Overpay the Underqualified

Paying above market wages Henry Ford did it.  In 1914, he paid his employees $5/day, when the prevailing wage was $0.25/hour.  (That’s more than double the going rate, for my readers who didn’t tote their calculator this morning.)  Among other things, it allowed his employees to afford his automobiles. Costco‘s paying roughly 40% more than […]

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Systems vs. Superstars

Systems vs. Superstars In an older post titled Big Macs vs. the Naked Chef, Joel Spolsky wrote about the difficulty in taking high quality output from talented employees and designing systems so that “anyone” can do the work. He compares McDonald’s and the Naked Chef, which is, perhaps, pushing the outer edges of a metaphor, […]

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Hire for Attitude

When “happy” matters, hire “happy!” Writing for QSR Magazine online (Quick Service Restaurants), columnist George Green discussed understanding the difference between what you say your business delivers (“good food”) and what you need in order to achieve that target (“the right people”). Plenty of quick service, franchise restaurants have a well-defined operations manual that describes […]

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Hire for Skill

Saw this tweet come across my twitter stream today: Skills are easier to learn than attitude and talents. Avoid employers who hire for skills. Message is “we are unwilling to invest in you.” A bit of research indicates it’s probably a retweet from a Norm Brodsky quotation in this year’s Inc 500 issue: “Hire for […]

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Hiring Talent

Hiring Talent Taking another shot at the overall area of “skills vs. attitude” brings me to the troublesome world of “talent.”  It’s a big place: in the entertainment industry, “talent” is the guy who can play the guitar.  The driver, the source of all the money, and yet, not the person who can make the […]

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Shackleton’s Help Wanted Ad

I’m writing on Columbus Day, and I don’t know anything about how he hired sailors for his ships.  Thinking about explorers and staffing expeditions made me think about the most famous help-wanted ad ever: “Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in […]

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Confirmation bias in interviewing

Confirmation Bias in Interviewing Confirmation bias is the practice of paying attention to data that supports your idea and ignoring data that conflicts.  People who write about statistics and gambling (pretty similar topics) almost always address confirmation bias sooner or later (see The Black Swan, Taleb, and The House Advantage, Ma, for examples). When people […]

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Your business, your culture

Your business, your culture Your employee policy manual.  Your training program. Could this be your business, featured in the kind of stories you don’t need? Cab driver fired for taking man to the hospital Employees fired for chasing shoplifter A few years ago, I was standing in line at a grocery store near the university […]

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Don’t not hire the unemployed

Old news, now–CNN found more than a few businesses providing overt instructions to recruiters about NOT hiring people who don’t currently have a job.  The reasoning, when it’s provided at all, is that businesses lay off their “performance problems” first, and protect people who are good workers.  Sometimes.  Not always.  Not even often–sometimes entire departments […]

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Happy Boss’ Day

Boss’s Day–Just when you thought you’d figured out all of the major gift-giving events and how to avoid them, one more finds its way onto your planner!  October 16, should you want to add it as a recurring, all-day event, and schedule something to keep you out of the office next year.   (While we’re in […]

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