About six years ago I was hiring for Live Event coordinators. I had taken the events from 1100 to about 5000 at the time. There was no possible way I could continue to grow the events with the size team that I had.
(Yes that’s me courtesy of Lily Kreitinger. Well, not the hair, but certainly the body.)
I needed to hire some extremely talented folks to be able to take over the tasks required to take us to the next level, which eventually became 11,000 attendees. In the process I found an interesting theme with some of the potential candidates. As I would talk about the immense amount of responsibilities it took to pull off an arena event with thousands of people attending, there was a certain excitement that showed up from time to time.
Now, this wasn’t the excitement I later found in the incredible people that I hired. Instead, it was the excitement to save the day. As I would explain the position and what was required, I would hear the following from many of the candidates:
“I like the high pressure of events.”
“I like to be the one who is able to come in and fix the problems day of.”
“I’m great at putting out fires.”
Over and over I hear people telling me how great they are at fixing the problems day of the event. There’s only one problem with that, I don’t WANT any problems day of the event! I don’t need a hero. If there is a need for someone to swoop in like Spiderman to save the damsel in distress, then that means people are seeing an event that isn’t running as well oiled as I would like it to be!
It means that we have done a terrible job on the front end preparing for thousands of people to show up and have their lives changed. And if we’ve done that so poorly, then there are telltale signs all over that those attendees are able to see. Which means they are now distracted from the message they need to hear, and are focused on how badly we are running the event that we charged them for.
What I needed was team members who spent all of the front side time focused on doing everything possible to make the event experience incredible and flawless. I needed people that if they did their job right, none of the attendees knew they existed. If that happened, then our MAIN goal of presenting sensitive information in a potentially troubled personal time was accomplished.
My goal was to change lives, not allow someone to feel fulfilled by slacking off on the job so they could look like a hero day of the event. Thank God I was able to find people to help me do just that. People whose heart was to create an unforgettable experience for every attendee possible. And that’s what took us to over 11,000 attendees.
So the next time you’re hiring for a position, and the candidates’ sound more like super heroes looking for a place to land, you just might reconsider what it is you’re hiring for.
Question: What outcomes have you seen from hiring people with the wrong motivation?