Does your organizational recruitment focus on the qualities that lead to high performing staff, such as motivation and how they work in a team environment?
I have recruited staff before that were great at interviewing and talking about their experience, but once hired demonstrate a poor attitude. One example is a Project Manager who was great at selling herself but then consistently talked down to the admin staff, treating them like her personal servants. This type of disrespect is exactly the opposite of the type of culture we work hard to maintain, and therefore counterproductive.
Mark Notaras and his wife Alva Lim have combined over fifteen years’ experience in aid work and understand the importance of recruiting the right people for an organization, as well as how damaging it can be to recruit the wrong ones. So when they started a social enterprise, Agora Food Studio, they put a lot of time and energy to recruiting the right team. Since then I have witnessed their staff firsthand and seen how motivated and engaged they are with the organization’s mission which directly relates to high performance.
The success in building such a high performing team is why I asked Mark for an interview to share some of the strategies they used in recruitment, and how they can be applied more broadly. I myself have already rethought several ideas around recruitment based on this interview, and I hope you will too. Also the article that Mark mentions can be verified here in Business Insider in terms of how interviews are not the best way to hire the right people.
Although you can learn a lot more detail about the interview process in the podcast, here is a summary of the top tips:
- CVs do not say much and many times are misleading
- Candidates that show up late are not to be hired (unless they call and inform of their tardiness beforehand), as this reflects lack of motivation and interest in position
- Traditional interviewing rewards people that are good actors and talkers, but may not be high performers
- Prior to recruitment have an internal agreement with the hiring team about the qualities of the ideal person you are looking for in terms of attitude and soft skills in addition to hard skills and what kind of person “fits” your team
- Be wary of those that focus on money – once you see it is not a motivating factor then you can be clear about potential and what it takes to advance
- Highly involve local staff in recruitment process and encourage them to find person that fits well with your team
- Once hired, determine commitment of new staff by having them do less glamorous tasks and observing attitude (during probation period)
- Design recruitment around a practical assessment which allows you to observe how candidates work as a team and attitude in terms of performance
- Look for people with energy and good hygiene
- Focus on what is within your control – you will not change organizational culture overnight!
- Reflect on successes and failures in recruitment process and keep learning from others (like those interviewed on Aid for Aid Workers!)