Manager Straight Talk: Seek the Worthy, Hire the Skilled

This is one of my rules when hiring… Though your boss may not agree.

I attribute the ancient Chinese saying to Zhuge Liang, the legendary chief counselor during the Three Kingdom’s period – around 200 A.D.


Photo: Challen Yee

Photo: Challen Yee

If a person’s character doesn’t stack up in an interview, I won’t consider hiring them. It doesn’t matter what their skill level is, or what their resume says.

Assuming you have adequate life or job experience you need to listen to your instincts when you are interviewing someone for the first time. And don’t let your guard down if you are pressured by your bosses to hire someone who you think will be detrimental to your group’s work environment.

Remember, it not just you who has to suffer. Everyone will suffer. If everyone suffers, the company will suffer.

It irks me when a person is willing to come into a company with the skids greased for their arrival, knowing that preferential treatment was given to them (and their skills are deficient).

I can’t remember what movie it was, but the good guy didn’t want preferential treatment during the interview process. He went out of his way to come in a regular candidate, precisely to eliminate the bad vibes that would occur had he not.

I know it can be hard when you need to stand up to your boss, but in my experience, hiring a skid-rider never worked out for the better. I usually ended up with a problem worker, sometimes a long term one, sometimes a belligerent one.

Well… it does makes for a colorful management experience. Maybe you could use some extra drama in your office and lose a little more sleep.

It helps to go through the full standard interview with even a problem candidate, because you need as much data as possible to justify not hiring them on a technical grounds if you do not choose to cite a character weakness.

Never assume what is on a resume is factual or assumed to be at the level of your expectations. Ask enough questions to satisfy a reasonable level of knowledge. For example, if they state they have experience with a particular tool, get them to talk about it in a way that proves familiarity. Cover yourself and do not assume.

I asked how a candidate defines success, long before I knew personal development was a study. It doesn’t mean they are a bad person or a non-productive worker if they don’t have an awesome answer, but it just gives you some extra idea who you are dealing with. Sometimes you’ll hear an answer that contain the right words but doesn’t strike you as genuine.

Good luck.

If you’ve seen any value to this, please like, share and comment.

I’ll see you… on the next page.

Challen Yee


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