Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I'm dating again.

No, it's not what you think. Jase and I are doing just fine, thank you.

It's the other kind of dating---aka professional recruitment. Am launching two businesses (at the same time), and, if I could only find the right people, I'd be in 'in business' by now. It's harder than finding the right girlfriend, boyfriend, companion, mate, or spouse. Because, unlike THAT kind of dating, in business, when it's love at first sight, that's usually a yellow flag for me, if not an outright red flag, in the process of building a business team.

Of course, like you do, I prefer working with people I enjoy, especially in a start-up when I'm going to be joined at the hip with my team-mates for quite some time to come. I am willing to work with the A-list candidate who doesn't sit well with me on a personal level. Building a business team is an altogether different challenge, and one where judgment can be easily clouded by affection. Well, at least, there's no sex by the third date, usually...(joke !)

Whenever I recruit professionals for clients' companies or businesses I start on my own, I encounter the mysterious quality of 'fit' that's hard to define. Some people say they know it when they see it. I don't. It takes a while, sometimes half a dozen meetings, breakfasts, dinners, etc. for me to peel back the layers of someone else's charm and experience (as well as my own) to get a deeper understanding of the person's strengths and weaknesses. Much is revealed, and especially about what is 'needed' vs. what is 'wanted'.

The need to be rigorously self-aware comes into play. Once upon a time, when I felt someone was pushing my hot buttons (or disappointing me in an interview) and I was becoming annoyed, I'd often take a pass and move onto the next candidate. These days, when that occurs, I take the time to pause and reflect, and, often, with highly qualified people, I discover the opportunity to see the person, myself, and the elusive 'fit' in a whole new light. To borrow from a spiritual notion, each person sent my way has something to teach me, to help me refine my ideas of the job and the right candidate for it, and to help me learn about myself in the project.

Trusted friends and colleagues are a must. Those that know me well usually know better than I whether job candidates will work well with me. As in most important aspects of my life, I couldn't do any of it without the support and eye-openers from others.

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