In the classic Broadway musical “Guys & Dolls” the two female leads share a wonderful duet called, “Marry the Man Today”. They commiserate over having fallen for two incorrigible gamblers and determine the solution is to marry the man today and, as they end the song, vow “to change his ways tomorrow!”
This, unfortunately, is an approach many recruiters use. They hire someone for his or her technical skills thinking that they can change the way the candidate achieves results to fit within the corporate culture of the organization.
Unfortunately the new hire is singing a song from an entirely different musical. The stirring anthem, “I Am What I Am”, from “La Cage Aux Folles”. “Don’t try to change me,” says the new hire. “This is how I worked before and have been successful and that’s why you hired me so leave me alone to do the job you hired me for.”
Hmm. And this is generally when HR gets involved. Trying desperately to get everyone singing from the same score. Cue “Putting it Together” from Stephen Sondheim’s “Sunday in the Park With George”. But how?
The key is to have HR involved much earlier in the process. Most managers are great at assessing if the candidate has the right technical skills. When it comes to assessing work styles and preferences, not so much. Partnering with HR early in the recruiting process, preferably before you’ve seen a single candidate, is the best way to avoid this disharmony. Clearly identify the skills candidates need as well as the behavioral competencies required to be successful in your environment. Just because the candidate filled this role in their last job with your competition doesn’t mean that the candidate will work as well in your workplace. Remember, it’s not just what they do, just as important is how they do it.
Putting on a musical takes tremendous collaboration. Assembling a productive staff that doesn’t fight for the limelight can be as daunting and as critical a task. Creating a team of the hiring manager and HR and then adding in the proper candidates ensures that by the final curtain we’ll all be singing that great number from “Dick Tracy,” “Back in Business!”