Academy speaker Simon Hartley discusses why top organisations focus on character, when recruiting talent into their businesses. He breaks down the steps the most successful companies go to ensure the candidates demonstrates these characteristics before hiring them. He was speaking on stage at our World Class Leadership summit in Islington.
Now I know lots of organisations who will say if I asked them, ‘Yeah, we want to hire on character we want to hire an attitude and train skills’ but they don’t quite know how to do it. Again, this is not something I deliberately set out to study in world class organisations but when I found world class organisations one of the things I noticed is they don’t recruit the same way as most people, as most other organisations, as most businesses do. They recruit very, very differently. They want to recruit on character, hire on character, and they found a way to do it. So how do they do it? What are they doing differently? Well, first of all, they don’t rely on these things. They don’t rely on CVs and interviews and psychometrics. Let’s take a think, just for a minute, let’s stop for a moment and think about it. What do we actually learn from a CV. Think about it. Work history? Probably yeah. Qualifications? Guess so, yeah. The stuff they want to tell us? Probably. What do we learn from an interview? Probably depends on the questions that we ask, to be honest. How much do we actually learn about somebody’s character through that process? What do we actually know about the person? Do we know any more about their honesty? Do we know about their courage? Do we know about their determination, discipline, resilience, do we know any of that stuff through that process? Now it’s not that world class organisations ignore those. What I am going to say is they don’t rely on those. They know that those things won’t give them the full picture, the full answer. Even psychometrics, you know, I’ve used loads of psychometrics in my time as a sport psyche, you’d expect I probably would. Most of them that I’ve ever come across, if not all, are self-report measures so there’s, you know, a bit of that that you need to take a pinch of salt with probably, even the very good ones tell you about the mental dimension but not necessarily the character. They can tell you personality to a certain extent but not the character. So, how do world organise world class organisations do it, what do they do differently? Here’s the bit that they add – they identify the characteristics they need. They’re really clear about the characteristics that they need in their people and they don’t describe a superhuman, they know the ones that are going to have a huge impact, the ones that are really important. So they identify them first and then they test for them. They make people demonstrate them. Don’t tell me that you’ve got courage, I need to see it. So they create situations, put people in situations where they’re going to have to demonstrate courage and then they know how much courage this person’s got and that’s the information that they’re going to use.