What If We Changed Our Perspective of New Hires?

by  Jon Mertz  |  Leadership Coaching

Change happens, and we need to hire new people to fill existing or new roles. We go through the typical search:

  • Check our internally and our networks
  • Engage others to check their networks
  • Review and reduce the number of possibilities
  • Interview the candidates
  • Gather feedback
  • Hire

Whatever the process is, the thought running through the organizational mind is this:

  • We have a role defined.
  • We need to find the person who can fulfill those responsibilities completely, thoroughly, and passionately.
  • We need to find someone with the right “attitude.”

We think about how they can fit within our organization and how they can fit an outlined role. All of this is done in a self-serving way. We think:  Who can best serve what we have defined? In other words, it is about fitting someone into a clear mold.

What if we turned this model and question upside down? What if we asked:

How will the presence of this new person change our organization and this role?

What I mean by this is:  How will they enhance our organization, change this role to take it to the next level of performance and meaning for the work that needs to be done.

It is a different perspective. Rather than defining what we want them to do, it is thinking about what they will enable us to do differently, do better. It is about change that they can deliver rather than us changing them to fit our organization.

Maybe it is a subtle shift, but I believe it is an important one. We all want to hire superstars and rising stars. Our perception of what constitutes each, though, is based on our distinct perspective and defined (and undefined) organizational boundaries. Opening ourselves to the new person’s perspective may (and likely, if we let them) raise us up out of our organizational ruts.

Now, this is not to say that what we have hired them to do can go undone. It is not that at all. It is about adjusting our perspective and approach with new hires, opening the door for them up to contribute freely in ways that may, initially, be foreign to us. However, if we embrace their perspective and the changes being proposed, we are enabling our organization to improve and grow and, more importantly, empower an inspired workforce.

It is more than a workforce. It is the force of what people have within them to bring about a better, new way of doing things. We may just need to adjust our perspective to prevent boundaries being imposed as someone new walks in our door.

We may need to add a question to our interview set, too. The question could be:  How will your presence change this role and our organization? The answer to this question may highlight how the new talented person envisions opportunity, direction, and possibility. Now, we just need to be open to the ideas and change.

What’s Next? Please leave a comment below to join the conversation…

About The Author

Articles By jon-mertz
Jon Mertz is one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business and author of Activate Leadership: Aspen Truths to Empower Millennial Leaders. At Thin Difference, Jon writes and facilitates a conversation on how to empower, challenge, and guide the next generation of leaders.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Peter Borner (@PeterBorner)  |  08 Mar 2012  |  Reply


Thanks, a very thought provoking post. I have written several times on my blog ( about organisational culture and how easy it is to upset the balance. I have even gone as far as to opine that it is better to walk away from a superstar in favour of somebody a little less talented if they are a better fit for the organisations culture. I have also written about a concept that I call “a self-healing culture” where the team will assimilate or reject newcomers based on their alignment with the team’s culture. In my firm, we have adjusted our hiring process to ensure we keep cultural fit as a key requirement for any new hire. We do this by looking for evidence of four key behaviours (Driving for Results, Working Together, Making Great Decisions and Doing it Right.) Clearly we don’t always make the right hiring decision but the culture is such that it will either adapt positively or reject the newcomer and self-heal.

I particularly liked the final question you suggested: “How will your presence change this role and our organization?” I am about to go off and discuss this with the team. I think that it might be the next step in the evolution of our recruitment process!

Since I take recruitment so seriously, I thank you for this insight.


Jon Mertz  |  08 Mar 2012  |  Reply

Thanks for your insights, Peter. Your four key behaviours are interesting and seem spot on in things to consider as you hire people. Getting the culture right is so essential, as well as be open to some change as new people join. Jon

Tufail Shahzad  |  09 Mar 2012  |  Reply

Wonderful!!! Jon, in my view if any business owner read this line “How will the presence of this new person change our organization and this role?” i don’t think he/she must think about it and will change his/her mind of hiring. Our world is still working on a old myth “follow the rules and get your job done”. Orgranizations, small businesses and inviduals still looking to hire Cogs/Machines not “Linchpins” i believe that this article is going to help and also going to change business owner mind.

Jon Mertz  |  12 Mar 2012  |  Reply

Thank you for joining the conversation and for facilitating the changes needed in the workplace. Subtle shifts can make a big difference.

Brian Logue  |  09 Mar 2012  |  Reply

Thank you for this article. It brings to the forefront what is probably in the back of the mind of many enlightened hiring managers and talent acquisition professionals.

Jon Mertz  |  12 Mar 2012  |  Reply

Thanks, Brian!

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