With more critical thought, we would find many more creative ways to solve the issues we deal with from day to day.
As a part of my HR Strategy Series, I’m talking to top experts in the field to teach prospects what hiring managers are actually looking for, while also supporting business leaders in their hiring and retention strategies. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Aaron Wilmot.
Aaron Wilmot is the Vice President of People at JumpCloud. Aaron knows that the key to a thriving organization is a culture designed for the growth and development of its employees. For over a decade, Aaron has been reimagining the employee experience to allow employees to gain a deeper sense of purpose and ownership in their work.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! First, please tell us what brought you to this specific career path?
Well, I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to be when I grew up (still not, if I’m being honest) and so I started my career with EEOC equivalent agencies as an investigator. Through this experience, I was really quite stunned by how employers were treating their employees. I felt that my background (professional, educational, and personal) really lent itself well to helping companies reimagine how they operated to create a mutually beneficial relationship for employees and the company.
Can you share the most interesting or funny story that happened to you since you started this career and what lesson you learned from that?
I think the most interesting story was when I worked for a for-profit higher education institution. We had an employee who thought that harmful sound vibrations were coming through the HVAC unit. Their coping mechanism was to put a literal tinfoil hat on their head to repel the vibrations. What I learned was that everyone has their own way of coping with this world and regardless of our personal feelings, we must realize that their perception is their truth and we should be open-minded enough to respect that.
Wonderful. Now let’s jump into the main focus of our series. Hiring can be very time consuming and difficult. Can you share 5 techniques that you use to identify the talent that would be best suited for the job you want to fill? Please share an example of each idea.
- Alignment to our values. We want to be sure that the people we bring into our environment are set up for success. We spend a lot of time assessing who they are as a person and if they are naturally aligned to our values. We typically get at this by asking them about how they would describe their own values, and how those values play out in the working environment.
- We work hard to be really clear about what we are looking for in the right candidate. We spend a lot of time conducting kickoff meetings with hiring managers as well as the hiring team so that everyone is very clear on their role and what they should be focused on in the process.
- We do our best to be super clear about what the top two most critical components to success are with the hiring managers. This allows us to find up and coming talent and not be so focused on finding the “perfect” candidate, but more about those that show promise and are eager to learn.
- Painting realistic pictures of what it is like to work in our environment. From our job posts, through our offer process, we try to be sure that we are super clear about the opportunity as well as our current state. This way, people have a clear sense of the people we surround ourselves with, as well as the work that is in front of us to positively impact the day to day experience of our customers around the world.
- Measuring our effectiveness. We are spending a lot of time in 2020 to hone in on our actual effectiveness in our hiring process and methodology to incorporate more science into the art that we have as we continue to expand our employee population. We are doing this through a combination of our scoring system, the first 6 months of the ramp, and how they rate within our talent assessment model at 6 months and one year.
With so much noise and competition out there, what are your top 3 ways to attract and engage the best talent in an industry when they haven’t already reached out to you?
- Emphasize who we are through meetups, happy hours, and other public events.
- Establish a presence in critical outlets where top talent proactively seek new opportunities.
- Employee referrals. The best way to bring in top talent is through referrals from our awesome people.
If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
Teaching people how to think critically. Too often, people just do what they think they are supposed to do and are not thinking critically about why. With more critical thought, we would find many more creative ways to solve the issues we deal with from day to day.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” and how that was relevant to you in your life?
Treat people with dignity. It just gets back to the fact that we are all people, we all have emotions, we are all flawed, and we go through cycles of good and bad times. You just never know what someone may be going through in a day, and regardless of what has happened, people deserve to be treated with dignity.
We are blessed to have some of the biggest names in Business, VC, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have a private lunch with, and why?
Masai Ujiri. I would like to understand his approach to building a championship mentality within an organization, and then go deeper into how he has scaled that philosophy in his effort to transform Africa through partnerships with the NBA, business leaders, and local and national governments.
Thank you so much for these fantastic insights!