What is dating really other than the agreement of two people to begin the process of getting to know one another in an informal atmosphere to determine if interest enough exists to move forward in a relationship?
What is recruiting really other than the agreement between two or more people to begin the process of getting to know one another in a formal atmosphere to determine if enough interest exists to move forward in a relationship?
Sound pretty similar don’t they? With dating however you have two people putting on their best face and doing their best to attract the other. Perhaps the man opens the car door for the lady, pulls her chair out at dinner, and does his very best to be charming and funny. The woman on the other hand tries to look her very best and laugh at his jokes. Either way, each individual has a goal to present themselves in the best possible light whether they agree to move to the next stage or not.
In recruiting however, one individual, the candidate, does his best to impress the employer, while the employer, often taking for granted the candidate’s value, explains the candidate’s tasks necessary to complete to move forward in the relationship. This is much like your date telling you, “If you want a relationship with me your responsibilities will be as follows: you have to open the door for me at all times, buy me dinner, take me to the movies, buy me ice cream afterwards, pick up my brother from the local bar on the way home, and send me flowers the next day.” How enthusiastic would you be about a job like that? Yet that is what employers often do. Not realizing they are in competition for top talent with their competitors, they spew out with bullet points all the candidate’s responsibilities. But guess what, this candidate has value and they will take their talent elsewhere if you don’t try to court them in the same manner in which they court you. List the benefits of working for your company not just the duties. Yes, you might have to pick up my brother from the local bar but don’t worry, he can score you Knicks tickets!
To really attract top talent, companies need to realize they aren’t the only ones with something to offer. To keep good candidates from looking elsewhere they have to offer more than just a date, they need to offer a good time!
Job Fit: Who Wins?
Our company has a vision of getting everyone into a job in which they “fit”. By fit we mean that the employee’s skills, talents, likes, dislikes and personality will be positively received and utilized. That they will encounter opportunities to contribute and will receive positive reinforcement from the environment, the management and from the people with whom they work.
But is this vision meaningful? (Notice I didn’t say “achievable” because, after all, a vision should be the shining star towards which we extend our reach, even if we never grasp it.)
I personally think job fit becomes meaningful in the negative, when employees make decisions and act counter to their employer’s best interests because they feel like they don’t fit in. Conversely, employees will make better decisions if they feel a sense of fitting in to the organization, since they will be more likely to act in a positive as opposed to a negative way.
It’s a win-win situation, not a zero-sum game. Take the example of James Gosling, the man responsible for the Java programming language and platform. When his longtime employer, Sun Microsystems, was acquired by Oracle, Gosling was offered a position and decided to stay on. He stayed on even though his pay and grade took a hit. But it didn’t take long for him to discover that there just wasn’t a fit.
Oracle expected Gosling to become the public face of Java for the company. According to Gosling, “I’m from the wrong Myers-Briggs quadrant for that”. After less than a year, Gosling departed Oracle, and the public face he presented wasn’t exactly good for Oracle. It’s hard to argue this was a positive outcome, a “win”, for either Gosling or Oracle.
Which reminds me of a presentation I attended years ago given by the head of HR at Southwest Airlines. I remember to this day the main point of that speech, which was that job fit is everything and that you better discriminate amongst candidates based on how well they’re likely to fit into your organization’s culture. In fact, a company like Southwest doesn’t hire people who fit because they have a unique culture, but just the opposite. They have a unique culture because of who they hire. And isn’t that a win for everyone?
James Gosling? He joined Google just last month.
A new form of discrimination?
In the past, though it may be distasteful to consider, hiring managers discriminated against people on the basis of their age, ethnicity, gender and even if they had a disability. Fortunately many of those practices have lessened in recent years but a new form of discrimination could be rearing its unwanted head. This discrimination is not based on a person’s ability to do the job properly but how much money they could potentially cost the company in health benefits if they are employed. Do you smoke? Are you grossly overweight? Do you have diabetes? These and any other ailments could be a cause for a company to hire the guy/gal who runs marathons as their hobby rather than you who enjoys sitting on the couch and eating popcorn. Obviously whether you smoke and if you have diabetes are much more difficult to detect during an interview than if you are overweight, but your overall health is so important to a company’s bottom line these days that more and more companies are launching wellness initiatives to improve the health and decrease the stress of their employees.
Dealer.com, a Vermont marketing firm, has installed at their facility a basketball court, ping pong tables and a gym. “These days, Americans are getting sicker and missing more days of work; its up to businesses to change that and creating healthy employees is one way to do it,” says Heidi Brigham, Dealer.com’s Life Director.
Getting a job is no longer about having the necessary skills to get it done. Your overall health is now a factor and I’ll dare say that companies have a right to hire the individual they believe will take less time off of work due to health related issues. If that person has the same skills as you, can you really make a case they didn’t hire you for any reason other than they thought the other candidate was better suited for the job?
As a job candidate it is very important today to do everything possible to guard your health and give yourself every edge during the interview process. If you’re coughing because of the cigarette you smoked before you walked in or looking like a walking heart attack because you scarfed down too many White Castles, then you are doing yourself a disservice.
As a hiring manager, it is important to hire the person whose bad habits aren’t going to effect your bottom line and ability to do the job. Is this discrimination? Not if the person you hire is equally as skilled.