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Sunday, 12 June 2011

Physics, Biology, Maths? No, It;s The Chemistry That Matters!

Some time ago, in the dim and distant past, when Vistage was known as TEC, we had a wonderful speaker from the USA called Ed Ryan.  Ed is an HR specialist particularly in the sphere of recruitment and I have mentioned his strictures many times before.

His particular point, as I recall it, was that the most important factor in ensuring successful recruitment, especially at senior level, was the need to ensure that the individual fitted into and subscribed to the company’s culture.
In other words, was the person likeable?   Ed suggested that the acronym of TEC should be reversed so that the most important factor was C for chemistry.   E for experience may or may not be relevant and T for technology (whatever function of the business that implied) should frankly be a given.  We wouldn’t, for example, recruit a sales person to be financial controller (or the other way round for that matter).
I recall a colleague of mine once recruiting a salesman and I asked him: “What sort of a person is he?”
“Oh” he said: “He’s horrible but he will do a great job for us”
The salesman lasted six weeks and caused chaos and consternation in the business.
It does seem very simplistic to say that we need to like a person before hiring them but beneath all the facade of leadership and management we are merely human beings and we do tend to work better with people with whom we get on.
How often have we heard that “we need to get the right people on the bus”?   Defining the “right people” needs to start with “Do they fit in to our ethos and culture, do they and will they get on with others and do they smile more than they frown?”
After that the experts can come in and decide on the best candidate but only after the list has been comprehensively filtered to eliminate the horribles.

For more information visit www.vistage.co.uk and www.maa-uk.co.uk
To contact us, email to ivan.goldberg@vistage.co.uk
Twitter: @ivanjgoldberg


David c Roberts said...

I like the comment of Ed's that goes 'We would not employ a salesperson to be a financial controller' and I asked the question to myself 'why is then that in our modern society that we employ the financial controller (or rather the narrow measurement of money) as the arbiter of success?

Maybe as a society we have become too reliant on data and information, and less reliant on the more illusive qualities wisdom.

Or has it always been this way?

Stephen Reuben said...

Great blog. We like to do business with people we like and fit into our business. Whether it is in recruiting or those already in our business, if they are fully aligned they will give a 120% and they will be liked. A ‘systems alignment model’ asks a few simple questions to test how aligned an employee is or will be (if recruiting) around identity, values, beliefs and of great importance ‘sense of purpose’.

blogmentor said...
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David Adams said...

Ed also said: "hire slow, fire fast" and "hire for attitude not just skills."