Attitude beats skills every single time

10 Hiring Paradigms to Consider in 2021

This year continues to be surprising even after all that we went through the past year. As a result, we had to shift the way we work, the way we think, the way we process information, and the way we pivot in business.

Many of us had to go through a new process of hiring and managing people, dealing with stress, organizing events due to the semi-remote nature of work, finding different ways to communicate with one another, and so forth. 

As a result, hiring in 2021 for most companies out there is a lot different as compared to what we had to face in the previous years.

This is why I’ve selected the ten hiring paradigms to consider in 2021. Stay tuned and read further. 

Ten Hiring Paradigms

1. Choose Attitude Over Skills

This hasn’t really changed much over the past year. But what it showed us is that attitude is always so important when it comes to hiring new talent. 

With the semi-remote nature of work and the ability of lots of people to join numerous remote companies out there, finding people who can align with your culture is really important. 

This is why hiring for attitude and not skills is what’s going to preselect the best applicant out there and the best talent that’s going to stick around. 

If you hire someone for skills only and they can’t fit in the culture and in whatever you want them to represent as part of the company, it’s not really going to be a hit for a continuous period of time.

If, on the other hand, you only look for attitude in the sense that fits exactly in the culture of your existing organization, this is going to be a lot more successful than what you previously tried to build. 

Once again, attitude beats skills every single time. 

Hiring for attitude

2. Look for Intrinsic Motivation

It is very important to figure out what drives people further. 

For some, it’s cash or the holidays. For others, it may be learning new skills or working on an exciting project, or contributing to the environment. 

Whatever it is, make sure you understand the intrinsic motivation of the people that you hire within your organization. There are generally two types of motivation in the workplace—the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

When an employee enthusiastically works and willingly aims to become better at what he does despite any challenges—and then he finds satisfaction in doing so—that employee is intrinsically motivated. On the other hand, extrinsic motivation involves the need for money, popularity, and praises among others.

Take these steps to nurture intrinsic motivation among employees:

  • Gather information about your staff
  • Focus on their individual needs
  • Grant them work autonomy and flexibility
  • Provide career guidance

Knowing the intrinsic motivation is going to help you find those people and build a career plan that’s aligned with their expectations. This will also mean that they’re going to be a lot more motivated to stick around and to continue pursuing even in tough times.

One thing that I used to do when we were still a smaller organization was that we built a list of our top three priorities for every single employee. It is important for a business to understand the most important things that our people care about because even if you’re going through tough times, even if they’re pulling the midnight oil or anything like that, it’s going to be a lot easier to retain your people. 

You understand how to keep them motivated so you can make sure they’re grounded and they push through as you align their motivation with the goals of the company. It’s still going to be aligned even after the crisis is over. 

Intrinsic Motivation

3. Know the Common Interests of Your People

People spend a lot of time at work. Regardless of whether it’s onsite or offsite, you must make sure that you understand what people care about and how your people can fit in your organization in the grand scheme of things. 

What we have designed here is a number of slack channels that allow us to actually let people grow with one another. We, at DevriX, have channels for football, fitness, health, different music genres, gaming, pets, and all sorts of hobbies or interests that people tend to share when working together.

As a result, we have small communities within the organization that spend some time together and discuss things even outside of work, and after business hours like over the weekends. This provides our people a sense of belongingness which is making them feel they’re an integral part of the organization. 

Jeff Haden shares that it’s even better to build a community than just maintaining your company culture. According to him, a real community trumps culture and you can build a scalable one within your workplace by adopting the following core components:

  • Company values
  • Expected behaviors 
  • Radical responsibility
  • Employee-centric onboarding
  • Managers turned into coaches
  • One-one-one mentoring
  • Clear obstacles

Everyone wants to be a part of a community. Everyone wants new friends, people with common interests. The more people you have within the organization, the more necessary it is for you to provide an avenue that is nurturing so that your people can interact over common interests and common hobbies.

In this way, you can easily integrate new hires and build strong connections within the organization.

Information Job Seekers Research

4. Ask for a Clear Roadmap

Ask for a clear roadmap and confirm that their road map is aligned with the vision of the company. 

Companies have mission and vision statements for a reason. We have designed a guide for that to help you build one if you don’t have one yet.

The company vision is the future direction of the company where you’re headed, what goals you want to accomplish, and what you want to end up with at the end of the day. Making sure that the employees’ goals are aligned with the vision is something really important.

One example I have is an interview from last week with someone who was really talented and skilled but the reason we didn’t send him an offer was we couldn’t identify what his roadmap was. He wanted to study different things, but he wasn’t really focused and well-centered on a specific skill set or a specific type of company, product, or anything specific that he wants to develop.

I am as candid as it gets during interviews. What I normally ask during an interview is, “Look, we are not worried about skills. We don’t have to pitch on skills. We hire for attitude. What is the reason you want to start with us? What is going to convince us that we are not going to spend three, four, or five months mentoring, onboarding, and training you only for you to jump onto the next company?” 

That’s the real question, and that’s what we truly care about. Once again, it’s not about the skills. It’s about your intrinsic motivation. It’s about your personal roadmap and what you want to accomplish because it’s paramount for us to first know that, then we can deliver upon that. 

Second, we do expect other offers to pop up. Talented and skillful people do receive offers. Everyone knows that. We want to know what we can offer our potential hires and what they really care about so that they’re not just going to jump ship after the first opportunity. 

Even if a potential hire is a good fit in terms of traits and skills, but cannot provide a clear roadmap that aligns with our vision, we couldn’t buy into investing anything for several months until an offer comes in. So to make sure this is clear, confirm the roadmap is aligned with the company vision. 

Company transparency

5. Quiz Your Potential Hires on the Vision

Since the vision is clear, try to reverse-engineer the process and make sure it’s something that you can handle. Ask them specific questions with regard to what they’re after. You can even ask them controversial questions with regard to potential possibilities of what could happen in the future, and their opinions that are highly related to how you expect things to pan out in six months, a year, or two years from now.

One thing that really stands out after I read the story of pirates and navies is Steve Job’s question, “Are you a pirate or are you a navy?”.

Startups often start with pirates, with people who are handling all things and are chaotic but have to do a lot of things. There are no processes and everything is just scattered around, but they have to push through because you don’t have yet an organization with a thousand people who deal with their own departments and their own responsibilities. 

But as the organization grows, you start to apply, create and design processes. You hire tiers of management, leading people, supervising them, and controlling processes, and so forth. So pirates have to adapt to become navies. What you want to figure out is whether your pirates can be navies. Are the people you’re hiring suitable for the organization you’re planning in the future?

Sometimes the answer may be no, and you have to be ready for that. So quiz them on the vision and just ask the right questions. 

setting new hire expectations

6. Be Open to New Career Roles

We subscribe to the saying, “We invent roles for the right people”, which is similar to the paradigm, “We are always hiring”.

It’s not much different from the fact that if you meet the right people—because finding top talent is really hard—if you stumble upon top talent one way or another, inventing a role for them is the right move. 

You may be looking for a product manager. What if you stumble upon an account manager that may not have the vision for a product, but is great at customer development or business development, or upselling customers, designing cross-selling relationships, building partnerships, or something along those lines? 

Think of the roles that you may not currently have in the organization, but the people you interview may actually be suitable for them in this case. Even if they’re not the best fit for the specific role you’re interviewing, you may still be able to retain them in a different capacity and a lot of different opportunities for the business.

 career opportunities

7. Post Alternative Jobs Depending on Traits

Similar to the previous point, consider finding talent based on traits and not based on title descriptions. 

Let me give you an example. When we look for project managers, oftentimes we look into different roles that are not titled as “a project manager”. Why? It’s because we are a digital agency. What matters to project management is handling multiple projects at once and taking care of our customers, teams, and projects. 

Those three different departments work in a very specific segment that includes a little bit of a combination of account management and business development, as well as supervising skills for handling the team properly and industry-specific skills with regard to how a project works, how it operates, and how to separate what’s possible and what’s not possible—that’s usually learned on the job.

Most project managers out there either come from non-digital industries, so they’re managing construction projects or managing events or anything like that. They may come from enterprise corporate structures with tons and tons of business meetings and working on a five-year-long project themselves with other program managers, incident managers, escalation managers, and other types of managers.

So to combat these, sometimes we look into roles that have the right traits, such as posting a job description for an account manager, a marketing manager, or an event manager that seems to me have the right skills to organize people and communicate with different stakeholders, which is what managers do. 

In a nutshell, if you’re failing to find the right people within a specific segment, try to think creatively. You look for other types of people, or maybe adjust your requirements a little bit and look for juniors instead.

Psychological profiling techniques

8. Create Internship and Training Programs

If you’re unable to find the right people for the job, you may also ask yourself, “How can I get to onboard other people and bring them up to date in terms of skills or expectations in the best way possible?” 

What we’ve done multiple times and we continue to do is we create internship programs or junior research onboarding programs that help us build new talent from people with limited skill sets. 

Large corporations and organizations have been doing this for ages. They have support training and sales training programs and whatnot. They have coaches and mentors, but they also do have training materials. They have handbooks. They purchase training courses and record workshops among others. 

Think about what it takes for the first two weeks, the first month, or the first two months to bring someone up to speed up to date with what the organization or the business needs such as in terms of culture and communication. Try to build a training or an onboarding roadmap for them, gather different courses, purchase them if needed, or talk to different trainers in your area and ask them what it takes to build personalized training for your own onboarding program

It’s going to be much easier to hire for attitude and train multiple people, then find the best talent out there. Because once you hire for attitude, motivated people are going to go through the entire process making sure that they’re going to deliver and grow within the organization.

HR leaders

9. Partner up With Training and HR Companies

Lots of companies organize boot camps or specific training programs. Sometimes, there are HR companies with specific pools of people within an organization that they can lend one way or another. 

You can partner up with them and make sure you have a specific track of skills you want to train. Again, you can design your own course or your own onboarding process that they can go through even before starting within the organization. Or, you can tap into their talent pool as needed on some form of a subscription basis. 

There are different ways to partner up with them. So make sure you understand the landscape in a similar way as top companies in California look for talent and have specific relationships with top universities out there, making sure internship programs go through them. Building strong relationships ensures that you can bring top talent this way.

new hire productivity

10. Automate and Document as Much as Possible 

Whatever you do, some people are not going to stay forever. What you want to do for the sake of everyone else in the organization is to avoid unnecessary stress and pressure.

The best organizations in terms of stability are organizations with recurring revenue, and organizations that diversify, automate, and document as much as possible. Make sure that many of your processes are subject to automation, or at least they could be handled by low-level support staff having been assigned to document. 

Of course, we are not talking about sales or customer relationships or the R&D of your company. There are several things that you can get tooling for with notifications or reminders or business process management and other tools and tech that you can set up. 

The same goes for documentation once you train someone for three months. Spend the time on a regular basis to automate and document your processes and reduce the friction within the organization. If they leave in two or three months, you want to have documentation in place.

You want to document the journey, the onboarding process, and have materials ready for the next person to start with as little friction as possible. It makes the onboarding process more pleasant. It makes people more comfortable and the goal-setting easier. 

These are the ten hiring paradigms to consider in 2021.

While you may invent or discover new ones depending on the culture of your organization, it should help you a lot to go through the list and make sure you’re doing everything right when it comes to your hiring employees.

Your thoughts?