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Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Glue to Consistency

The question comes up, especially this time of year, "What's the one thing that sets someone apart from all the rest when interviewing for a job?"

It's not education or experience.

It's Responsibility.

Sit back, relax and let me tell you a story:

About 10 years ago I was assisting a client in hiring an entry level professional. We interviewed over 20 people and the department head found each one lacking. With each successive interview my usual cheerful countenance was fading. - We were running out of people to interview.

The client had rejected some very qualified people. She said they just wouldn't fit with "her gang." We kept interviewing until late one afternoon Amber sat down in front of us. Qualification wise I would put Amber dead in the middle of the pack of candidates. She met all the qualifications but I could have made a case  there were others with more experience and knowledge.

I noticed on her resume that she'd only had one job during high school and college. She'd risen through the ranks after starting out, well after starting out by asking, "Would you like fries with that order?" From the time she was 16 until she graduated from college at age 23 Amber worked in a fast food restaurant.

One job and one job only.

For her it was a no brainer. This fast food chain allowed you to contribute part of your hourly wage to an education fund that they would match. This limited the amount of money she had to borrow. But the thing she was proudest of was that she'd never missed a scheduled shift and had the documentation to prove it. She told us it was touch and go when she went into labor with her daughter but she finished her scheduled shift.

I guess you know where this going.  Amber was hired and 10 years later Amber is still working at the same company. She's received 3 promotions and a Masters Degree. When the head of the department retires in a few years Amber has been identified to take her position.

Sometimes we over look the obvious. We focus on the latest and greatest divining rod to help us make the best choice. But in the end, it's those who show up all day and everyday, those who choose something and stick with it. It's those people, like Amber, who make the best people for our organizations.

The average cost of hiring in the USA is approximately $9,000 per person. That's from the time you decide you need to fill a position until the time you feel that person is making a contribution to your company. If you make the wrong choice you will spend a lions share of that figure in finding a replacement.

Responsibility, no matter how small, can be the glue to consistency in your company.