Your background and circumstances should never be used as excuses, but rather fuel for finding your own sense of purpose and happiness.
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 Jason Hanold.
Jason Hanold is the CEO & Managing Partner of Hanold Associates, an executive search firm specializing in HR and Diversity leadership recruiting. Hanold also serves on the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Leadership Council, the National Advisory Council for Big City Mountaineers, and as a Team USA Athlete Mentor for the United States Olympic Committee. Hanold lives in Kenilworth, Illinois and is married to Neela Seenandan with four sons.
Thank you for doing this! Let’s jump right in. 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?
1. Have they experienced solid progression in different kinds of business scenarios? We are always looking for someone who has worked at companies of different sizes during growth, transformation, acquisitions, etc. that align with our client organization.
2. Are they fundamentally good human beings? There are plenty of amazing and talented leaders in the world, so an easy screening mechanism is to remove those others will not want to follow, no matter how much raw talent they bring into an organization. Are they well-behaved with good intentions?
3. Are they willing to be vulnerable? The best leaders on the planet all have the capacity, and the willingness, to be vulnerable. They admit where they are not strong and admit when they need help. This creates followership.
4. Are they curious and adaptable? Finding distinctive talent is less about checking the boxes and more about being able to assess for potential and capacity. One who is curious is always learning and thirsty for more knowledge. One who is adaptable will readily shift and pivot with the evolving business landscape. Both characteristics, hired in abundance, will fundamentally wire an organization for continuous improvement.
5. Do they honor their commitments? This may sound easy, but few live by this. I test for whether people honor their commitments, as this can make or break the tenure of a new hire.
With so much noise and competition out there, what are your top ways to attract and engage the best talent in an industry when they haven’t already reached out to you?
1. Cultivate trusted Relationships. Not all of my clients have the same level of brand recognition and when that is the case, it is my relationship with prospects that allows me to facilitate discussions.
2. Be an Authentic Advisor. I never “sell” an opportunity or a candidate. We are advisors, and in that capacity, we serve the candidate’s interest and the client organization’s interest. Sometimes a candidate may be highly interested in the company brand, but if I hear or witness elements of potential misalignment in culture or ideal behaviors, I will tell a candidate to walk away. If something is not good for the candidate’s long-term interest, it won’t be good for our client either, so although it may prolong a search, it is the smarter path to take for both.
3. Be Transparent, Interesting and Compelling. Try to paint a very clear, transparent picture of what an opportunity involves, and the corresponding challenges and opportunities for improvement and impact. This last part is critically important; successful executives fundamentally need to be able to make an impact and meaningfully contribute to any organization that they contemplate joining. Few would want to join a perfect company, so lay out the challenges and obstacles. The problem-solvers lean in more, and their interest is heightened.
What are the 3 most effective strategies you use to retain employees?
1. Vulnerability Through Transparency. Be open about what you are not good at and where you need their help.
2. Authenticity. Authentically care for the well-being of employees and their families.
3. Follow Through. Do what you say you will and it will create a culture of trust between colleagues. If your organization feels like a family that can rely on each other, they are less likely to leave.
If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
If it were possible, I’d inspire a global movement towards sparking curiosity in all forms. Curiosity inspires better education, employable skills, a better understanding of human kindness, philanthropy, giving, political realities, and helps resolve conflict. Lack of curiosity is the foundation for most of the ills of our society and nations.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” and how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Bloom where you are planted.”
Your background and circumstances should never be used as excuses, but rather a fuel for finding your own sense of purpose and happiness. I was raised by a single mother who had no desire to be a mother, who then struggled to make ends meet. My own circumstances were never ideal and yet always sufficient. My path was purely mine to blaze, without guidance and with the freedom of low expectations. I don’t have much patience for those who prefer playing the role of the victim throughout their lives.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, 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?
If we are including those who have passed, it would be a lunch with Martin Luther King Jr., Robert F Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, Maya Angelou, and my grandfather. If we are including the living, I would also invite Barack Obama. This is less about my interactions with them and more about their interactions with each other and the conversations they would be able to have. These individuals are role models of virtue, compassion, and perseverance and all sought to serve the greater good of man.
Thank you so much for sharing these valuable insights with us!