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Hiring 101: Hire Outside Of The Role

There’s a such thing as a “corporate athlete”; the idea of an employee that can perform in all capacities, beyond simply that specific to their job title. Corporate structure, however, in America has for a long time placed too much emphasis on role-specific attributes when hiring, promoting, and when giving performance reviews.

The term “corporate athlete” specifically refers to the concept that someone who is emotionally and physically well (characteristics that don’t typically play into whether or not they’re able to perform at a high level at work) will naturally result in someone who is a better performer.


And this is the type of individual you want on your team - a well-rounded individual is a much better bet for sustained success in your business than someone who can churn of good results.


For a sales person, usually good sales numbers are as far into their performance that many organizations will look at. But being a sales person, a specific role, involves a lot more than just being able to sell in order to have an overall positive impact on the entire business.


We’ll keep using sales as an example, since in most large businesses, this role tends to be the one most often boiled down to numbers on a page.


Let’s say you have a fellow working in sales that is consistently late to meetings, is rude to co-workers and doesn’t do well with technology, making reaching him with anything other than a phone call or seeing him in the hallway difficult.


You’d imagine this sales fellow would probably struggle since he seems to have a hard time with pretty basic elements of his job: being punctual, respectful and easy to communicate with. However, there are plenty of sales people who have far worse attributes, that somehow are able to sell well.


Go figure.


Without picking too much on sales, and without diving deep into how it’s possible for that type of person to be a good seller, as a business leader, you probably will be willing to accept the sales revenue, but would much rather have an employee that is easier and more pleasant to work with.


Apply this to any other role and department. While the head of the IT department might be great with technology and problem-solving, you also probably want him to be a communicator, and capable of working in a team even if most of his work doesn’t require him to.


As you hire, you want to be sure not to pigeon-hole certain people by their roles.


Just because you might not ever envision a scenario where a potential new hire might have to do public speaking for your business doesn’t mean that you should hire someone that you know is a miserable public speaker if all other things are equal between candidates.


Consider other skills make employees more malleable. Going a step further and considering things like emotional intelligence and people skills can help you from hiring a highly talented but poisonous employee.


Considering variety of skills and the person as a whole can stop you from sending someone up your own “corporate ladder” that will end up a cancer to that end of your business.

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