Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The "Just Like Me" Trap

Filling vacancies is a daunting task.  Finding talent that fits both with your team and organizational culture, plus brings the skills, experience and credentials can feel like the old "needle in a haystack" exercise.  One of the issues I've had to avoid over the years is falling into the trap of hiring myself...sort of.

So what exactly is this trap?  Let me explain the pitfalls to help avoid making a major hiring mistake.  We've all been there, and those lessons are difficult at best.  If you build these questions (to yourself) into your hiring process, you will have a greater chance of avoiding the "Just Like Me' trap:

Does the candidate:
- look like me?
- sound like me?
- share my same interests?
- connect with me immediately?

Time out!  It's important to make sure we're not being won over on impressions and superficial issues before we dig deep into the candidate's history.  (Any shrewd candidate that interviews in my office should notice the hockey puck and start talking hockey.)

Interviews Should Be Difficult
In order to overcome these pitfalls, try these specific approaches to get a great interview result:
1.  Always use a consistent set of prepared questions for every candidate applying for the same position.
2.  Focus on their past behavior as that will predict their future decision-making, particularly when under pressure.
3. Do not accept anything but specific answers that detail the candidates issues, actions and results.
4.  Trust the data you collect, not the designer suit they're wearing.

How About You
Do you get caught in the "Just Like Me" trap?  It's easy to do.  I know, I've had to break free from it myself.  Whether it's new team members or new friends, collect good data as you get to know them before making any serious commitment.  You won't regret it.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pics courtesy of ucla and specific

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