A CEO I knew, who was a Chief Operating Officer of a small academic medical center, once bragged that he interviewed every new hire for his organization.  He called this his Southwest (Airlines) approach, to ensure that everyone who came to work for the hospital, from nurses to housekeepers, “got it.”  Of course he was talking about the medical center’s cultural values.job interview

Interesting idea, but I think that is probably more about ego and control than inspirational leadership.  It really didn’t improve the turnover or performance.  The place was a train wreck waiting to happen.

I think that one reason management turnover ranges between 40 and 50 percent within two years—a national average, according to several employment firms—is that we are not hiring the right people.  We are too busy telling candidates what we want them to do, what they must do to survive, that we rarely drill down to find out what they are actually capable of delivering. 

One design firm gives promising applicants for critical positions an assignment, and then has them come back to present to a larger group.  The firm, Wolff Olins, an international brand consultancy, added this feature to the hiring process “to find out how candidates really think, not how well they interview,” said Ken Heiselman.  “And they don’t have to have the right answer for the assignment, its about how they approach the assignment.

“Somebody can be smart enough to have the job, with the right skills,” Heilselman said in Sunday’s New York Times “Corner Office” Q&A , “But they might not be charismatic enough, meaning teams and clients won’t follow this person.”

In employment, many organizations that struggle to find the right managers and executives keep doing the same thing over and over, hoping for a different outcome. 

How is your employment process better?  What are the results?

© 2012 John Gregory Self