Truth Is Just Perception

The Hiring Lesson Of Steve Wynn

Steve Wynn, the casino magnate, explained his hiring philosophy during a speech given at a jeweler conference held in one of his properties in Las Vegas:

We are all in the same business. We both cater to people who have a choice. It is not about offering top-price; it is about offering quality and service.

We recruit our people for personality. We look for the people person, with innate warmth, sweetness and intelligence. These are the people who are sending your message out to the customers and potential customers, so we recruit for personality first and foremost.

After that, anyone can learn the job; they can learn the technical aspects, but they can’t learn how to talk to people, how to like people. […]

Keeping customers is about the experience, and the employees control the culture and temperature of the business. Never forget that.

Steve Wynn - (CC) University of Iowa Foundation

Steve Wynn – (CC) University of Iowa Foundation

In the hotel industry, the majority of skills are quicker to learn than in many other businesses. Therefore, all managers and recruiters can’t follow Steve Wynn’s advice. It would be difficult, for example, for an airline to hire a pilot or for a technology company to recruit an engineer based on their personalities and then teach them their trades.

Thus, Steve Wynn’s dictum can’t always be applied at the beginning of the selection process. But it should always be applied, whatever the position being filled, at the end of the recruitment process: If two candidates have similar skills (or even if one has relatively superior skills), you should hire the individual with the personality that best suits your company.

In addition to the exogenous justification (customer satisfaction) highlighted by Steve Wynn, this approach is also motivated by an endogenous reason: The right personality always fuels team spirit whereas the right skills don’t always. And we know that a team is more effective than a sum of individuals.

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