Safe Often Leads to Sorry on Hiring Front
It’s been said, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.” But for many companies hiring new employees, safe often leads to sorry consequences, say experts.
“I’ve seen it time and time again,” David Sanford, executive vice president at the recruiting and staffing firm of Winter, Wyman & Co. told Fortune. “Hiring managers
will opt for the ‘safe’ candidate rather than a more provocative one – and then they’re disappointed a year later when the person hasn’t stepped up and produced fantastic results.”
The difference between excellence and mediocrity can often be tied to a person’s passion for their job. Those that have it, excel; and those that do not often fail to perform
up to expectations.
The key is to hire correctly, say experts, because passion can’t be taught.
Lou Adler, CEO of the Adler Group and author of the bestseller Hire with Your Head, said, “Enthusiasm can be a false signal, and interviewers are often misled by it. You
need to take the time to do a detailed, job-by-job review. Where did this person excel in the past? What specific achievements got recognized and rewarded? Why did she get promoted?
Which job or jobs really gave him a chance to shine? This will show you pretty clearly what the candidate is passionate about. Then you can assess whether her passions match the
job you’re trying to fill.”
Mr. Sanford said asking the right questions is imperative for employers looking for people with passion.
“I always think that when companies talk about passion, one thing they mean is, a willingness to take risks,” he said. “So one question I ask candidates is, ‘Tell me about some
of the risks you’ve taken and how they turned out.’ A person who has never taken a risk is probably not who you’re looking for.”
Determining the level of passion an individual has for their work can often be better assessed by the questions they ask rather than the answers they give in interviews, according
to Mr. Sanford.
“Passionate people will ask you a question and then, based on your answer to that one, ask you another one,” he said. “They’re not sticking to a script they prepared beforehand,
they’re following one idea to another idea to another idea with genuine spontaneous curiosity.”
A lack of passion in the workplace, said Mr. Sanford, is often the case of employers getting the people and results they deserve.
“Too many employers pay lip service to the idea of passion but in fact they want cookie-cutter thinking, which is why they end up with cookie-cutter hires. They want everyone
to stay in his or her neat little box,” he said.
Discussion Questions: How closely tied is passion to superior job performance? How can retailers build a more passionate workforce?