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How Hiring Managers Can Become 100% Better at Hiring

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It’s easy to become 20% better at anything. Just be more efficient. But if you want to be 100% better you need to totally revamp whatever you’re doing. Since my company is involved with helping hiring managers to become 100% at hiring we start the revamping by defining what 100% better means. Specifically:

  1. Eliminate 50% of all future hiring mistakes by controlling biases and emotions.
  2. Instead of making these mistakes hire people who are fully competent to do the work, are highly motivated to do the work and fit extremely well with the team, the culture and the hiring manager’s style.

With this guideline, here’s how it’s done.

How Hiring Managers Can Become 100% Better at Hiring

  1. Plan ahead. If you don’t know who you’ll be hiring three to six months from now it’s impossible to become 100% better. As part of every budgeting process managers put together an organization chart by position and by salary. Just add in some turnover figures to your new hiring needs and a rough prediction for internal promotions and you have a good enough workforce plan. If you share this with your recruiting team you’ll already be 25% better at hiring.
  2. Define the job before you define the person. Traditional job descriptions are less about the job and more about the person. Flip-flopping this imbalance is essential to become 100% better. So rather than define the skills needed to do the work, start by defining the work that needs to be done as a prioritized list of 6-8 performance objectives. If the hiring manager refuses or can’t do this, he/she will never be 100% better since this has been scientifically proven to be the #1 characteristic of all top hiring managers.
  3. Assess the quality of the person’s results, not the quality of the person. Rather than assess the personal characteristics of the candidate, first evaluate the candidate’s major accomplishments. The simplest way is to use the 1-question performance-based interview. Then compare the candidate’s accomplishments to what you need done. Not surprising but somewhat counterintuitive, if the person has accomplished something comparable in a similar environment, he or she will possess the exact skills and traits you’re seeking.
  4. Emphasize team accomplishments over individual accomplishments. Top technical, strategic or creative people are often assigned to important cross-functional or project teams because of their individual contributor strengths. As you dig into the person’s team accomplishments these strengths will quickly be revealed.
  5. Wait 30 minutes before making any yes/no decision. More hiring errors are made in the first 30 minutes of the interview than any other time. Research has shown that we all look for facts to justify our instant judgment about a person. To counterbalance this, use the first 30 minutes of the interview to prove your instant evaluation is wrong. Winning this simple mind game will prevent many of your future mistakes.
  6. Don’t negotiate the compensation (or anything else for that matter) before the candidate understands the job. When I talk with a candidate about a job I start off by saying, “Let’s ignore the compensation for a bit and explore the chance the job might represent a career move. If so, we can figure out if the final package makes sense.” The point: Changing jobs for a fully-employed and extraordinary person involves a detailed understanding of the job, the opportunity and the circumstances. Preventing this discussion by straining people through some arbitrary and highly negotiable filters is a surefire way to eliminate the best people before you even have a chance to talk to them.
  7. Eliminate gladiator voting by implementing a “Wisdom of the Crowd” approach. Adding up yes/no votes based on a series of short or biased interviews is unlikely to result in an accurate prediction of on-the-job performance. Using a quality of hire talent scorecard where interviewers are assigned a subset of factors to assess will profoundly increase assessment accuracy.
  8. Define quality of hire. Just by defining quality of hire as a series of performance objectives interviewing accuracy will be increased by 25-50%. This is a great way to prevent hiring less qualified candidates who have an abundance of skills and talk a good game, and replace them with people who can actually deliver the results you want.

To be 100% better you need to think differently. This out-of-the-box thinking starts by first recognizing you’re in one. This applies to anyone who wants to be 100% better at anything, including hiring.