In the past, it seemed as though companies prided themselves on finding the most experienced candidates to fill open positions with the viewpoint that experience automatically must have meant quality. However, it seems that more and more, employers are finding out that this line of thinking is outdated, and often times, misguided.
Jeff Fluhr, CEO of Spreecast, recently discussed the notion of personal and cultural fit over experience with the New York Times. Fluhr, who previously ran StubHub for seven years before selling it to eBay, has developed his own hiring system over the years, which includes looking beyond the traditional resume and focusing more on how the potential hire could succeed as a part of the team. “I’ve found that the softer characteristics of a person — the cultural fit, the chemistry fit, their personality traits, their level of optimism — are far more important than somebody’s experience. What I was often doing at StubHub as the company grew was to say, ‘O.K., we need a V.P. of marketing and we want somebody who’s been a V.P. marketing at another consumer Internet company, and hopefully, they’ve done these certain things because that’s what we need.’ But the reality is that if you get somebody who’s smart, hungry and has a can-do attitude, they can figure out how to do A, B and C, because there’s really no trick to most of these things.”
Identifying candidates with the right attitude and willingness to learn quickly, as Fluhr pointed out, can be indicators of true quality. When employers begin to take personality and fit into consideration in conjunction with or even over the traditional screening practices, they may very well open themselves up to an entirely new market of talent. Furthermore, Fluhr believes that the questions hiring managers are used to asking have also dramatically shifted. He said, “I still sometimes find myself falling into the trap of thinking, when I’m trying to fill a role, ‘Has the person done the work that the role requires?’ That’s the wrong question. It should be, ‘Let’s find a person who has the right chemistry, the right intellect, the right curiosity, the right creativity.’ If we plug that person into any role, they’re going to be successful.”
Ultimately, this approach to hiring based on fit over experience may not work for each individual company, and perhaps traditional practices may never truly fade away. But Fluhr has found a unique way to channel business strategy – that is, building the right team to achieve high results – into his recruitment process.
Would you hire for fit over experience? What are your unique or tried-and-tested hiring strategies?
Image used under Creative Commons from liza31337.