Don’t Hire a Rock Star When You Need Someone to Sell the Band

You don’t understand it. Six months ago you hired a technical genius to run your Procurement Card office. The woman knew the Procurement Card software backward and forward, and she had experience with your financial database solution. She was a whiz at writing code and promised to instill new ways to link the two systems to provide for maximum efficiency. You were lucky to get her; she’d had her choice of university positions from which to choose.

But now conditions in the office are even worse than they were before you filled the position. The staff constantly fight among themselves, key accounts won’t balance, and now it appears that a user was able to use his procurement card to charge his entire summer vacation to the university. You need to schedule a meeting with your new Director of Procurement. It won’t be a pleasant one, as you may well end up firing her for gross negligence.

Unfortunately, you only have yourself to blame. You were so excited at finding a candidate who possessed such outstanding programming skills that you neglected to remember that there are other competencies involved in managing a financial office. You forgot that the Director of Procurement also needs skills in management, finance, accounting and audit.

Before you even post your higher education job, you need to make a list of all the competencies that are necessary to be successful in the job. Then you rate the candidates on ALL of the competencies. You may have a candidate who achieves an off-the-chart rating in one of the categories, but unless the scores in the other categories are also high, then you do not have the person you need for the job. It’s wonderful to discover a rock star, but only if you need someone to play for the band.

Dindy Robinson is Director of Compensation at Texas Christian University.

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