Past Performance is Relative

A week into my social job hunt and I’m having some interesting conversations.

The online community has been awesome, giving me some great exposure and alerting me to opportunities. So far the lack of a physical CV has not hindered me, but I accept that it is early days. I won’t write too much about what is happening so far, except to say that my new style blog has attracted many views and some interest. The ‘Watch Me Being Interviewed’ page has been particularly useful for anyone interested in knowing more about me.

And one potentially very exciting opportunity has come, slightly from leftfield, yet certainly demanding of my attention!

Once the conversations start, inevitably we talk about my past roles, what I have achieved and where I have added value. That is no different to any interview in any sector I guess. Yet I have always wondered why the importance of the past?

Is previous experience the best indicator of future performance?

On this site, on the ‘Living CV’ that I have tried to create, I do talk about the past…but then I also want to give a strong indication of where I am at the moment and where I would want to go in future. And that may not always be directly relevant to where I’ve been.

These thoughts have been given added impetus over the weekend by the ‘removal’ of Roy Hodgson as manager of Liverpool FC. I’m sure that most jobseekers would have looked at this and thought…

They hire the best person they can find, supposedly the best fit for the job, and six months later he’s not capable of doing the job…

Roy Hodgson was hired on past performance. He was the Manager of the Year for last season and seemed a shoe-in for this particular role. Except he wasn’t, because…

Past Performance is Relative

The achievement that got him the Manager of the Year accolade was to take a small, unfashionable club, one that have never won a major trophy, and take them to their first European Final. A really good achievement…but is that the right platform to take on the redevelopment of one of the game’s most successful clubs ever, with numerous trophies and European titles, where there is an expectation of success?

Realistically no…but then many did think he was the best man for the job. They completely overlooked the different cultures, structures, expectations and standards of another workplace.

So when I talk to people about what I’ve done and what I’ve achieved, I also like to put them into context, and see how they would relate to the company that I’m talking to. And I also want to talk about where I’m at and where I want to go, how my skills may be able to complement the structures, processes, aims and goals of another business.

What are your experiences? Have you ever hired the wrong person based on past performance…or taken the wrong job because the goals and expectations didn’t suit your strengths?

It’s a Selection Rejection Thing

“I nearly bought one of their products a few weeks ago. I’m glad I didn’t. Won’t be considering buying one again”

So said a candidate to me last week about a company whose brand extends into the High Street. Did he have a bad experience? Bad customer service? Was he let down by faulty workmanship?

Kind of..

He was a rejected candidate…he’d applied for a senior role, had 5 interviews including meeting most of the operating Board, giving a presentation, and also meeting a Director from a different division. At the final interview he had been promised a decision within 48 hours. When time was almost up he got a call saying that there was one more person he needed to speak to and a phone chat was scheduled for the next morning. At the end of that call he was promised a decision the next day, which was a Friday.

But he heard nothing. At 5.30 he put a call in (he reasoned that if there was still some doubts maybe he could assuage them) but got a voice mail. 

He got a call back on the Monday afternoon saying that no decision could be made, that the company had not found a strong enough comparison so were unable to commit. He was told that a member of the Board would call and explain more. 3 days later he still hadn’t heard.

He asked what I thought, and I said: ‘Some companies forget that rejected candidates are consumers and ambassadors for their businesses

A lot of time is put in to the hiring processes…design, criteria, testing, offer, dialogue, giving the successful candidate a positive impression of the company…and I think it’s easy to short change the rejected candidate(s). In my experience there are 3 things that the unsuccessful candidate wants:

About the interview process, the competition, the selection criteria, the TIMESCALE for both the process and the decision, and some indication of where they stand

What went wrong, why it went wrong, constructive feedback, is there an opportunity in another part of the business, is it worth applying in future or is this now a closed book

Clear dialogue with the business, preferably with someone that they met during the process, and most preferably with one of the decision makers, a workable timescale with phone calls made precisely when they are promised even if there is no definite news to convey

You can’t sugar coat the message, and you can’t hire everyone who wants to work for you, but candidates you interview do invest time, energy and emotion in your company, your brand, and deserve some recognition of this investment.

Treat them well because they are your potential consumers and your potential ambassadors…

(This post originally appeared on Recruiting Blogs…read the comments it generated here)