When SmartRecruiters’ Community Manager Lexie asked me to write about our hiring philosophy at Shoto Consulting Group I quickly replied, “Sure.” What I hadn’t realized is that we never put into words exactly what that philosophy might be. I’m sure lots of you are in the same boat. You might know what you’re looking for on a case–by–case basis, but what are the underlying fundamentals? Rather than getting deeply philosophical, I’ll keep it simple, which is how we tend to do things around here.
First, we hire for attitude. One thing we have not been able to figure out is how to train attitude. I have seen firsthand a well–qualified candidate lead to disappointment once hired. It came down to hiring for what the person was on paper and believing his qualifications could be his salvation. It won’t happen and none of us have time for that. No matter where the candidate might fit into our company, someone who is positive, flexible and adaptable ranks well above where he or she may have worked or from what school he or she graduated. So what’s the takeaway? Save yourself the trouble and consider your candidate’s attitude with weight.
Second, we hire for experience, but not the ‘working’ kind. We look for candidates with an adventurous past and an overwhelming excitement for life. We seek out active, highly–capable people who have a thirst for worldly experience and growth. Many times we look beyond our current boarders, in fact, most of the people on our team have lived abroad, have grown up abroad or are currently living in a country foreign to their own. Why is this so important to us? Travel experience breeds creativity and adaptability. Travel fosters intelligence and brings about a positive attitude. These are all must–have’s for us.
I am what some call a Third Culture Kid (TCK): someone who spent a significant amount of his or her developmental years outside of his or her home culture. I seek out others who have similar backgrounds. I believe real diversity creates an amazing group dynamic, one where past experiences from different cultures come together to create highly effective ideas and strategies.
Having lived in Tokyo and Singapore during my adolescent years, I attended school with classmates from over thirty countries. This, I believe, will serve as the workplace of the future, where it will be natural to look not only to new cities for opportunities, but across boarders. Both of my alma maters, the American School in Japan and the Singapore America School are a preview of what is to come, a prototype. And it’s happening at Shoto, too. We’re currently managing three projects full time, with team members from Albania, Bermuda, Bulgaria, Canada, Japan, Singapore and the US. Additionally, we have candidates right now, thanks to SmartRecruiters, from China and India.
So, back to hiring for life experience. When you consider someone who has traveled around the world, they bring along the excitement for living that best fits our group. We aren’t tied to our desks; in fact most meetings take place while on different continents. Our most active project, developing and shooting a TV pilot, has involved a team that’s currently spread between Albania, Singapore, the US and a variable third country, usually India or Indonesia. We work remotely, using nothing more than our laptops, Skype and a concentrated focus on timezones. We work this way because we’ve chosen freedom over structure.
Since we’re always out engaging the world, we never really had a good method for sourcing candidates from multiple platforms, nor for tracking applicants. SmartRecruiters has taken all of that work out of the equation. I would never say hiring is an easy process, but the boring, stop–us–in–our–tracks ‘paperwork’ side of things is now gone. That means more time to focus on development, application and our lives. The candidate–tracking feature I love. I’m a visual person and having all our applicants in one place – on one screen – has been incredible.
SmartRecruiters has also held several web seminars that I’ve listened in on. I’d strongly recommend joining in sometime. And if you don’t already know how easy the SmartRecruiters software is, I’m sure it won’t take long.
Adam Hacker is the Founder of Shoto Consulting Group. He’s been launching and managing small businesses for the past ten years. He attributes his success to being adaptable and building diverse, well–traveled teams.