Independent in All Things, Neutral in Nothing

Archive for the ‘Hiring’ Category

Revised: About Capitolism

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I have revised the About page, to more fully explain what Capitolism is, er, about. I have elucidated upon the goals of Capitolism and the issues in view. As I mentioned in a previous post, I am in the process of drafting a strategic plan for Capitolism in 2010, and will share that on the blog when I complete the plan.

About Capitolism:

Capitolism addresses, explores and focuses on issues concerning business, trade, leadership, management, economics and small business. Issues at the intersection of these topics will attract Capitolism’s particular interest. In probing these matters, Capitolism will rely on lessons from philosophy, history, literature, current events, great speeches, newspapers, magazines, sports, academia, science, theology, military history, poetry and the authors’ own experiences, as appropriate. The aims of Capitolism are threefold:

1. To explore challenging and even subterranean issues pertaining to business, economics and leadership

2. To offer a hopefully interesting and unique perspective on these issues to readers

3. To create a venue for wide-ranging, thoughtful, penetrating discussion on these issues

You, the reader, will judge how well or poorly Capitolism achieves these aims. We encourage your comments, whether you agree, disagree or violently disagree with our writings.


Written by Russell S.

February 6, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Real Unemployment Picture

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Many will no doubt cheer the unexpected drop in U.S. unemployment. That story, however, is largely bogus. The real story continues to be the extremely high ‘total’ unemployed and underemployed percentage. That number stands at 17% and has not dropped in several months. In short, the true employment sitaution remains rough out there.

Written by Russell S.

February 5, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Posted in Economics, Hiring

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Lack of Imagination, Lack of Inspiration

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Last month, Gary Hamel wrote a fantastic blog post for the Wall Street Journal. In it, he decries the ‘sterility’ of business language, and by implication, the lack of imagination in business. Manager can become so enamored with thoughts of improving performance – as dictated by lines on a graph, no doubt – that they neglect to link improved performance to nobler aspirations. They forget to make those linkages in communications with their employees.

In fact, many managers fail to understand what will inspire their staff members. This is often a hiring failure. Jim Collins reported an incident in one of his books about Gillette not hiring an MBA graduate because he was insufficiently enthusiastic about razors. Now, razors may not inspire you, but good on Gillette for screening for those people who do find inspiration in razors. Even the most mundane business purpose to you or me might be the most fascinating for someone else. Entrepreneurs prove this fact every day.

This lack of inspiration is often, as I alluded to, a failure of imagination by business leaders. Why does this dearth of imagination exist? Is it due to training or education in business? Is it simply a reflection of a broader human lack of imagination? Do business leaders wear down over time and lose their ability to inspire? None of these answers seems right to me. Indeed, this lack of imagination in business perplexes me, because so often business drives such dynamism and innovation in the world. In addition, business leaders read ad nauseum about the need to inspire, uplift and connect employees with the broader organizational mission. Nonetheless, Mr. Hamel’s makes a true observation, and one worth pondering further.

Written by Russell S.

February 2, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Four for Thursday: Articles I’ve Read and You Should Too

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Management’s Dirty Little Secrets, by Gary Hamel. Mr. Hamel makes some excellent points. Indeed, if you merge some of the data he presents, you see a key truth emerge: people do not leave companies, they leave bad managers. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Russell S.

December 17, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Should One Tweet Get You a Job?

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Several news sources yesterday reported that a man got a job by posting one Tweet. Good for him, especially in this economy.

But should the company have hired him? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Russell S.

December 12, 2009 at 7:47 pm

Assessing Fit

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In a previous post, I argued that an organization should assess a candidate’s cultural fit with it. How can you do that? What specific questions can you ask the candidate to assess fit? What questions should you ask yourself? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Russell S.

November 17, 2009 at 11:37 pm

Skills Versus Cultural Fit

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Over the weekend, a friend asked me, ‘would you rather hire someone who has the exact skills you need or who would fit in well with the company?’ Of course, having both is preferred. But what if you really could only hire for one?

Let’s look at two potential candidates. Candidate H has average skills and experience – he could do the job competently – but seems like an excellent fit with the culture of the organization. Candidate E has exemplary skills and experience – far beyond what you’ve seen in other candidates – but the interviewers have some doubt as to how well he would fit into the culture. My argument is: hire H every time. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Russell S.

November 13, 2009 at 12:10 am

Posted in Hiring, Management