How I Learned to Hire For the Future

How I learned the lesson to hire for the future; it happened right after I was promoted. I was put in charge of a new division of the bank, a group that was pushing technology to the next level. A group focused on innovation and strategy.

My first hire was an easy choice. They already owned a portfolio of projects that would be pulled under my division’s responsibility. It was a no brainer. To hire six new employees, to get them onboarded and productive was daunting. To hire five new employees and have one who knew a portion of the portfolio was manageable.

This individual was charismatic, positive and a great individual to work with. They cared about the business, they wanted to be a team player. I thought the culture fit was there.

When I hired, I hired for the NOW, not the future.

After six months, I realized that I made the wrong choice. Despite this individual trying extremely hard and putting long hours in, they weren’t cutting it. They couldn’t grasp the new innovative technologies we were working with.

I sat down and assessed “skill” vs “will”.

They had the will, without a doubt, but they did not have the skill needed for the future. It was extremely personal because this individual was such a nice person. This individual fit in with the team, they were part of the team. Although I did not need to onboard them, they transitioned from the top performer to the button within six months. The individuals I hired for the future growth of the team quickly outpaced this employee.

This individual wanted to play the game but didn’t have the skills to enter the arena.

After a year we moved them to a role that was a better fit. The lesson here was that personality isn’t a culture fit. A culture fit can also be a learning capability. The ability to learn new skills quickly and to be technology savvy and fast.