Top Secret Hiring Tips from Facebook, Amazon and 3M

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HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Monday, October 7, 2019

Hiring the best and brightest isn’t always easy in competitive industries, but some of the biggest businesses in the world could teach us all a few lessons about how to hire top talent.

Article 3 Minutes

Hiring the right people plays an important role in ensuring the success of any company. This is something that every top business takes incredibly seriously, and with good reason. People are the bedrock every strong organization is built upon, so understanding what it takes to make a positive hiring decision is essential.

You might not be as well-known or as large as some of the biggest names in your sector, but here we look at a few lessons that can be learned from the top performers across a range of industries when seeking out and engaging with the best in their field.

Facebook - consider strengths, creativity and ambition

Obviously, Facebook is one of the biggest names in the tech industry and the company has a reputation for attracting the best and brightest in the sector. That said, with more than 1,000 applications being sent to the company every month, how does Facebook decide who to hire?

Facebook's head of people Lori Goler offers some insight into this daunting task for the tech giant, and explains that, ultimately, it's not simply a candidate's credentials that will land them their dream job, but their character too.

Businesses aiming to hire the best talent must seek to understand:

  • Candidate's strengths
  • Their level of creativity
  • What drives them to succeed - their ambition

The ability to demonstrate positive responses for these three factors is what helps set successful candidates apart from the rest.

Goler surmised that, when identifying the right people to help you move to the next level, in many cases these candidates will demonstrate a powerful will to succeed, be tenacious and have an in-depth understanding of the challenges you face. In short, they’ll be dynamic, ambitious and 'think outside the box'.

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Amazon - all about asking the right questions

Jeff Bezos formed Amazon in 1994 and over the past 25 years, the company has grown to be one of the largest employers in the US - almost 650,000 in 2018. As the saying goes, from small acorns, mighty oaks shall grow, but how did Amazon become such a juggernaut of a business?

The answer undoubtedly lies in Bezos' own visionary leadership, but it also boils down to three simple questions:

  • Will you admire this person?
  • Will this person raise the average level of effectiveness of the group they're entering?
  • Along what dimension might this person be a superstar?

These are the questions he asked himself every time he considered who to hire to help build his business and when asking his staff to do the same.

Asking the right questions is important to determining the right people for your organization, and Bezos believes that any all of Amazon's workers should be someone who others could admire, have the ability to strive to improve the business and who each bring something unique and worthy to the table.

3M - place a strong focus on inclusion

Finally, 3M is one of the world's leading manufacturing businesses and continues to rank as a top employer in a range of disciplines. Indeed, companies wishing to emulate this success and attract the top performers in their field could learn a few lessons from the 3M mindset.

Key to attracting the right talent at 3M is the company's commitment to making inclusion one of its top priorities. The use of resource networks - like the organization's Women's Leadership Forum - help to "strengthen leadership skills and enhance collaboration across cultures, lifestyles and genders," according to Ann Anaya, chief diversity officer at 3M.

Anaya added that the benefit of creating an inclusive, diverse workforce has helped to make the business a far more interesting and enjoyable place to work. In addition, the company has been shown to offer leadership development platforms, workplace flexibility policies and a range of other programs that mean staff are able to develop long-term engagement with the business and feel fully supported throughout their time there. Ultimately, these are seen as some of the key drivers of attracting the best talent to 3M.

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