March 10, 2005

Excerpts: Naked Truth #50

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 2:14 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Naked Truth #50 Given one candidate with perfect qualifications and one for whom the position would be a stretch, if the latter seems more excited about the opportunity, choose him/her.
It amazes me how people who should know better, fail to consider the candidates motivations in wanting the job. The motivation of the candidate trumps her qualifications, at least for most jobs. This often means hiring someone who has never had that level of responsibility before, rather than the person whos got all the requisite experience and nothing left to prove.
Dianne Snedaker comments, You can learn a skill, but you need to start with enthusiasm, excitement, curiosity. Too much of work takes the attitude out of us. You have to start with a great attitude. One of the best receptionists I ever hired was at Mother Jones, and I found her through a state employment program for recovering addicts. Eleanor [not her real name] was from a well-to-do family, but her heroin habit had led to a resume that mainly featured exotic dancing. Okay, stripping. Eleanor explained that a structured job like we were offering would help her stay straight, and I decided that it didnt take much experience to be a good receptionist. The consequences for Eleanor if she failed in the job were surely greater than for most of the other applicants, so I decided to take the chance. She was grateful for the chance to prove herself and was a terrific receptionist and delightful presence in the office.
Despite that example, dont mistake a candidate who needs a job for one who wants it. Your responsibility is to employ the right person, not the neediest one.

About Dylan Schleicher

Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.