On Hiring : Hire for Interesting, not ‘Normal’

When an organization is screening a potential candidate for a customer service manager role, what is the hiring team looking for ?

Interviewing is a hit and miss game and after 200 of them recently, I have sort of given up on them as a dependable tool in filtering people. Too many false positives. And the cues I took to fall into the false positive pond are treated as ‘reliable signaling markers’ by most hiring teams.

– prior experience in that role in another company in the same industry

– a graduate degree or mba ?

– basic ‘comm’ skills (whatever that means)

– ‘experience’ handling people

I think next time here are three qualifiers I am going to impose on the potential hire who is going to manage a group of CSRs ?

– have you travelled to more than 4 countries outside of India in the last decade ?

– have you read more than 3 books in the last 6 months ?

– have you eaten 6 dishes not native to this country in the last 2 years ?

Risk aversion in hiring is one of the most potent ‘vices’ a company unconsciously practices and something that never shows up on the ‘risks to business’ section of the K10. I can bet the majority of the Fortune 500 companies that were listed in 1962 in US and who no longer exist today REALLY went for the norm most of the time.

I think if we want creativity, fresh thinking and a non-standard out of the box approach that is going to define the next decade of customer service here, it will be wise to hire the smart and the interesting versus the ‘industry norm’.

The Norm has a very short lifespan and winner actively shun it or redefine it. Remember the Apple Motto ‘Think Different’. Applies here.

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