Tax deadline looms – how do I know? Each day I pass a large dancing Statue of Liberty waving, and sometimes twirling high in the air, large sign boards at a busy intersection near my home. To be honest, I have no idea what is written on the signs and I’ve never visited the tax preparation service they promote. But no matter how many times I pass this spectacle – I am mesmerized by the sight. Who are these people willing don a milky-green dress and matching spiky crown? Willing to dance, prance and gyrate to a beat heard only by them (though in some cases I’ve noted ear phones discreetly tucked into the costume neckline) disregarding the weather or time of day. Over the course of the day and week, the wearer changes – men, women, black, white, and Hispanic – each transforming into the Statue of Liberty character with varying levels of dance skill and but equally energetic. At first, I could only imagine myself and what it would be like to be inside the costume – feeling hot, tired and embarrassed. On almost any measure, it would be hard to think of a job for which I would be so poorly suited. But these Liberties did not look embarrassed – or remotely out of sorts. In fact, they seemed…well, happy. I’m not sure what hiring process was used to find and slot these dancing Liberties but I have to believe that was qualitatively different than the one used to hire tax preparers.

The lesson for us all? When you have a role to fill:

  • Take time to identify the core competencies unique to the role
  • Develop a hiring process designed to measure those core competencies
  • Hire based on those core competencies

Does this take extra time? Yes. But the result will be an incumbent who has both the skills and temperament to do the job and be happy in the doing.

Don’t have a dancing Statue of Liberty in your neighborhood? You can check out a variety of waving Liberties on Youtube. The last time I looked there were many to choose from – some with more than 8,000 views. Evidence that I’m not the only one who seems mesmerized by the Dancing Liberties.