Many years ago I worked with LinkedIn on preparing a video highlighting the importance of developing a hiring strategy based on attracting the best rather than one designed to filter out the weak. It turns out that without the right talent strategy it’s not possible to hire more leaders on a consistent basis. Chance, hope, the latest technology or job boards won’t help. While the message in the video is still true today, most people will have some Catch-22 excuse why it won’t work.
Recognize that leaders are people who make things happen. This is true whether the person is in an entry-level position or some critical executive role. These people not only do their jobs well, but they help everyone else become better in the process. They push the envelope. They build strong and diverse teams. They change the way things are done. They don’t make excuses; they just get the job done regardless of the obstacles. They think and act differently. They can see the big picture as well as the critical details needed to achieve success. And they do this consistently, week after week, month after month, year after year.
Hiring these outstanding people takes leadership, too. You can’t hire leaders, regardless of the position, using the same techniques used to hire everyone else. This is especially true now when the demand for great people far exceeds the supply. In this situation, you must discard boring job postings, generic competency models, traditional behavioral interviewing and flawed personality testing and BE DIFFERENT!
We’ve prepared this table below to demonstrate the stark differences between hiring leaders and hiring everyone else. (Contact us if you’d like an interactive version of this table.) This comparison was developed based on years of working with dozens of different companies and hundreds of different leaders and examining what it really takes to hire outstanding and diverse talent on a consistent basis.
Here are the big three standout differences. It turns out if you don’t get these right nothing else really matters.
- The CEO and executive team are all-in on the “Attract the Best” talent strategy and they walk the talk. This message permeates every step in the hiring process throughout the organization and every tactic and change supports this strategy.
- The job is clearly defined as a series of important projects, not just a traditional laundry list of skills, experiences and “must have” generic competencies wrapped in company boilerplate. This is the only way you can differentiate your job and offer someone a true career move rather than an ill-defined lateral transfer.
- The hiring manager is fully engaged and partners closely with the recruiter throughout the process. The best people want to work for leaders and this is the best way a hiring manager can demonstrate that she/he is a leader.
Hiring leaders is no more difficult than hiring everyone else. By spending more time with fewer people it’s possible to improve quality of hire at no additional cost or loss of efficiency. But hiring more leaders must start with the right hiring strategy and changing this requires true leadership, not more excuses.