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Business Is Boring #29 – Dale Clareburt on why hiring for culture trumps hiring for skills

‘Business is Boring’ is a weekly podcast series presented by The Spinoff in association with Callaghan Innovation. Host Simon Pound speaks with innovators and commentators focused on the future of New Zealand, with the interview available as both audio and a transcribed excerpt.

Perhaps the most important thing in a company’s success is hiring the right people. But hiring is hard. People are literally pretending to be better than they are and interviews bring out what people think others want to hear. What if there was a tool that helped the hiring process by getting to the real values, feelings, and traits of a person? Well, you might have guessed, there is. It is called Weirdly and it’s a fast-growing app going through all the challenges and highs that a fast-growing app does, with budgets and funding and finding a market and inventing the world as they go. Their CEO Dale Clareburt, an experienced recruitment leader, has been helming this journey for more than two years, and joins us now.

Either download (right click to save), have a listen below, subscribe through iTunes or read on for a transcribed excerpt.

Does it help to have the pressure of having to do everything at once in a start-up?

I think it does because it forces you to focus on the right things. You don’t have a lot of money and with that money you’ve got to be really careful with the decisions that you make but you also need to be fast. So you learn really fast as well. But also I think that there is still this expectation which is unrealistic at times. The expectation is that you work on this and do nothing else. That this comes before everything in your life because it seems that that’s the only way to build the business. It’s not a nine to five job. You don’t get weekends, you don’t get holidays. It;s a way of life and it;s a way of living.

It’s kind of fetishised, people worked so hard that they invented food that isn’t really food so they wouldn’t have to stop working. It’s totally fetishised and it’s not sustainable.

I don’t know, it’s been going on for a little while now. I don’t think it’s sustainable if you mind in the way you choose to live your life, if you’re going to fight against it all the time. There’s a lot of conversation around what balance is for different people and there seems to be a view that the right balance is to spend time with friends and family when you’re supposed to and work only these hours and, you know, look at health and wellbeing. For myself personally, the more work I have on, the happier I am. And I like stress and I look for it. I like to overload myself and that’s when I work best, and that’s my balance. But my balance isn’t the same as someone else’s balance.

When I was in the corporate world there’s this view when you’re working for other people that being seen at your desk at 7:30am and being the last one at your desk is good. I don’t think that view is the same anymore. And I don’t think that’s a fair or realistic view. But I think if you’re the kind of person that wants to work really long hours, that’s fine. But if you’re not and you don’t need to then you shouldn’t. There was a lot of being seen to be working hard. Start-up life isn’t like that.

One of the beautiful things is that everything’s measured and there’s no way to bullshit measures either. So it doesn’t matter how many hours you put in if you’re not getting the results. And if you’re getting the results, the hours are not the factor.

But in the corporate world that view still matters. People still believe that the longer you work, the better you are. The smarter you work is really the way to go, and some business owners don’t see that yet.

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