How To Become A Company Of Giants

If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.” ~ David Ogilvey

People are the foundation of our business. We need to ensure that we are building a rock solid business foundation and a huge part of this effort is to ensure that we are hiring the very best people we can. We want to hire giants, the best people we can find, so that we can become a company of giants and stand out from the crowd!

A number of years ago when we were hiring to fill quite a few engineer and project manager requirements, the leaders of the organization did the interviewing and candidate selection (the actual hiring was handled by HR). These leaders included the project managers and some of the top engineers. Using this method we were finding and hiring quality people.  Soon, however, the time required to recruit and hire new staff overtook the availability of these leaders, managers and engineers. Consequently, we ramped up a recruitment team whose job was to recruit and hire the staff that was required. The recruitment team consisted of human resource people.

Initially this worked well because the leaders, PMs and engineers stayed somewhat involved in the process. However, as time went on, these people pulled back and left the job almost entirely to the HR team. The result was a stellar recruitment team who hired and filled all the roles required but the staff that were hired were often sub par. We hired people to fill the roles but some of these people were not the “giants” that we wanted. This caused all sorts of issues from skill mismatches to behavior and cultural issues. In the end, it cost us money and caused issues with our customers.

Building a great company means finding and developing great people that are not only experts in their fields (competence) but are excellent workers (character) and fit into the culture of your company (chemistry). The best way to do this is to have your best people involved in interviewing and selecting candidates and not blindly leaving this process to others.

I am a big advocate of the old Microsoft philosophy that;

  • A players hire A players and sometimes B players
  • B players usually hire B and C players but rarely an A player.

Because of this philosophy, Microsoft would always have A players involved in the interviews of new staff to make sure that they were hiring A players and building a company of giants. What Microsoft realized was that no matter how good their recruiters were, if they did not understand the requirements of what made up a top tier programmer or top tier business person, they would never be able to hire these people consistently and successfully. If they could not fill their company with top tier A players then they would become a company of dwarfs.

The challenge that I leave with you this week is to change your hiring processes so that your best people are doing the interviewing and the selection of new employees. Become a company of giants by hiring giants.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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