How “Standard” Are Your Hiring Standards?

What are your hiring standards? With all of the talk about the talent wars and human capital as intellectual property you would think that hiring standards are critically important to your organization.

You would think. Unfortunately, all too often we find that organizations rush to fill open head count, fearful that if it’s not filled quickly enough, the position loses value and eventually is taken back as part of the never needing effort to go lean.

When organizations rush into hiring things will eventually turn for the worse. The level of talent brought into the organization starts to become below standard. Sure, there will be exceptions to this, you’ll catch a few superstars in the mix. But the question becomes are they superstars against the new standard? Would they stand out elsewhere?

I’m not advocating that you take forever to fill your roles, I understand that time to fill is costly and creates a drain on productivity. That being said, there are ways around this conundrum. For instance, your pipeline should always be at the ready, stocked with both internal talent and with a keen eye toward external talent that you can bring into the mix.

This is the ideal, but the ideal isn’t always up to speed with the reality. If you’re pipeline isn’t what it needs to be, don’t lower your standards and rush to hire someone, just to fill the role. It will only hurt you in the long run.

Look at what Tim Cook did when he hired Angela Ahrendts from Burberry. He waited 12 months to fill that role, he went outside of the ‘norm’ and he pulled in an exceptional talent. Time will tell how Ms. Ahrendts does in the job, but it’s a testament to having a standard in place.

Could he have taken less time to fill by having the right pipeline in place? Certainly but, the succession planning internally was strong enough to hold the spot down while the search moved forward. If you listen to what Mr. Cook says about the hire, you can tell he was waiting for the right person, someone who could manage both sides of the retail business, someone whom shared the core values of a Apple and someone with the experience to grow them internationally.

It was a high bar, but he eventually found who he thinks is the right person. Again, time will tell. As you think about your hiring needs, consider the standards that you hold dear. There are certain requirements that must be met.

If you want top talent, don’t sacrifice.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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