Welp, SXSW has come and gone, again. Plenty of good times and lessons learned to keep our thinking cap batteries charged for a year. Ti West was back, again, premiering his new film In a Valley of Violence which I thought was pretty good despite having killed off the real star of the film in Act I.
The film aside, Ti said something that demanded my attention. I forget the literal Q&A but the gist is that he was asked about his role in and process with casting his films. He told us that the traditional casting process of bringing in someone cold or quasi warmish into a room full of people, sitting at a small table with a hand held camera, reading from a script with no other actors while being seriously judged on your ability to deliver the scene in the most ridiculous of circumstances will not find you the best actor. However, it will find you the best audition-er. Eureka!
On the way home, it occurred to me that as with art, such is life. If we apply this same approach to the real world, we get the backbone of the book You’re Not the Person I hired!. The traditional recruiting and hiring process finds the best interviewee, not necessarily the best fit. I think HR folks are so focussed on weeding out the masses, they lose sight of identifying real talent. It should be no surprise if this outdated approach nets you an awesomely average employee. I admit, I am guilty as charged. If they don’t have a degree, I throw them out. How many great people have I missed out on as a result? This especially seems to matter in the revenue world where talent is so hard to come by.
And you know what? I imagine I’m also experiencing the other side of this as I type. How on earth will I be as good at interviewing as other candidates when I’ve only done it twice in 10 years? Think about it.
“If you do what you’ve always done, you get what you’ve always got” -who knows (it’s been credited to just about everyone including Mark Twain, Tony Robbins and Albert Einstein). And maybe that’s ok, just don’t be surprised if you end up with a team or cast that isn’t who you thought you hired.
I’ve never taken this advice but it seems pretty solid in retrospect – interview at least once a year regardless of how happy you are, keep your resume and LinkedIn profile updated and despite the fact that you have 5000 better things to do, keep up your social media involvement. You don’t need to post a blog once a week, tweet like wildfire or check Medium every hour to stay on top of things. Just read and stay informed. Learning is a good thing, and like the aforementioned example, you never know where it’s going to come from.