Business 24 September 2019
The hiring process is so stale that you really do not need to get that creative to be unusual. I find it fascinating how our society has yet to figure out how to engage in relational dynamics that are actually focused on joint problem solving as opposed to an evaluator/evaluatee framework.
When I used to think about hiring outside the box or approaching hiring creatively, I thought I needed big magnanimous stunts and gestures to pull it off. I would go into interviews disguised as a janitor, I would have candidates work on building legos together, drawing, painting, problem-solving, case building, etc. I would try all the alternatives I could find to maximize my findings during the interview process. But as I found out over the years, I did not have to go that far at all in order to hire unusually.
I found out something really obvious over the years: interviews are terrible vessels for people to get to know each other truthfully. Everyone is putting on a show. To make a terrible analogy, consider dating. People are at their best, hiding their flaws and playing up their strengths, flirting by lying and omission in order to control the perception of the other. Interviews share a lot of these traits.
The opposition between the interviewer and interviewee makes it so that both parties are trying to sell to each other. The interviewer sells the idea that working in that organization is a dream while the interviewee sells the idea that they are the perfect match for that position. It is pretty ludicrous when you think about it. Rather than have an open and honest dialogue about the organization, the candidate and the fit or unfit, interviewers flaunt how "great" the organization is, rejoicing in schadenfreude from the candidates who so desperately want to make it through and be accepted by the all-powerful interviewer. It boils down to power-tripping that adds very little value to a meticulous selection process.
That is why I try to deconstruct this framework. Hiring is not about us evaluating candidates. It's about trying to establish whether or not fundamentally there is a cultural and behavioral fit. We will also consider past experience and skills, but these are secondary to the decision making process. The primary driver is the fit; both the candidate and the interviewer are discovering for themselves whether the fit is there or not.
Even though it's straight-forward, deconstructing the current paradigm is not easy given how ingrained it is in our thought-process. Deconstruction is a multi-pronged process and it involves the following elements:
Get out of the evaluator chair. You are no different, no better than the person you are interviewing. Be normal, be human and make others feel comfortable. This gives people the chance to disarm and forget about having to prove themselves. Having the chance to see people in their natural state is the greatest revelation you can attain from an interview. No one I know can work in interview mode all the time. It's not sustainable. Work is stressful and the hours are long. That's why we want an interview process that leads us to find people who feel naturally comfortable in our culture.
Focus on the behavioral aspects. We tend to be very impressed with big names and big titles on people's resumes. But we are not hiring their education nor their work experience. We are hiring a person. And that's what we want to get to know. How do they react when feeling examined? How do they feel when we are smiling? How do they feel about being confronted? How do they deal with pressure? And you don't find out these behavioral trends from asking about them. You find out about these things by getting to know a candidate. Go beyond your own biases and use your senses.
I strongly advise candidates not to work with us. Why should we try to pretend that it's great working here? It's not. It's work. Most people would not choose to work here if they had 50 billion dollars in the bank. That's just a fact of life. We don't want people choosing us for the wrong reasons. Paying bills, needing a job, wanting to advance a career. Those are all legitimate pursuits that most of us share. But we want to hire people based on the deeper motivational drivers. We want to find people who want to be a part of something bigger than their own selves, who do not mind getting into constructive conflicts and will stand by their opinion. We understand that people that we bring into the company are the very fabric of the company's soul, which most of us refer to as culture.
So we deconstruct the traditional hiring paradigm by forgetting about skills and focusing on the person. We deconstruct the interview paradigm by not positioning ourselves as interviewers but as partners who are working together to find out whether or not this is indeed a good fit for all of us. We find out more about people when they get a chance to speak more honestly and when we truly hear what is being said. We forget about the labels and the brands that are pegged to resumes and we look at the intersection of values and goals. Those are the pillars for a solid and prosperous relationship. And that's what hiring is in the end: the beginning of a new relationship.
It is one thing to read and another thing to understand what you are reading. Not only do you want to understand, but also remember what you've read. Otherwise, we can safely say that if we're not gaining anything from what we read, then it's a big waste of time.
Whatever you read, there are ways to do so in a more effective manner to help you understand better. Whether you are reading by choice, for an upcoming test, or work-related material, here are a few ways to help you improve your reading skills and retain that information.
Read with a Purpose
Never has there been a shortage of great books. So, someone recommended a great cookbook for you. You start going through it, but your mind is wandering. This doesn't mean the cookbook was an awful recommendation, but it does mean it doesn't suit nor fulfill your current needs or curiosity.
Maybe your purpose is more about launching a business. Maybe you're a busy mom and can't keep office hours, but there's something you can do from home to help bring in more money, so you want information about that. At that point, you won't benefit from a cookbook, but you could gain a lot of insight and find details here on how-to books about working from home. During this unprecedented year, millions have had to make the transition to work from home, and millions more are deciding to do that. Either way, it's not a transition that comes automatically or easily, but reading about it will inform you about what working from home entails.
When you pre-read it primes your brain when it's time to go over the full text. We pre-read by going over the subheadings, for instance, the table of contents, and skimming through some pages. This is especially useful when you have formal types of academic books. Pre-reading is a sort of warm-up exercise for your brain. It prepares your brain for the rest of the information that will come about and allows your brain to be better able to pick the most essential pieces of information you need from your chosen text.
Highlighting essential sentences or paragraphs is extremely helpful for retaining information. The problem, however, with highlighting is that we wind up highlighting way too much. This happens because we tend to highlight before we begin to understand. Before your pages become a neon of colored highlights, make sure that you only highlight what is essential to improve your understanding and not highlight the whole page.
You might think there have been no new ways to read, but even the ancient skill of reading comes up with innovative ways; enter speed reading. The standard slow process shouldn't affect your understanding, but it does kill your enthusiasm. The average adult goes through around 200 to 250 words per minute. A college student can read around 450 words, while a professor averages about 650 words per minute, to mention a few examples. The average speed reader can manage 1,500 words; quite a difference! Of course, the argument arises between quality and quantity. For avid readers, they want both quantity and quality, which leads us to the next point.
Life is too short to expect to gain knowledge from just one type of genre. Some basic outcomes of reading are to expand your mind, perceive situations and events differently, expose yourself to other viewpoints, and more. If you only stick to one author and one type of material, you are missing out on a great opportunity to learn new things.
Having said that, if there's a book you are simply not enjoying, remember that life is also too short to continue reading it. Simply, close it, put it away and maybe give it another go later on, or give it away. There is no shame or guilt in not liking a book; even if it's from a favorite author. It's pretty much clear that you won't gain anything from a book that you don't even enjoy, let alone expect to learn something from it.
If you're able to summarize what you have read, then you have understood. When you summarize, you are bringing up all the major points that enhance your understanding. You can easily do so chapter by chapter.
Take a good look at your life and what's going on in it. Accordingly, you'll choose the material that is much more suitable for your situation and circumstances. When you read a piece of information that you find beneficial, look for a way to apply it to your life. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge isn't all that beneficial. But the application of knowledge from a helpful book is what will help you and make your life more interesting and more meaningful.