I recently gave a talk called “Firm follows Form”, which will become the subject of an article soon. The central theme of my talk is all about how organisations can no longer be thought in a mechanistic way; and rather must be thought of as living systems or organisms. The idea that you can predict anything about the organisation is false. One of the examples of this is right at the beginning of the ‘user journey’: recruitment. How do you find the right people for the job? It’s not easy these days, with jobs becoming ever more dynamic, with people’s roles being concerned with increasing amounts of variability and the unknown. More careers these days demand increasing amounts of leadership, flexibility, and collaboration. Traditional approaches to recruitment: screening for skills, structured interviews, and tests just don’t cut it. Malcolm Gladwell has written a new book, to be published in November 09 called “Mismatch”, which starts by looking at how basketball and american football’s attempts to predict how good a player will be actually do the opposite: they screen out the best players and suggest hiring the least successful ones, if you look at historical data on who the real stars have been. He goes further and looks at how this problem is not unique to sport, but exists in areas such as law.

So what’s the solution? I’m sure Gladwell will reveal all in his book (Check out his TED video), but I can’t help hoping that approaches like Koda, which use the power of social networks to find people that are highly recommended by their peers are a much better solution, and surely one that helps avoid nepotism on the one hand, but also helps look at past performance and future potential.

I guess, however, if recruitment needs fixing, then surely also how people are nurtured once they get brought into a new company probably needs some work too. That, when I get around to it, will be the subject of another article.