That Eureka Moment

“We all have “Ahaa!” moments – some item that takes hold of our over-loaded synaptic connections and just shakes them up. I had such a moment when reading Steve Job’s Biography. He was asked how Apple could have and hope to maintain the extraordinary growth that it had experienced in such a short time. Steve didn’t hesitate and put it down to the care and attention he personally paid to recruiting new hires. What he went on to say encapsulated for me all of my unfocused thoughts around poor recruitment, all the wise sayings of the Marcus Buckingham’s of the world who says again and again – play to your strengths!.

In short, what Steve had to say should be engraved on the workstation of every person being paid to produce results. Put simply, he said that in his experience, an excellent new hire delivered some 30% additional productivity to Apple. So – in his view, to not pay attention to ensuring that the new hire was indeed the right candidate was negligent.

Does it add up?

I did some simple math on that figure. Apple has approximately 50,000 employees but if Steve is right, they have the equivalent of 65,000 employees. If the converse is true for a similar company of 50,000 (with poor hiring practices resulting in underperforming employees) then that company may only be operating at 70% capacity. This means their 50,000 employees is actually closer to 35,000 – a 30,000 full time employee difference in output between the two companies. Even if we were very conservative and said there was only a 10% increased productivity that is still an extra 5,000 employees that Apple is getting for free – and a 10,000 productivity differential it has over a competitor.

More questions

My “Ahaa!” moment lead me to the question – why do so many managers resent spending time on working out what the profile of a job actually is so they can look to match that with the person who they will be paying to do that job?

Finding Concord’s Pro.File tools two years ago has helped me answer that question for many employers because finally they have a simple, fast and accurate method to help them work out what they want and the most likely way to achieve a highly productive and engaged employee who will deliver it for them. This was summed up neatly in a recent training session we held in Sydney when we were having this discussion:

“So – for the same financial outlay I can have a mediocre candidate or an excellent candidate. Why doesn’t everyone choose the excellent candidate?”

“They think they do. After all – who in their right mind would deliberately set out to get 30% less than what they are paying for?”

The missing piece of the puzzle is the Pro.file job and person blueprint: an objective and agreed map of which traits are the key ones to achieving success in the role.

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