Hiring Managers

Three Hiring Tips Your Company Can Learn from the Olympics


First and foremost, do what it takes to hire the best. Olympic results start with having the best athletes at what they do. There are 92 nations competing in 2018, and every one of them did everything they could to identify who were the best skiers, ice skaters, or curlers to get on their team. Yet in the corporate world, we are often content with making a list of Qualifications, then finding someone who matches most of that list. It’s even more important in business than the Olympics, because in business the top performers have many options, not just one national team. The most expensive mistake you can make as a business leader is to miss out on a rock star because they need 10-15% more in pay than what someone has arbitrarily decided.

Second, emphasize performance over credentials. If you were coaching the US ski jumping team, would you rather have someone who went to the best school for ski jumping, or the person who had jumped the farthest? Pretty easy answer, right; then why do we not insist on drilling down on accomplishments, both with prospective candidates and current employees? Consider having a part of the interview process mimic what the job will entail. That will tell you more than a resume with perfect grammar and spacing. Average performers will have an array of excuses why that doesn’t make sense, but the top performers will relish the opportunity to ‘show off’ a little, and will appreciate that your company does that, because it means you hire the best. Top performers want to work with other top performers.

Third, consider what the true metrics are for success in any position. Often job descriptions haven’t changed since before the internet existed. Having excellent communication skills, working both independently and as part of a team, and being able to lift 25 pounds might need to be on the description, but they do not address the keys to be successful in that role. I can sit or stand for long periods of time but would not be a very good bobsledder. Read your job descriptions and ask the question – could someone meet everything on here, and still not be a top performer? I have seen Sales Manager job descriptions that fail to mention that it is a requirement of the job to sell something.

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