Yahoo! Provides a Hiring Learning Lesson
Another CEO has left Yahoo! under less than desirable circumstances. Not much of a shock there. But there are lessons for all of us dealing with hiring. The short tenure of Scott Thompson at Yahoo! can teach everyone that no matter what level your hiring for, the basics still apply.
Lesson #1: A Win is Not (Necessarily) a Win
Scott Thompson had only been at the struggling Yahoo! for 2 months. Prior he worked at the high growth PayPal. These are very different companies on significantly different trajectories. What’s the lesson there? Success at one company does not necessarily equate to success at another. It becomes easy for any hiring manager to get enamored by past wins a candidate may have encountered. But a bit of analysis needs to occur. How similar was the business? Where the circumstances relevant and analogous to current times? How similar was the culture where the win occurred? Understanding past successes is important but you still need to dig a bit.
Lesson #2: Don’t Skip the Basics
As the level of a recruiting effort moves up, so should the level of due diligence. Unfortunately the opposite is often the case. Hiring Managers (in the Yahoo! case this was the Board) will begin to make assumptions in the screening process. First, it’s often assumed that someone has verified employment, education and those other mundane details. This is very common when a search firm is involved. (Heidrick and Struggles was the firm in Yahoo!’s situation.) Also, a level of trust is often applied that the candidate will have too much as stake to falsify or exaggerate (or outright lie). As the risk grows, the business case for added due diligence is even greater.
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