How to Hire the Right People

People & Culture

Filling a position is like taking a multiple choice exam. If you don’t study and prepare, you are likely to get some of the answers correct just from guessing. The same can be said for hiring. If you don’t prepare before you start recruiting, you may get lucky and find a good person. More than likely though, you are going to fall short and hire the wrong person.

However, what happens when you do the homework and really prepare for the exam? You are likely going to get an “A”. Same goes for hiring… you are likely going to get an “A” player.

What is an “A” player? An “A” player is a high performer, someone in the top 10% of talent available for any job, at a given salary level.

Many managers don’t prepare before hiring, and as a result, hire the wrong people. The cost of that can be astronomical. According to Topgrading Inc, the average cost of a mis-hire is 8-15 times the individual’s base salary.

So how do you hire the right person, the perfect fit for your role and organization?

There are many views and steps on how to hire the “Right” person for a position. Write accurate job descriptions, ask the right questions in an interview,  post jobs in the right place, and define your company culture. All very important and necessary steps to finding an “A” player. Then why are there still so many mis-hires? The answer is because these are only the first steps and don’t truly prepare you… in other words, you didn’t study the right material for the exam.

Here’s how you avoid those bad hires and get the right people 90% of the time.

Create detailed job description AND measures of success

Let’s start with developing proper job descriptions. This is critical. However, most hiring managers stop at the job description and don’t define how those responsibilities are going to be measured. These are the specific measures of success for the role that are essential for finding the right person. It is called a Scorecard.

Let’s take a Sales Rep for example. Most job descriptions will state: must have experience in new business development. Great! That’s a start… Now what is the specific measure of success for that responsibility? How about 25 cold calls per week. Now we actually have a way to measure it. Now that you have the specific measures, you ask questions like:

  • How many cold calls did you do per week in that position?
  • How did you get the contacts?
  • What was your success rate?
  • Walk me through your sales process and give me exact details of how you achieved the results.

You will then ask the same set of questions for each role the applicant had. What am I looking for? PATTERNS OF BEHAVIOUR with measurable results.

Candidate Pool

Post an ad on Indeed or Linkedin or your search engine of choice and you will get candidates. A sea of resumes that you need to sift through in hopes that you may find an “A” player.

Another option is to recruit from your own network. Make a list of “A” players that currently work with you and ask them who they can refer. As well, start an employee referral benefit program. Employees will not put a “C” in front of you at the chance of damaging their own reputation.

Next, go to your personal network and ask the “A” players that you personally know if they can recommend someone. Even if you don’t have a position available at the moment, keep in touch with those contacts.

The next time you have an open position check your referrals. You may have an “A” player ready to go with no time spent on posting and resume screening.

Use a Structured Interview Process

Once you have designed what the responsibilities are AND how the role will be measured, it becomes a lot more clear on what types of interview questions to ask. The key is to find patterns of similar past behaviour with your applicants.

The best process for doing this is to learn “Who – The A Method of Hiring” by Geoff Smart and Randy Street. It’s a 4-step method for hiring the right people with a 90% success rate. The process involves doing your homework!

  • The Screening Interview: A short phone interview to weed out non “A” players.
  • The Who Interview: An in depth look into each position with a focus on finding patterns of behavior.
  • The Focused Interview: It is focused on the outcomes and competencies of the specific measures of success, the Scorecard.
  • The Reference Interview: Test what you learned about the candidate and avoid accepting a candidate’s reference list at face value.

The “Who” methodology is the best recruiting practice out there. It works and can guide you into finding “A” players 90% of the time! It can be wildly successful if you do the homework, stick to the principles and don’t stray back into old habits because it takes less time.

A Recipe for Failure: Blindly using Recruiting Firms

When we hire a recruitment firm, we assume that they know what they are doing as they are supposed to be the expert. That’s why they charge so much for what they do, right?

So often we trust that supposed expertise and hire candidates based on the fact that the recruiter recommended them. We assume that the recruiter has done all of the work ahead of time and properly vetted them. Sadly, that is not the case.

The recruiting industry is not regulated and many of the recruiters are actually unqualified and have no training in recruitment. There are many fabulous recruiting firms out there with qualified people, however, many of them are quite frankly, terrible.

Ask your Recruiter questions before you sign

What is your vetting process?

Can I see your interview questions?

How many people at your agency will interview the candidate before you send them to me?

Who does the reference interview and can I see the questions?

If your recruiter says that their interview questions and process are proprietary….. RUN!!!

If you choose to use a recruitment firm, make sure you follow the same “Who” process as above. Find out ahead of time if they are a “C”. Do your homework and interview your recruiter.

Andrea Roberts, HR + Recruiting

Andrea is a results driven HR Strategist. She believes in eliminating legal risk and getting the right HR processes in place before tackling “the humans”.  She’s also an expert recruiter who specializes in getting the right people in the right seats.  Contact Andrea.

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