Hire for Character, Contract for Skills

Not too long ago I was at a seminar where they were talking about the strict hiring practices of companies like Zappos. How they had multiple interviews and many hoops for candidates to jump through to even be considered for hire. But the man sitting next to me was not sold. He said “All that is great for Zappos, but I run a manufacturing company and I need 5 workers today. I don’t have time for all that and I don’t have 20 people lined up outside my building waiting to be hired!”

That’s when I realized that not every hire needs to be character based. Not every hire is a “core-critical” placement that the culture of the company depends on. If it is a project based or temporary position and all you care about are the skills, contract the worker.

In the Jim Collins book “Good to Great” he talks about your staff being like people on a bus. And anyone who has been on a long bus ride knows that it only takes one miserable person on that bus to ruin the entire trip! So when you find yourself in a position that you need skills but don’t want that person on your bus just yet, bring them on as a contract worker. Do not allow them onto your bus unless you are absolutely sure they have passed your thorough hiring process and deserve to be on your team. Never compromise. Zappos got to where they are by sticking to their process. You will never improve your culture if you allow just anyone on your bus.

Hire for Character, Contract for skills.