In the past, our firm has taken on projects for multiple hires with health systems with which we’ve never worked (it’s always exciting when taking on new clients). One particular client, like many healthcare organizations across the country, continually embarks on very ambitious projects. This client has a track record of fantastic accomplishments.
Like most organizations, they had what they thought were pros and cons within their dynamic culture — of course, more pros than cons. As we were going over what the environment is like to work in — its culture — one of the leaders said to me, “How do you tell people this place can be like insanity?”
My response was, “You tell them this place can be like insanity!” The person laughed because we both knew he was looking for a more attractive way to express something that could be interpreted as a bad thing.
I asked him how his team felt about working there. He told me the average tenure was seven years, and he thought his people were happy and found it a great place to be a part of. I asked him if he thought his team would describe the organization the same way. He felt, for the most part, they would.
In my opinion, he should share his exact thoughts of the organization with the words that came straight from his gut. This position was going to report to him and the person he hires should know exactly how he would describe it.
A great hiring process is not only about finding and attracting the “right” people to your organization; it’s also about eliminating the “wrong” people from joining your organization.
With demand picking up for certain skills in the market, some organizations are so thrilled to find a person with the right skills and a good level of interest that they become a bit tentative about saying something — anything — that could diminish the interest of a viable top performer. The definition of a “successful” hire is not just getting someone to accept your offer; it’s keeping them as a valuable part of the team years down the road.
Saying things that will “scare” off the “wrong” person need to be integrated into different parts of your hiring process (so if that person didn’t hear it the first time he or she won’t miss it additional times). Most people understand this in theory, but they fail to execute.
Now, don’t get me wrong: You certainly have to discuss what’s great. The hiring manager and team members should share why they joined the organization and what keeps them there.
If a candidate asked this hiring manager, “What’s your company like to work for?” and the hiring manager responded with, “Well, let me tell you — at times it can be like downright insanity around here,” the right person may laugh and say something like, “Well, I sure am used to that!” and will ask follow-up questions, seeking additional information. The wrong person will either ask follow-up questions to rule the company out or won’t ask any follow-up questions at all.
What are your thoughts? Has anyone been hired at a company in which the true culture didn’t come across accurately during the interview process? What do you think could have been different?
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