move too fast to check references. Then they get surprised and burned. In all the cases above, add to the DO list: check references!

A reference check adds a reality check to balance the things you fell in love with during the interviewprocess.

Don’t: Ever not check references. If you skip this, don’t be surprised if you get surprised!
Do: Always also check back channel references, not just the ones they give you.

The tricky part is that when you get a star sitting across the table from you, you indeed get pretty excited. And you get the feeling that it is a competitive situation so you will need to move quickly. Just remember, there are people who are not true stars who can get you as excited as the ones who are. Move quickly, but always dig deeper, and always check references.

Source: Patty Azzarello via Fast Company: Expert Perspective

Image: Flickr user Jes

The Agri-Technology Commercialization Centre receives funding under the Growing Forward suite of programming, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. However, the comments or opinions expressed on this blog are solely those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Government of Canada or the Province of Ontario.

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Biomimicry, an interesting tool to add to the innovation tool kit!

Posted on May 09 2012 | Author: Tom Dowler

Given the dearth of bio-based companies we work with, and the goal of many to utilize more sustainable feedstocks, create more efficient methods for farming, processing, and manufacturing, and develop products often from organic sources, it brings up the question, what about biomimicry?

Biomimicry is defined as emulating nature to solve human problems sustainably.

After all, encountering 3.8 billion years of “product development” (life) and countless improvements to the compositions and processes within each “product”, Mother Nature may have figured out a few answers that even our best and brightest cannot efficiently determine without a guide.

How do we reduce our energy consumption? How do we reduce our material usage?...in short, can emulating nature help to reduce costs and make products and processes more efficient?

Some great examples of Biomimicry in use are:

  • Toronto-based WhalePower, who has developed their Tubercle Technology utilizing the fluid dynamic and biomechanic design of a humpback whales flipper to produce a quieter and more efficient wind turbine.
  • Columbia Forest Products, who has taken into account the natural adhesive abilities of the blue mussel to create a soy-based formaldehyde free technology used for construction of hardwood plywood products.

For more information on Biomimicry, there is a growing list of expertise in this area including:

Biomimicry, an interesting tool to add to the innovation tool kit!

Tom Dowler
Senior Business Analyst

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Posted on 2012.06.03 | Author: Jeni

It's good to get a fresh way of looking at it.




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