As someone who has always strived for success, it is not uncommon for me to cook up a barrage of probing questions upon meeting talented individuals as to how they have achieved success.
My keen interest in success stories and entrepreneurship took me to Sydney’s beloved Dendy Theatre some months ago where not only did I indulge in the ever-popular Choc Top, but also in the thought provoking movie, “The Founder”. The film features Michael Keaton playing Ray Kroc, a salesman from Illinois on his journey to building the billion-dollar empire, McDonalds. For those of you who have not yet seen “The Founder” as you can anticipate the tenacity of Ray Kroc played a pivotal role in the success of McDonalds evolving to the powerhouse we know it as today.
Although Ray’s persistence featured heavily in “The Founder”, it was the underlying message of this film that had me thinking about the relativity to my role in recruitment. Ray Kroc and his business partners are a solid example of conflicting values. Ray’s drivers were financial success and market domination whereas his business partners at the time were driven by family values and producing a consistent, high quality product. When Ray asked his business partners whether they would “put a hose in the mouth of a drowning competitor” to achieve financial success, their response was a definitive no. This conformed to Ray that they were not on the same page
In recruitment, I find the greatest recipe for cooking up successful long term placements occurs when the values of the candidate align with company philosophy. When this is sandwiched with relevant project experience and technical skill set and you have yourself a highly desirable combination! Believe it or not although money is always a factor when considering a career move I find this is very rarely the key motivator when working with a candidate. I find candidates are more often driven by project ownership, full project life-cycle exposure, exciting projects, high quality design and opportunities to be mentored by industry experts. Of course, motivators and values can be far more difficult to identify than experience and technical ability, so how do we go about this?
From a Client / Employer perspective
Establish why this individual is currently seeking a new role
This can be as simple as asking “why” the candidate is seeking a new opportunity.
As mentioned above you may be surprised to learn that the response will rarely be money however this little nugget of information will enable you to identify what is driving this change.
Clarify long-term goals
How do the individual’s immediate drivers align with their long-term career goals? Is this a step in the right direction towards achieving this and does this ultimately align with your company philosophy? If so, fantastic! However, if not you will need to be objective in deciding whether to move forward with that individual as this could result in them not cutting the mustard long term.
Discuss the candidate’s previous successes
In addition to clarifying how this individual measures success (or what they truly value) this will offer insight in to the type of environment they are likely to thrive in. What aspects of this role and / or workplace brought out the best in them?
From a Candidate Perspective
Clarify your objective
Your motivation towards considering a career move needs to be as clear as a freshly Windexed drive-through window to ensure your values align with that of a potential employer resulting in a solid cultural fit.
Target Relevant Companies
Do your homework! Put the research in to ensure your efforts are focused on pursuing opportunities within companies that share your values. When discussing opportunities within a business, be clear on your short and long term expectations to ensure the business can meet your expectations and you can meet theirs. I am sure we are all familiar with that unpleasant conversation at the register when we have ordered Quarter Pounder we and are served a Cheeseburger…
Establish what it takes to be successful in the business
Be sure to ask about people within the business who are successful and why this is. Is this due to technical capability and / or their behaviours? If this sounds like you or like someone you are striving to become, this is likely to be pairing as successful as Oreo’s and ice cream.
We have all experienced roles throughout our career that have been both sweet and sour. Naturally we all want to achieve success in ventures embarked upon, but it is important to ensure our objectives and motivations are clear before acting or we may end up in quite the pickle.
What do you value? Food for thought.