Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Abe, the Recruiter

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Abe, the Recruiter

Article excerpt

THINGS SURE HAVE CHANGED since the 1860s. In the Lincoln White House, the 16th President would personally meet with applicants for federal government positions. We're not sure who the last president was who followed that practice, but today, few, if any, presidents of any large organization meet with every job applicant.

In our cover story this month, we make the case for adopting new approaches and tools to the all-important job of recruitment. The article makes an interesting statement, "Don't just rely on the luck and uncanny people skills of a few good recruiters...."

Luck is never a good thing to rely on, for sure. But we wonder what Lincoln would have said about the rest of the statement. It makes sense in the context of the demands of modern business, but somehow we think he might say that uncanny people skills should be relied on.

By all accounts, Lincoln had such skills, which he used to great advantage. What brought this to mind was a speech about Lincoln's remarkable leadership ability by historian and Pulitzer Prize winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin at the ABA National Conference for Community Bankers last month.

Her excellent presentation suggested this thought: As useful as technology and management science have been, it helps to be reminded that no model or system has yet to outdo the intuition and perception of a truly wise man or woman. Few, of course, are blessed with the perception of a Lincoln, yet even so, there is much to be said for the age-old practice of looking a person in the eye before hiring them, or before sealing a deal, or before trusting your children to their care. It's a uniquely human kind of judgment.

Lincoln, as told in Goodwin's book--Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln--built his cabinet on a remarkable premise: he sought out the very people who had strongly opposed him, because he thought they would be the best for the job, regardless of his personal feelings about them. …

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