The Hiring Formula for Success shown in the image above defines all of the factors that best predict on-the-job success. Soft skills top the list.
I think too many people including those in HR, OD experts, hiring managers and recruiters, believe being a good interviewer requires some remarkable insight into human behavior. I think they’re mistaken. There is an alternate path: being a good detective.
Having tracked the performance of thousands of senior professional staff and managers over the past 50 years it turns out it’s not hard to predict who will be successful. All you need to do is ask candidates to describe their major accomplishments most comparable to the key performance objectives (KPOs) of the open job. As long as you dig deep enough the factors shown below will pop out. Consistency is what matters, though, not one-time occurrences. This preview of the Sherlock Holmes deductive interview describes the probing needed to gather this information.
It turns out hiring people who will be in the top half is pretty easy. You just have to stop making hiring mistakes.
The other day a candidate asked me how to figure out if he was qualified for a new role given 15 years of experience with the same company.
It turns out that anyone can be in the top 25% with the right job, the right company, and the right hiring manager. But this is a rare event despite having spent $400-500 billion in job postings and HR tech in the past 25 years in the hope of matching the perfect job with the perfect candidate.
It turns out that hiring outstanding talent on a consistent basis has little to do with your ATS, which job boards you use or the quality of your competency model. The process shown in the image below (PDF version) will give you consistent great results as long as you do these four things first:
The traditional interview process has been shown to be unreliable in predicting job performance, often due to bias, lack of training and a focus on surface-level characteristics. The Performance-based Interview (PBI) is a natural language approach that seeks to assess an individual’s competency, fit and motivation by asking them to describe their past performance in specific situations. Studies have shown that the PBI is a more accurate predictor of job performance than other interview methods, making it a valuable tool for organizations seeking to hire the best candidates. Moreover, the PBI can be used to assess candidates at all levels of experience, making it an ideal method for career development and succession planning.
If you want to hire a great person, you need to offer a great job, not a laundry-list of skills, experiences and competencies that at best is no more than an ill-defined lateral transfer surrounded by some generic boilerplate. This is even more important today with candidates leaving within 90 days after starting if the new job turns out to be more promise than substance (Fortune, May 2022).
The worst question about career goals is something like, “What’s your major career goal for the next five years?”
While it’s hard to believe that a single hiring mistake could cost a company $400 thousand, it’s not so hard to believe when looking at this table showing the incremental profit contribution of employees at these well-known companies. The idea behind this table is that it shows the full financial and business impact a person has on a company, rather than just considering the person’s compensation package.
Few companies calculate the ROI of the effectiveness of their different sourcing channels but those that do discover referrals are the best with job boards generating more mistakes. And the cost of these mistakes is staggering wiping away the benefits of lower cost and speedier hiring.
The primary purpose of this post is to argue that compensation shouldn’t be the primary measure of pay equity. The secondary purpose is..
Leverage: Getting more output with less input.
Leaders are force multipliers who get more done with and through people using some type of magical leverage.
As you’ve discovered if you’d tried to hire any senior level person, the process for hiring leaders for these critical spots is much different than hiring everyone else for this one simple reason:
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.
In a post earlier this year I claimed that too many people change jobs for all the wrong reasons. Most often it’s for the stuff at the bottom of the “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Hiring Needs” graphic above, rather than the stuff at the top. Unless they’re (very) lucky, the result is always disappointment, dissatisfaction and regret.
LEADERS: The strongest people are easy to spot. They’re leaders. Leaders don’t just do their jobs reasonably well; they improve how they do their jobs. And whether they’re managing a team or not, they also help everyone they work with do their jobs better, too. You can use this Performance-based Interview to determine if your candidates are leaders, or not.
In my semi-retired state, I’ve decided to give away my best secrets for recruiting and hiring the top 25% with a new type of training program. Many of them are highlighted in the infographic above. You’ll be able to learn and apply them all just by reading Hire with Your Head (4th ed, Wiley. September 2021) and becoming a participating member of our virtual book club.
One of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is “Begin with the end in mind.” This is great advice whenever implementing any type of process improvement program especially changing how hiring is done at your company. “Think win-win” is another one of Covey’s seven habits. When it comes to hiring, this habit is doubly important. It means ensuring the new hire and the hiring manager both recognize the importance of making the right decision and both have all of the information needed to make the right one. Due to its importance this habit has been adopted as the overriding goal and theme of the new edition of Hire with Your Head and rightly called “Win-Win Hiring.” It means hiring for the anniversary date rather than the start date.
It doesn’t take much research to figure out that for candidates who are hired primarily for their hard skills when they underperform it’s most often due either to their lack of soft skills, team skills or an inability to work with their hiring manager. These problems can be avoided by changing how candidates are assessed with more focus on the context of the job and the fit factors, not just their technical competency. The “how to do this properly” is fully covered in the 4th edition of Hire with Your Head (Wiley & Sons, September 2021) but the theme of hiring for the anniversary date, rather than the start date, is the real purpose of the book. This is called Win-Win Hiring.
This chapter is about controlling interviewer bias. It is the most important chapter in the book since more hiring mistakes are made due to bias than any other cause. In fact, if you read only this chapter before conducting another interview and use these techniques for overcoming bias, you’ll reduce you’re hiring mistakes by at least 50%. (See graphic below.)
Simply put, if you describe work as a series of performance objectives rather than a list of skills, experiences and competencies you can attract a broader pool of more diverse and high potential talent.
As part of the fourth edition of Hire with Your Head (Wiley, September 2021) we’re starting a unique book club for those who pre-order the book. Over the next several weeks I’ll be highlighting different themes from the book. This week focuses on the idea of hiring for the long-term rather than the start date in order to achieve consistent Win-Win Hiring outcomes.
The fourth edition of Hire with Your Head (Wiley, September 2021) will soon be published. As part of the unique book club we’re putting together for those who pre-order the book program, I’ll be selecting different sections of the book to highlight. The opening of the book makes the case that most hiring problems are strategic in nature, so I’ll start there.
On September 22, 2021, the 4th edition of Hire with Your Head will be published by John Wiley & Sons. As part of the totally revised edition, I reviewed some of my favorite posts from the past few years and incorporated them in the new book. The following is a slight rewrite of one that appeared on LinkedIn’s Talent Blog a few years ago.
Make sure you read “15 Ways to Hack-a-Job” if you’re starting to think about changing jobs. Here are 107 other job posts for job seekers that will guide you step-by-step through ensuring you compare offers properly especially how to negotiate compensation. You’ll find the condensed version in The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired.
Lists of the most common interview questions—10, 20, 50, even 150 questions—are all over the Internet. Many of these lists are intended for conscientious job-seekers who want to ace their interviews. Unfortunately, that also means that answers to these questions are endlessly rehearsed by candidates. On top of that, answers to many of these questions […]
First impression bias is the primary cause of most hiring mistakes. Why? Because when we feel good about someone right away, we tend to ask easier questions. And when we feel negative right away, we ask more difficult questions. In other words, we look (often subconsciously) to confirm our first impression.
As part of the launch of the 4th edition of Hire with Your Head (Wiley, September 2021) we’ll be hosting a number of interactive webcasts where we work through active search projects using the principles of Performance-based Hiring as a foundation. We’ll be demonstrating this idea at our next webcast with a focus on what recruiters need to do to connect with outstanding and diverse talent who are in high demand. The key to success here is to start with the right hiring strategy that maps to how these people look for new jobs.