How do you go about finding the next “Rock Star” to work within your company? Place job ads? Find the best resume? Use your network of professionals? Ask for referrals from your employees or associates?
There are a thousand ways to select people to work within your company. Unfortunately only a few of those ways will get you the best talent. In the next few paragraphs I want to talk about some of the sure-fire ways to find that next superstar.
The Dilemma: Over the course of the last 20 years in my career I have seen so many hiring managers make critical hiring errors. No one is perfect and making the mistakes is not the fault of the hiring manager. Most hiring managers are just following “what has always been done”. Candidates are screened via the resume, they are asked mind-numbingly boring interview questions, and ultimately, moving to hire a person based on the resume and answers to questions like, “Tell about your last supervisor.”
Hiring in this way brings high turn-over, loss of potential revenue, virus-like morale issues, and most important, missing out on someone who has massive positive potential.
Here are a few fixes:
Job Ads: These are a last resort. They are expensive and will most likely bring you all sorts of headaches and wasted time going through un-qualified candidates. We only use these when we have exhausted all other sourcing methods.
When we do run ads, we will write a story not a “job description”. We make it entertaining and non-technical (we leave out the half page of bullet points saying “you need this and that before we will even talk to you”)
Let’s face it, the “best” candidates are not found in the unemployment line. They are happily working somewhere else – go get ‘em!
Resumes: I have met many professional resume writers over the years. They can craft some very elegant and well worded masterpieces. So be careful.
The resume is a valuable source to see the “hard-skills” of candidate. Hard-skills are those measurable items: Degrees, Certifications, Job Tenure, etc. This document should never be used to determine if someone is a fit for your organization or the position you are trying to fill.
When we interview candidates for our clients, we glance at the resume, place it to the side and have a conversation with the candidate – not a series of dry questions that get nowhere. If we do happen to reference the resume our questions might sound something like this: “When you were with Google, what was your biggest success? What were the steps you went through to reach that pinnacle?”
Interviews: These need to contain the million dollar questions. Seriously, if YOU don’t get these questions right, you might make a million dollar mistake with hiring the wrong person. Focus on the conversation side. Pose open-ended questions (those that don’t require a yes or no) to focus on the soft skills of your candidates. Soft skills or those qualities you cannot see – how do they behave, what do they value, and what motivates them to achieve.
We ask questions that focus on leadership, success, failure, desires, goals, hurdles, teamwork, etc. Our questions might look like this: “You mentioned that while you were with Apple, you led a team to create, design, and market the iPad. Walk me through the process you went through. What were some of the challenges, some of the successes – how did you lead others to achieve?”
Some of my favorite questions are those off the wall, unexpected questions: “Why is a manhole cover round?”, “If you were a car, what kind of car would you be and why?” These questions show creativity, social awareness – they really help us see what type of person we are talking to.
During the interviews, we are constantly “reading” the body language, eye movements, hand gestures, any subtle voice changes of our candidates. Investing the time to become aware of what certain movements mean when talking to people has proven to be invaluable to us over the years. The words that come out of the mouth sometimes aren’t true and can be missed, but it is nearly impossible to lie with your movements.
One final note on the interviews: we never reschedule. If we set a time, then we make sure we stick to it. How do you feel when a candidate reschedules? Exactly. If we cannot make it, we find someone on the team who can do the interview. Each of us is trained how to conduct the Performance Interviews, so if one is down, someone else picks up the slack.
Finding the Very Best: Above, I mentioned that ads are our last resort. That is very true. When it comes time to source for our clients, we go to a few places first: Networks, Referrals, Cold Calls, and Traditional Head Hunting. These actions require us to actually “work” for our clients. And that is ok. The results of actually searching instead of sitting back and waiting are so much better. The men and women we place, and those our clients place, stay on the job longer, perform better, and produce more than any other employee.
Think about the process for a second: Referrals are given to us from people we trust. That person is not going to send to us a dead fish. Their reputation is in play. Same with Networking. Cold Calls and Headhunting, we get to speak to Rock Stars in their “zone” on our terms. With ads, we don’t get to do that.
Some Tools of the Trade: Performance interviews are not the end-all. You need a few more tools to find the Rock Star. We use three: Performance Based Job Description, Ideal Candidate Profile, and Personality Assessment.
The Performance Based Job Description is a short, clear document used to give the candidate a clear path to success as well as give the company some accountability tools – which are critical in the on-boarding process. This document has 10-15 specific duties or roles this position is responsible for during the course of their day-to-day life. It also includes clear measurable outcomes the candidate is responsible for achieving.
The Ideal Candidate Profile lists out the Hard and Soft Skills required of the candidates to be successful within the role of this position. We have two sections on this document, “The Ideal” and “The Essential”. We never hire anyone who does not meet the at least the essential skill sets.
We use the Assessment to measure and match the Soft Skills of the candidate to the Ideal Candidate Profile soft skill section. Again we are looking for behaviors, values, and motivators that are required to be successful within this career path.
The above information is just a small portion of how we go about finding Rock Stars. We could seriously write about 900 pages on this topic.
If you are having issues with finding the right people, controlling turnover, lifting morale, low production – reach out to us and let’s start a conversation to see if we might be a fit for your company.