A Simple Test to Determine If You’re Hiring the Best People

March 16, 2016

If you’re a CEO or a business leader and answer “no” to any of these questions, you’re company is not seeing or hiring the strongest people possible.

  1. Are the quality of people you’re attracting representative of the best people in your target talent market? If not, you’re only hiring the best who apply, not the best available. (We’ll be demonstrating how to make this comparison using LinkedIn Recruiter at our next Performance-based Hiring sneak peek.)
  2. Is the quality of the people responding to your recruitment advertising stronger than the people currently in your company? If not, you’ll never improve quality of hire.
  3. Are you hiring the best of the people you’re attracting? Even if you’re attracting the best but losing too many to better offers or better jobs, you need to redesign all of your downstream interviewing and recruiting processes.

Giving one or more “no’s” to any of these questions reveals fundamental problems in your recruiting and hiring processes. Regardless of fault, here are some things that can be done at your company to get better in just a few months.

1. Make your hiring managers responsible for the people they hire.

If hiring the best is the most important thing any manager can do, it should be number one on their performance reviews.

2. Eliminate competency models, traditional job descriptions and behavioral interviewing.

These are the causes of the problems, not the solution. If the OD, legal or compliance departments challenge this point, have them read the The End of Average by Harvard professor and this whitepaper by Littler Mendelson’s top labor attorney. They’ll discover these tools, at best, only minimize errors, not raise quality of hire. At worst, they prevent the best people, including all diversity candidates and those with a different mix of skills and experiences, from being considered.

3. Define the job as a series of performance objectives, not a bunch of skills.

In a talent scarcity situation few top people are interested in doing more of the same. They are however, interested in doing work that has more impact, more stretch, more growth and more satisfaction than the work they’re now doing. Better: they don’t need a big salary increase to make the switch.

4. Rethink sourcing from Z to A.

You don’t need lots of people to make one great hire. Ten to fifteen strong passive prospects is more than enough for any job as long as you know how to recruit these people. It’s better to spend more time with fewer people, rather than building big pools of skills-qualified candidates.

5. Switch to a consultative recruiting process .

The measure of success for hiring the best people is not speed, scale or efficiency, it’s quality of hire . It takes hours spread over a few weeks to convince a top person to change jobs. A key part of this is not negotiating the terms of the offer or filtering people on money and skills, before the prospect understands the career opportunity.

6. Assess people you don’t know the same way you promote people you do.

Since we promote people we know based on their past performance and potential, why do we first screen people we don’t know on their level of skills and experiences and hire them on their personality and presentation traits?

7. Integrate your hiring, on-boarding and performance management system into a seamless process.

It’s a recognized science that clarifying expectations up front is the primary driver of job satisfaction and performance. By defining the work as a series of performance objectives pre-hire, this same information can be used to attract, assess, on-board and manager the person once hired. It’s that easy.

It’s likely that a “no” to any of the three questions above indicates HR is solving the wrong problem. Consider Harvard professor Theodore Levitt’s famous quote to help rethink this problem, “People don’t want quarter inch drills, they want quarter inch holes.”

For hiring, Levitt would likely summarize the problem with something like, “People are not trying to fill the job with the best person who applies, they’re trying to hire the best person available.” Given this point of view, forget about improving the applying part, instead work on finding a few very talented people on LinkedIn and recruit them. That would be Levitt’s solution to improving quality of hire at your company. It should be yours, too. 

*Image by Kit

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