As our regular readers will doubtless have guessed, as a company based in London’s historic and very pretty quarter of Kensington, Mediolana Limited goes through periodic phases of hiring what we believe are the best people in their sector to work on our various projects. Recently, we completed a hiring process that involved sifting through tens of thousands of profiles of candidates from all around the world to feature as actors in product and publicity material for a revolutionary new study guide; while this was time-intensive, ultimately we were thrilled with the calibre of the people we utilised and feel that the endeavour can be termed successful.
But what should companies look for in potential colleagues? Despite the plethora of literature available on this subject, far too many organisations face human resources logjams (or worse, crises) that can render perfectly good entities so many insolvency notices in the London Gazette (or local equivalent thereof). Yet there are simple rules and observations which, if used for guidance, can reduce if not eliminate most of these problems at inception:
1. Image is Nothing. In an image-obsessed era where looks count for far more than most rational economic agents would be willing to concede, a pretty face or well-defined body can be the decisive element in any hiring decision. Even in the most superficial of industries, this is rarely a good thing. Beauty – or in the case of all too many corporations, cheap and temporary lust – must take a back seat to competence.
2. Eliminate Pride and Prejudice. Given the power dynamics inherent in a hiring process and the genuine sense of powerlessness that engulfs those occupying even the most senior positions in corporate hierarchies, it is all too easy for the ego of the hiring party to run wild: candidates are measured against absurdly acute standards of personal morality; their social and political affiliations are scrutinised without limit; and all other kinds of irrelevancies which have little if anything to do with the job description can suddenly become definitive.
3. Today Hamlet, Tomorrow The Terminator. It sounds obvious, but in how many companies does someone with excellent, comprehensive knowledge of the modalities needed in candidates for a given position allocate three hours from their schedule – during which their telephones and laptops are turned off and all meetings blocked – to sit down in silence with a blank sheet of paper and a pen and define exactly what they are looking for; the precise content of the job description; and what customised tests can be used to sort the great candidates from the merely good ones?