We Found a Rock Star!
Hiring the Best of the Best
By Lonnie Pacelli
I feel your pain on this issue.
#1: You’ve got a
critical position that needs to be filled by a qualified candidate,
and quick. For every day
the position doesn’t get filled, your in-box fills up a bit more
with work to be done because your unfilled position hasn’t been
staffed. You see tons of
resumes and have interviewed scores of candidates, but the rock star
you’re looking for isn’t emerging.
You refuse to “settle” for a mediocre candidate, but the
work is piling up and you’ve got to do something.
#2: Three months ago you
thought you had the perfect candidate for a job and decided to hire
him. You negotiate a
compensation package, relocate the candidate, and do some internal
public relations work with the team.
Two months after the candidate hit the job, you realize that
your candidate was a PURE (previously undetected recruiting error);
the candidate had a major issue with responding to pressure and would
become rude and angry with peers, employees, and customers whenever
the heat was turned up. You’re
now faced with either making a massive investment in the person or
making a job change. Not a
the right candidate for a job can be highly frustrating for both
managers and recruiters. If
you wait too long, the work will keep piling up and your management
may start thinking you can get along without the position.
Pull the trigger too soon and you risk hiring a candidate that
is a PURE. There are
legitimate situations where it just takes a long time to find a
suitable candidate. You
need to minimize the situations where you either hire the wrong
candidate or take forever to find the right one.
Here are some simple techniques to help you find that rock star
for your organization:
Know what you are looking for: Sounds
pretty basic, but I have been amazed at how frequently managers dust
off a job description that hasn’t been changed in years to use as
the basis for hiring a new employee.
Hiring to an out-dated job description can lead to ineffective
resume screening and poor-fit candidates.
Give the job description a good working over and ensure the
skills documented in the job description accurately reflect what
you’re looking for.
Use multiple interviewers who can focus on different skills: Based
on the job description, your candidate may need a combination of
functional, technical, leadership, and people skills.
A candidate who may be a technical wiz may also have the people
skills of a head of lettuce. Use
trusted interviewers who have expertise in each area of focus and ask
them to drill the candidate for their respective area to ensure the
total skills package is there.
Look beyond the obvious: One
of my best hires several years back didn’t meet the stereotypical
requirements of the job, but had some outstanding core skills that
were easily translatable to the new job.
Had I stuck with my mental image of what I was looking for, I
would have rejected the candidate during the resume screening process.
If your job for a procurement analyst requires strong
analytical skills, consider looking at candidates from other
functional disciplines, i.e. finance, to fill the role.
I’ve continually been amazed the number of times
“out-of-the-box” candidates have become rock stars.
Don’t limit yourself to candidates with stereotypical
Get a glimpse into critical thinking skills – Okay, so you’ve
probably heard about the “why are manhole-covers round” type of
questions and may be chuckling at the prospect of asking a candidate
such an off-the-wall question. The
truth is, critical-thinking questions are a great way to understand
how a candidate thinks through problems, how they respond to pressure,
and how quick-on-their-feet they can be.
I’ve changed my hiring decision (both ways) based upon the
critical question I asked during the interview.
A great approach to this is to think about your own business
and create some hypothetical questions, i.e. if you’re an automobile
manufacturer ask the candidate how they would design a car that gets
200 miles per gallon. Think
about the “tough questions” you can ask and observe your candidate
as they wrestle with their response.
Get a hundred-day plan from the candidate – Wondering what a
candidate would do when they land on your doorstep?
Ask them! During
your final selection process, ask each of your candidates to put
together a hundred-day plan of what they are going to get accomplished
during their first hundred days on the job.
This technique is very effective in assessing how a candidate
will take the ideals discussed during the interview process and put
them to action if they were to be hired.
Give peers and candidate’s prospective employees a voice – A key
aspect of a candidate’s fit potential is how they will get along
with peers and, if the candidate will be managing people, his or her
prospective employees. You
may have a functional and technical maestro but if he doesn’t have
the teaming or collaboration skills you might be creating a mess for
yourself and the team. Just
be cautious to get a cross-section of opinions; you don’t want to
base team chemistry decisions on just one person’s viewpoint.
stars are out there and can be delivering value in your organization;
just make sure you keep focus on some of these basic hiring strategies
and you’ll get the best of the best driving results for you.
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