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Beyond Job Descriptions: How To Hire Leaders

Sean: In my interview with you on the Impact Leadership podcast, which is an amazing podcast, by the way, thank you for starting that we are all blessed to have that in the world. You shared some amazing interview questions that I personally use today. So I’m the final interview, which means the interviewee got past the entire thing, and I asked those two questions that you mentioned, which is.

What is the one thing that you wouldn’t want me to know about you? And if you get fired at your firm today, hypothetically, what would the reason be? And the question is, I wonder how many organizations you coach that make hiring mistakes and what do you do to improve that? Cause I know it has to be much more than interview questions.

Jeff: And some of them are the questions. And I do. Thanks for mentioning those. I do love those two questions there. So much you learn about somebody, but that leads to some of the mistakes we make because those two questions are designed to really learn about the person. And to see how self-aware they are and see how authentic they are.

And so those two questions help find people who are more self-aware and more authentic, which is something I want. So, but go back to the bigger issue. You look at a couple of problems. One is job descriptions. Most jobs descriptions I look at, there’s no one that meets that criteria. They just aren’t made the job descriptions are there the purple unicorn with pink stripes.

But if people, if you’re going out and look and people say, well, I want the best, well, have you gotten clear on what the best is? Forget about the job description because the job description is typically telling you what the job they need to do in some of the skills they need.

But it doesn’t get to the heart of the person, the soul of the person, the essence of the person, the leader in the person, because people don’t go and hire leaders. I’m saying, why not? And here’s the problem. They’ll say, well, we don’t want to have not everybody can be a leader and I say, you’re wrong. You can have too many managers, but you can never have too many leaders.

And I’ll repeat that. That is so important. You can have too many managers, but you can never have too many leaders. So I’m looking to hire leaders. I’m looking for people who can make things happen. I’m looking for people who can empower everyone else who is going to make the organization better, not someone who does a job well.

So I think we tend to interview and hire based upon job descriptions versus people descriptions. Like who’s this person. We tend to make, you know, Jim Collins said this is good to great, you know, he said you should hire slow and fire fast, big fan of that. We tend to hire quickly. We tend to hire and try to hire what we think will be high performers, never thinking about, well, what does our organization look like if we have a bunch of high-performers that sounds good.

Doesn’t it? It sounds like, well, don’t we want to have a bunch of high-performers. Depends. How do they perform it? Why do they perform? Are they high performers? Because all they care about is themselves and they’re going to do whatever it takes to perform for themselves and to look good. Are they going to trample on the people around them?

Are they going to help make the people around them better? If they’re the best sales person on the planet, will they make everyone better? I’ve had salespeople say, that’s not my job. Why do they say that? Because the employer never made it clear. That is their job. You know, if I’m hiring someone, I’m going to hire everybody and say, one of the things I expect of you is I expect that you will make this organization better and you will make everyone around you better.

And if at the end of the year, you are killing it but this organization is not better than the people around you are not better. That’s a failure. You will have failed. I don’t think we get clear on what we really want and we don’t get clear on what the organization really needs. So we go out and hire what we perceive to be high performers.

And the other thing I’ll tell you about this, about what we make mistakes in hiring is we take too few risks in hiring. Most of the time we hire the safest pick, the person who seems like they connect the dots. They check all the boxes, but most leaders don’t check boxes. Leaders don’t fit in boxes.

You know, leaders are a  pain, leaders ask questions, leaders challenge the status quo, but we hire, we make safe hires. And I’m a big fan of, I’m not saying make crazy risks, but sometimes we’ve got to say, who’s the person I love to say this. If I’ve got a couple of candidates, which of these candidates is most likely to be running this place in 10 years or five years, why aren’t we hiring the future leaders instead of the person who’s going to, you know, do this task tomorrow. So focus on leadership and heart. That’s what matters.

Sean: Amazing. Well, Jeff, I learned a ton. The last question that I have for you is we know that pandemic hit hard and it hit a lot of businesses here in the Philippines. 7,000 SMEs are going to close all the way to December since July.

So that’s the report of the government. That’s a lot of SMEs. Because SMEs here make anywhere from zero to a hundred million, what would be your one big advice for the entrepreneur who is struggling? And we talked about leadership and we talked about hiring and we talked about your journey and your failure, but if there would be one big advice that you could give them, what would it be?

Jeff: So many things popped into my head, but the one I will go with is this. I’m actually going to cheat and give you two because they’re related. One is to declare a no waiting zone. Too many people in business are waiting for things to change. And especially right now, during COVID, they’re waiting for things to get back to normal or the next normal, we don’t know what the next normal is or what it’s going to look like.

I think COVID is going to have a long tail. I’ve already seen too many businesses and leaders and entrepreneurs who have gone to this waiting mode. And they’re waiting this out. No, this is the time to learn. This is the time to grow. This is the time to innovate. Declare a no waiting zone in your business, build a business that is COVID resistant.

That  is going to thrive despite COVID, whether it’s six months or six years, you know? And what about the next COVID? Who knows? We’ve now seen that this can happen. So declare a no waiting zone, and this is about innovation ideas and building up your team. That’s number one. And the second part is I love this question.

A friend mentioned it to me this summer. And it really struck me as a very deep, profound question that I asked myself almost every day, personally, and in my business. And it’s this, am I meeting this moment? Am I meeting this moment? And this moment can be about COVID. This moment can be at another challenge in our business or in our personal life.

This moment can be in the United States. You know, we’re dealing with all sorts of divisiveness this moment. Is a moment in time and it it’s, it’s an empowering and a challenging question to say, so this decision I make, you know, as I am building new programs in my business around coaching and consulting, is this program going to meet this moment?

And for me, that statement raises the bar. That question raises the bar. It almost makes me a little scared. Am I meeting this moment? Or am I just dialing this in? So yeah. Ask yourself. That question are you meeting this moment? And if you’re not doing what it takes to answer the moment and declare a no waiting zone in your business. You’re going to create and you’re going to thrive independent of whatever happens around you.

Sean: That is amazing. So for those of you who are tuned in right now, and you’re having a hard time in your business, you have to do that. Declare a no waiting zone. Things, we haven’t seen the light at the end of the tunnel. I haven’t seen it. My people ask me, when are we going back to the office? And I keep telling them we’re not.

Cause we don’t see, we don’t see how this is going to lift this. The cases here are still 1,900 people a day and it’s not getting better. And I don’t want to risk anyone because of SEO-Hacker. We already lost one to COVID and she’s 24 years old. This virus, you have to take this seriously. And you have to meet the moment, do something, create something that is going to create so much value that people are going to be willing to pay for it during this tough time.

And you still get to keep your business and provide for your people and the economy. Well, Jeff, thank you so much. I am super honored to have you here super honored to learn from you, and I’m sure we’re going to do it again. And we are going to have your links on the show notes, but just for the recording sake, where can people find you?

Where do you want them to find you?

Jeff: Quickest way is you go to my website, which is my last name – Nischwitz “N I S C H W I T Z” As Sean knows I also have a company called Cardi Vera. C A R D I V E R, which is an online leadership development community that fits with my mission to empower leaders all over the world and without permission and without position.

And then you can connect with me on LinkedIn. I’m very accessible out there. Jeff Nischwitz and love to hear from you. I love having conversations with leaders and entrepreneurs to just talk about business.

Sean: Awesome. Well, Jeff, we’re going to have those links on the show notes. And once again, I just want to thank you for being in the show.

It was an amazing time.

Jeff: Thanks, Sean. I had a great time. I always love these conversations. It was great to chat with you again and see you again.

Sean: God bless you, Jeff.

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