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Recruiting the Right People

We come across this very difficult topic frequently, scarily frequently in fact. So why is it so difficult to find the right people to work within our businesses? We are often told that “I just want someone like me”. I think this actually means they want someone with the same work ethic and will just say yes to whatever they ask. In reality what is needed is a balance of personalities and attitudes. Balance is the key here.

I read two articles this week that provides some insight into the difficulties of personality and attitude testing. One was on psychometric testing. Fascinating stuff on Myers-Briggs and analysis of various research. The link is here if you fancy a read. The other was from Seth’s blog on Talent v Attitude. Isn’t he so insightful? The quote that resonated the most was this one “we ought to be having a war for attitude. An organization filled with honest, motivated, connected, eager, learning, experimenting, ethical and driven people will always defeat the one that merely has talent. Every time.” How true is that?

However, the above is so much harder to deliver in practice. With regards to Psychometric testing we have become used to completing those in job interviews and I know of people who can quite happily manipulate them when it comes to these situations. I’m not one of them, just so you know in Myers-Briggs I’ve always been an ISTJ, very static and boring! I’m not against them but it is a risky strategy to use these exclusively for recruitment purposes. However, the more touchy feely, getting to really know how a person ticks, is far more difficult within the confines of an interview situation.

So I thought I would have a go at creating an exercise that would try and cover those important headings that Seth outlined above. These have been left deliberately very open questions as what I think we are looking for is someone who is very open, willing to share and enthusiastic. You need to have an idea of what answers you ideally want to see from the candidates, therefore it would be useful to put your own answers in first so you can see if they match your own principles and motivations. The bit that will be the most telling is the Why and the candidates need to be encouraged to write as much as they can on this.


1. It’s your first week in a new job and you have been given a new laptop. You inadvertently spill a drink on it and it now no longer switches on. What would you do and why?

2. What motivates you outside of work? Write this down and state why?

3. If you were given a project to do at work that requires some organisation how would you tackle this? Write down details of the project, methods you would use and why you would use them

4. You own your own company and have been contracted to do some speaking at a conference. The day before, the company running the conference emails you to say there is no funding therefore you will not be paid. There are 1000 people attending this conference so you know there will be opportunities but it means you will be £500 out of pocket. It also means three days away from home and you have two young children. What would you do and why?

5. Name two achievements 1 personal and 1 business that you are most proud of and why?

6. You are at traffic lights and they are on red. You see an ambulance coming behind you, red flashing lights, trying to get through and the only way would be for you to go through the red light. There are cameras and you already have 6 points on your license. What would you do and why?

There are no right or wrong answers here providing the “Why” is justifiable and shows they have some reasoning behind their answers. You will decide whether they are a right fit with your firm which you will be able to gauge from your completed exercise.

For the businesses who already have teams in place who are struggling in this regard it is about knowing who’s who and understanding the strengths and weaknesses within the team. If there are too many peacocks you’ve got a problem but you need to know how many you have and who they are first! There are some good team psychometrics out there that would provide you with this data and provide solutions on how to improve communication within the team. We would be happy to talk through these with you. I need to make the point very clearly this is not about weaknesses this is about adapting to each other’s core personalities so you can work together without rubbing each other up the wrong way. We’ve all been there haven’t we!

If you decide to use the above please let us know how you get on, we’d love to know.

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