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The Context for Good Hiring Practices

Thanks to Barry Deutsch of IMPACT Hiring Solutions my Vistage CEO group understands that adopting good hiring practices is just as important now, when many companies are thinning ranks, as it is when the economy is growing. This recession may actually be an opportunity for small and mid-size companies to make the tough choices to upgrade their management talent. As larger corporations engage in massive layoffs quality talent is becoming available. The concept is to build your team in such a way that it becomes a competitive advantage - your people are simply more productive, more creative and more resourceful than the competition's. So when the tide starts rising again, your team will be able to take advantage of the opportunities. The following represent some of Barry's ideas to help you hire effectively.

The Basics

The key to good hiring is to build a well defined repeatable process which includes defining success for each position, sourcing candidates, effective interviewing and thorough validation.

Defining Success

Barry suggests companies let go of traditional job descriptions which focus on skills and experience of the candidate. Instead CEO's need to define the specific results they're looking for. What are the factors that will define success for the open position? In fact, this is a useful activity whether a position is open or not. Examples of success factors might include increasing sales by 15% within twelve months, increasing on time deliveries within 9 months, or decreasing the dead on arrival shipments within three months. Most positions will have three to six success factors.

Two Sourcing Ideas To Hire Top Talent

  1. Build a "Compelling Marketing Statement" that includes:
    • A bold and striking title
    • A compelling vision for your company
    • The success factors which you defined in the first step of the hiring process
  2. Use a multi-level approach
    • Take advantage of employee referrals. Most companies do not tap into the people who know the company culture the best and who will best fit. Shoot for 50% of your hires from employee referrals.
    • Use the online job boards including both generic sites and specialty trade sites. If you don't get a response - rewrite your Compelling Marketing Statement
    • Share the Compelling Marketing Statement with your network.

Effective Interviewing

The opportunity for most companies to improve their interviewing is to get beneath first impressions and basic likeability - "He seems like a good guy" to real meaningful information in five core areas that are important to most executive level jobs:

  1. Initiative - Do they go above and beyond?
  2. Execution - Do they consistently hit goals within time and budget?
  3. Leadership - What have they done to hire and retain top talent that executes flawlessly?
  4. Success Factors - What have they done in previous roles that demonstrate their ability to achieve the success factors you've created for the position?
  5. Adaptability - How will they fit in your culture?

Three Interviewing Tips

  1. Prepare for the interview - have your questions written down in advance so that you can focus on the candidate's responses and not get distracted by trying to read the resume and formulate questions during the interview.
  2. Don't just accept candidate responses. Ask for specific examples: "Can you give me an example of when you....increased sales?" Then dig some more. "What was your role?", "What decisions did you have to make?" "What challenges did you deal with?"
  3. Coordinate your interviewing team. All too often companies have a candidate interview with 3 or 4 people who all ask the same questions. Split up the areas of focus and compare notes against a pre-established rating scale for the five core areas and other areas of interest.

Last but not least....

Remember to do background checks in all of the locations where a candidate has lived. It's a low cost but important source of information to avoid unfortunate surprises. Good luck with building your hiring process and check out Barry's website to find more free resources.

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