The military carefully screens and selects recruits.

Of course every business does this too, but the military goes further by sending their recruits to boot camp.

Boot camp is both a training and screening process. People will fail boot camp for all sorts of reasons. Military boot camp is by design a stressful environment. If a recruit cannot handle the stress of boot camp, they are unlikely to handle the high demands and expectations of military life, much less could they handle the stress of combat.

Now, does this mean your business should have a “boot camp too”? It’s actually a great idea if you design it the right way. I don’t mean you have drill instructors shouting at your recruits or crawling through the mud. What I mean is you set up a simulated work environment and you observe them in this environment for a time. If you design your boot camp to both train and further screen your newcomers, you’ll enjoy a better quality workforce at the bottom rungs.

Indeed, a lot of organizations do have a boot camp of sorts. They may call it something else, like “orientation” but it’s still a training and screening process. To be most effective, there should be some sort of relevant test or evaluation. If they can’t or won’t pass, then you’ll want to let them go. You need to have real and relevant standards by which to measure people. Those standards should include technical, people, and character skills. In other words, plant a temptation and see how they respond. It is much cheaper to invest in this process than to have bad apples poisoning your workforce before you’ve had time to fire them.

Businesses just might think this is too costly to do. Actually, many businesses are losing a lot of revenue due to poor fits and turnover. If creating a simulated environment is too much, then have a six month probation or internship period where they are hired on a temporary basis. It’s important that this person is assigned to a mentor who will give them daily feedback. Some people may not seem right at first, but learn very quickly and become a great fit. Others may seem like a great fit at first, but learn slowly and you realize they are not a very good fit at all.

I have found this to be true with military recruits. Some unlikely people turn out to be great, while others who seemed great for the military turn out to be duds. You really cannot tell until they are in the job, and have had the benefit of good mentoring and training.

By the way, if you expect to hire people who can hit the ground running with absolutely no mentorship and training, you are likely to be disappointed. You will spend way too much time finding the right fit, and then that person may simply leave or not be right for your businesses after all.

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