The Seven Decisions in Making a Great Hire: Knowledge

Knowledgeable retail buyers are gauging how much to buy based on the quantity that will sell through to the consumer and still keep the pipeline flowing with more products as well as enable the retailer to pay for the shipment with the money collected from retail sales on each order before the payment comes due to the supplier.

Knowledgeable hiring managers are gauging which person to hire based on the match of talentskills, knowledge, personality, experience, potential, long-term success, and personal goals between the person and the job.

Sometimes an applicant’s knowledge can make an applicant the wrong person hire.  In most states, companies can take the measure of having new hires sign contracts in which the new hire agrees not to go to work for a competitor.  I am not an attorney and I am not offering legal advice.  What I have seen is litigation against people who have violated these “non-compete” contracts.

The types of contracts have different legal basis depending on the state.  In California, non-compete contracts are not binding.  (See “noncompetenews” article on Marissa Mayer’s move from Google to Yahoo.com).

In Texas, the non-compete contract is now limited to those cases where trade secrets would be involved in a person’s going to work for a competitor.  (See “faircompetivelaw.com.”)

In some cases, companies have pursued the company that hired an employee away. One of the more famous international cases involved a General Motors’ lawsuit against Volkswagen, who hired one of the GM executives. See Newsweek.

In a bit of a tangent, I recall that one of the most famously guarded pieces of knowledge is the recipe for Coca-Cola soft drink.  Time, Inc. ran an article on a possible revelation of that trade secret.  Coca Cola’s success and efforts in protecting this recipe has become part of marketing legend beyond the importance of the secrecy of the recipe.

So in the category of hiring for knowledge, the best hires will be based on industry knowledge, general knowledge, task-related knowledge, but not the knowledge of a competitor’s daily activities, plans, patents, and trade- or customer-specific activity.

In some cases, companies steer away from employees who have the exact set of job knowledge for the position for which the company is hiring.  They prefer to hire someone who has terrific business knowledge and industry knowledge, but prefer not to hire people who come to their company with the knowledge of how to perform the exact duties of the position.  These companies do not want to “untrain” new hires and then retrain them to perform the duties for which the person is being hired.

So knowledge for the hiring manager is a critical aspect in interviewing and deciding on a new hire, and talentskills, and knowledge are just three elements on the check off list for making a great hire.

Personality!  The next decision for discussion is personality.  The next article will look beyond charm school personality to job-fit personality.

Here is to making great hires, for the hiring company and the new hires!

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