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Hiring Process Insight:
Use the Right Map - So You Don't Get Lost

Who knew I would find hiring process insight on a sunny fall weekend morning in the North Georgia Mountains, but I did.

The outside air was fresh and our tummies were full after a scrumptious and leisurely breakfast at the Dillard House.  Melissa and I were headed out to meet our husbands at the Wanna Go Fast Heaven's Landing ½ Mile Shootout

They had left at the crack of dawn to attend the Drivers Meeting for this event, where 2,000 spectators and 125 cars (our husband’s included) would zoom down Heaven's Landing Airport’s 5069 ft. airport runway, hitting record speeds up to 200 MPH.

Melissa and I were pleased with ourselves. We’d avoided the early morning trek to the track, we’d relaxed over breakfast, we had our Kindles, lawn chairs, snacks and sun hats packed, our guys were happy 'doing their thing' and we were ready to go watch.

I stumbled across important hiring process insight when my friend and I got lost and almost went off the mountain.  Want to hire good employees?  Don't make our mistake.

As we approached Melissa's husband’s HUGE Ford 350 XLT Super Duty King Ranch Turbo Diesel Pick Up Truck, our transportation for the day, she shared that she was nervous about driving this beast.  The truck was ginormous and loud, and Melissa - petite and soft-spoken. 

Seeing her in the driver’s seat was like putting a toddler at the wheel of a four door Chevy. Cute, curious and out of place. We both could have used a step ladder to get in it!

I assured her that we’d be fine and that I’d serve as her navigator.  Neither one of us had the directions. Somehow in our vacation mindset we’d never nailed down exactly how to get to Heaven’s Landing. 

Melissa pulled out her iPhone and tapped her Find My Friends App a GPS App that allows you to easily locate friends and family. We pinpointed where her husband was and the directions were promptly mapped out for us.

Off we went, confident that we’d be there safely in no time.

We knew something seemed a little off when our directions from the Find My Friends App said to take a left onto a graveled, twisted and curvy road.  We double-checked the App to see that it would get us to our final destination and assured ourselves that it must be right. 

It LOOKED like we would end up in the right place, but it FELT all wrong.

I stumbled across important hiring process insight when my friend and I got lost and almost went off the mountain.  Want to hire good employees?  Don't make our mistake.

We suspended our early suspicions because we got so focused on navigating the beast of a truck up the steep mountain and around hairpin curves.   Whoa, there was a big drop off down the mountain to our left.   Because the steep drop off scared us, we put blinders on and kept going. We half-halfheartedly told ourselves that the gravel road did appear to be going up the mountain and we probably were on the right track.

Then, the terrain got rougher and the gravel became dirt.  The “road” got so narrow that the truck barely fit.  As we took the next hairpin curve and crossed a creek – we knew we were in trouble.  We saw a dirt ‘driveway’ to our right with a painted piece of plywood nailed to a tree indicating that someone’s shack was at the end, though we could not see it.   As we started to panic, we finally decided to try to turn around in that makeshift driveway.

Hiring Process Insight: The Wrong Map = Gets You Stuck & You End Up Where You Don't Want to Be

As Melissa turned the beast into the drive, the right side tires started to sink in the wet dirt - spinning and sliding toward a two foot drop off  - into creek bed below.  Then she tried to back up. The hitch on the tailgate dug into the earthen wall behind us.  She turned the wheel and tried to move forward again, the right front tire dug deeper and inched closer toward the drop off.  I thought we might be stuck. As my heart was racing and Melissa began to hyperventilate – she put the truck in park and we just sat there in shock. 

Finally I hopped out to examine the situation.  As I walked around the truck, Melissa sat in the driver’s seat and stared straight ahead. She was so upset that she did not move.    

We were definitely stuck. And, we were in the middle of somewhere that was not where we thought we were going. I concluded that anything we tried at that point was only going to make things worse.  

The good news was that we were okay and that the truck was not damaged, yet. I grabbed my phone and called my husband to come get us.   He was worried, got directions and hurriedly drove to the rescue.  (He is always great, especially in a crisis!)

As we waited for his arrival we calmed our nerves by getting small boulders and placing them under and around the sinking right front tire – hoping to create some traction for when help arrived.   As we were keeping ourselves busy on this isolated dirt road, in between the quiet, we thought we heard a familiar sound.  We both looked at each other at the same time and said,
“It sound like cars, racing…”

I jogged up about 100 yards above the truck.  Off in the distance, blocked by a very tall fence, was our destination:  Heaven’s Landing!  It was not accessible from where we were, but it was there.  The App had provided directions by way of an abandoned road that at one time did take you to our destination.    We were close, but we were never going to get there from where we were.  We were using the wrong map. 

I stumbled across important hiring process insight when my friend and I got lost and almost went off the mountain.  Want to hire good employees?  Don't make our mistake.

Hiring Process Insight: Use the Right Map, Take Off your Blinders and Pay Attention When Things Feel Wrong

Eventually my husband arrived.  He saved the day by getting us turned around and down the mountain without incident.  We were actually laughing once we got back to safety.  Whew.  But not before we reminded ourselves how important it is to:

  • have the right map,
  • pay attention to the things that feel wrong,
  • remove our blinders and to not suspend early suspicions.

How about you? As a Hiring Manager interviewing candidates have you ever done some of the things what we did?  Can you glean some hiring process insight and wisdom from our mistakes?

Have you ever hired someone who’s “map” (their background and interview) looked good and sounded good, but they turned out to be a poor fit?  

Have you ever felt like something was “off” during the interview, but because you couldn't pinpoint the concern you put blinders on and just plowed ahead anyway, and later on regretted it?  Have you ever gotten close to hiring great candidates but ended up on the outside looking in, as they accepted a quicker, better offer from one of your competitors?

I think every hiring manager has made some of these mistakes, at least once. 

But, if you have a good hiring process map that you and your interview team follow closely, you can almost always avoid these problems and ensure that you never again “end up in the middle of somewhere that was not where you thought you were going.”  


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