It’s been said that President-elect Trump’s administration will be one of the most unpredictable in recent memory. The President-elect, as a candidate, has departed from standard conservative political orthodoxy on a number of occasions. And the way he has gone about assembling his future cabinet when he takes office is no different.
So what can we learn about recruiting from Trump? By examining how Trump chose the next Secretary of State, we can determine three smart recruiting principles that can benefit top executives.
Lesson #1: Don’t Disqualify Candidates Because of Past Differences
President-elect Trump had several critics during the campaign both from within and outside the Republican Party. Among those within his own party was Mitt Romney. Despite this, President-elect Trump made Romney a finalist for the most prized cabinet position of all, Secretary of State. It was somewhat reminiscent of the “Team of Rivals” approach President Abraham Lincoln employed when he created his cabinet.
Trump ultimately didn’t pick Romney, but he showed that past differences should not sideline a potential candidate for consideration if he is qualified and fits the bill.
Lesson #2: Think Outside the Box
ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson is a giant in his industry. But he is not a diplomat or a politician. Despite this, President-elect Trump ended up choosing him for Secretary of State. For many, this may appear as an odd choice since a CEO has never filled the position before.
But sometimes, it pays to radically depart from the script. Tillerson may not have diplomatic experience, but he brings a skill set and a list of contacts never before seen in the Secretary of State’s office. This is a bold pick with the potential for a significant payoff.
Lesson #3: Friendship Shouldn’t Trump Choosing the Best Candidate
President-elect Trump had very vocal supporters in both former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie during the election campaign. Both were widely perceived to be contenders for major cabinet posts. Ultimately, however, neither received a job.
The lesson? Don’t hire someone for the wrong reasons. Loyalty is an asset, but it shouldn’t be the only determining factor in a recruitment search. Remember to always keep these three principles in mind the next time you are looking for the best candidate.