Friday, June 26, 2020

Hiring the Right Person (the system is broken)

When I was a Vice-President with JPMorgan Chase I had a need for a junior project manager on my team.  I put in the requisition and business case to HR and they went to work.  I started receiving resumes that had been vetted through their application management system and I was receiving junk as though the wrong job had been posted.  The recruiter was a friend of mine and I called him and asked him to send me ALL the resumes received.  He told me that there were over 80 and I told him "that's OK, I want to look at them all." 

As I went through the discarded resumes (the applicants had no doubt already received the obligatory "you suck" letter), I realized it was the application management system that sucked.  My eventual hire came from the discarded resumes and he went on to, not only be my "go-to" project manager, he eventually became a Vice-President with JPMC before moving on to bigger and better things. 

Most hiring managers abdicate their responsibility to HR and their broken application management systems.  My advice - don't.  For professional positions, a hiring manager should go through every resume received and not rely on HR to vet the applicants.  It's another subject, but when I wrote curriculum for the University of British Columbia, I taught that 50% of a manager's job is the development of their staff and that includes the hiring process.  I do not listen to the malarkey of "I don't have the time", BS, it's your job (notice that my moniker is "no BS", you will get that a lot in my articles and lectures). 

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Rarity of Greatness

"And greatness, no matter how brief, stays with a man." - Gene Hackman at the end of the movie The Replacements.
I recently watched a replay of the 2013 ESPN E:60 program where they profiled pitchers that have thrown a perfect game in baseball. This feat is a rarity, only 23 official perfect games have been thrown in major league baseball in the last 151 years (218,400 games as of mid-2019). This got me thinking about winning championships. Though I don't have the data to back this up, winning a championship is also rare. Considering the number of athletes competing in EVERY sport throughout time, winning a championship has to be rare. The Tom Bradys, Michael Jordans, and Dale Earnhardts of the world are a rarity, the vast majority of people who have participated in sports have never won a championship.

In the many years of multiple sports that I participated in, I only have one championship to my name, the 1974 Copper Bowl (Tucson) in youth football where we beat Montebello, CA 40-14. We were undefeated (9-0-2) and a motley crew of misfits with a coach who, in only three years of coaching, won 3 straight championships; he knew what he was doing, he knew how to win a championship. The team I quarterbacked was his only undefeated team (it was also his last).
The point to all this is that nobody can ever take that championship away from me; I will forever be a champion and to paraphrase Gene Hackman, that will always stay with me. I have achieved something rare and it does mean something all these years later. The feeling never goes away and it's a good anchor for anything in life - I know how to win. This applies to any endeavor that I take on. I have been on top many times in my life and that lone championship so long ago taught me how to get there and continues to do so.
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