October 4, 2021 – With more people working from home, it can be a challenge to maintain the right team dynamics, and the cultural glue that holds it all together must be industrial strength. So how do you ensure that you continue to hire the right people? In particular, how do you find the right fit with virtual leadership?
According to a newly released report by Y Scouts’ Max Hansen, in the current environment, the exceptional leaders who are aligned with your company’s values and purpose — the “why” — are not going to come to you. “You’re going to need to find them,” he said. “During periods of uncertainty, leaders are more important than ever. And when employees leave the office and work from home, you continue to need strong leaders. It has never been more important to ensure that you hire leaders whose values are aligned with your company’s why.”
Challenges with Current Hiring Processes
There are two problems with the hiring process, according to the Y Scouts report. The first one is the resume. Fortunately, it’s no longer acceptable to include your parent’s country of origin or your marital status. But the process of vetting resumes is still far from perfect. Take leadership, for instance. “Yes, there are skills you can list on a resume,” the report said. “But leadership is an action. Leadership is something you do, not something you have, like you have experience in retail or you have a degree in accounting. Skills, experiences and education — it’s all in there. But can your resume really capture leadership qualities? Yet, the resume is one of the tools companies rely on most during the hiring process.”
The most progressive companies recognize that people are not just important assets. “They are your only sustainable competitive advantage,” said the Y Scouts report. “Still, many companies continue to hire the same way. They post an impossibly long job description, comb through a pile of exaggerated resumes, pull out the most qualified, conduct a short series of redundant interviews, hire someone and hope for the best.”
There is a real person behind every resume, however. And the old way of hiring executives just isn’t a good way, or even an okay way, to find the best person for the job, Y Scouts says. “The old process will most likely yield some qualified candidates,” said the report. “But the executive positions in your company aren’t plug and play. Not just any old warm body will do. It’s not a question of content. Rather, it’s one of context. Will this person be able to operate within your working environment, especially when it is virtual? To do this, they must align with the values and purpose of the company they work for. They must understand the why.”
Max Hansen is a hiring process strategist who partners with CEOs, presidents, and other executive hiring managers to grow their businesses by hiring A-players. After spending nearly two decades hiring tens of thousands of leaders in almost every industry, Mr. Hansen’s true passion is up-leveling everyone’s hiring game with purpose.
Y Scouts notes that these challenges are steep enough when interviewing and hiring in-person — adding in the abstraction of remote work only works to further expose where traditional hiring methods fall short.
Why Are Values So Important?
Values help people understand the culture, the behaviors and how the work gets done. Recruits say that younger employees, in particular, are less interested in how much money they make as they are in finding work they love with a company they believe in. That’s because people feel happier when they are fully vested in the company’s “why” — its purpose, its culture and its values. When people are aligned, they are more productive and less likely to leave, according to Y Scouts.
Y Scouts also says that it’s critically important when the workforce is virtual to have strong leaders who can maintain the values and the work environment that have been significant to your success. “That means you need leaders who attend to business continuity, inspire a team and promote professional interactions,” the firm said. “When company values are done right, they’re integrated into all the systems in the company. This includes the hiring process.”
To find the right leaders, the Y Scouts’ report says that you need the right process. “That process must be rigorous and aligned with company values. This article mentioned earlier that there are two problems with the current hiring process, the first being the resume,” the report said. “The second problem is job descriptions. Most companies use them, but job descriptions are not very helpful. For one, they are usually too complex and a result of groupthink. The typical job description is a laundry list of ambiguous wishes that fails to define what it takes to succeed in any given role.”
Mr. Hansen’s report also says that a job description is like a cheat sheet on what candidates should include on their resumes. “It invites people to gamify the system, embellishing their responsibilities and accomplishments to make themselves appear to be a better fit for the job than they actually are,” it said. “The end result can be mutual dissatisfaction in the outcome.”
What does it mean to conduct a values-based search? A values-based search must start with a definition of what it takes to be successful. “This definition is captured in a statement that clarifies three to five success outcomes that the role must achieve,” said Y Scouts. For example, you might have successful outcomes around innovation, the customer experience or process improvement. “Nestled under these success outcomes are key responsibilities, which will provide future evidence of mission accomplished,” said Mr. Hansen. “That’s where specifics, such as developing strategic plans, integration of the strategic vision, enhancing customer satisfaction and driving high performance, will go. Of course, it’s not just candidates who need to be honest. Companies, as well, must be more transparent about the challenges that they face.” What needs fixing? Where are the pain points? When you paint a misleading and rosy picture, you may be disappointed in your hiring outcome. You end up with an executive who didn’t know that anything was broken and is simply not up to the challenge.
The Role of Covert Search
Ideally, candidates don’t know the company name until it becomes clear that they should advance as a viable executive candidate. This is the approach that Y Scouts uses. It’s a covert search operation in pursuit of the best possible outcome. But how does it work?
“Our covert search eliminates a major issue in the typical hiring process, people gamifying the system,” Mr. Hansen said. “That means that once they are lured by the company cachet and the impressive title, they take that blessed job description and use your exact words against you. They rewrite their resumes, change their summary statement, and exhibit a chameleon-like ability to transform themselves into the perfect candidate. You lose and they lose. Because when people take jobs they are ill-suited for, the outcome will not be good.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media