Why and How LinkedIn Can Bring More Than Just Top Talent To Your Company

LinkedIn is one of the social media sites that may be as misunderstood as Twitter. CEOs and key executives constantly ask me why they should be using either one. They haven’t been able to grasp the impact these tools can have on their company. The CEO or key executive doesn’t have to actually use either of them, but they should at least encourage the use by the appropriate people in their organization.

LinkedIn is more than just social networking like Facebook. I think of Facebook as a personal social site and LinkedIn as the business people's social site. LinkedIn and Facebook serve different purposes.

Unlike Facebook which hides a lot of information about the person, unless you are directly connected, LinkedIn profiles are pretty much open for everyone to review. Granted the person controls what information they chose to display, but whatever they decide it is open to just about everyone. This is actually a good thing.

Since most profiles on LinkedIn are about the person’s professional background it really isn’t too much different than posting one’s resume online. This opens up a whole new way to use LinkedIn to benefit your company.

Here are some examples:

Hiring. Why pay thousands of dollars to Monster, CareerBuilder or The Ladders in order to have access to their resume databases? If you are seeking a professional person chances are very high you can locate them on LinkedIn. You can review their background, experiences, accomplishments, awards, education and so on,  for free or a small monthly fee.

In addition you can connect to references, view a list of people with similar backgrounds, identify people in your industry or even specific companies. LinkedIn has provided you and your hiring team not only with a wealth of people, but also given you an enormous amount of information on this person.

Reference Checking. We hear this all the time, people won’t give you references unless they know they will give a good reference. OK, so now you have a way of getting your own references.  LinkedIn allows you to find people based on companies. LinkedIn will give you list of people that have worked at a specific company and those currently working at the company. Now you have a list of people independent from the ones the candidate provided you.

Customer Leads. Cold calling has never been the best way to access a company. With LinkedIn your sales people can now develop warm leads. Your salesperson can identify a potential customer, find who else in their network has contacts within the company or better yet knows the person your salesperson wants to meet and ask for an introduction. How about asking if they would set up a lunch with the potential customer? This is a powerful tool few sales people use.

Vendors. What a great way to pre-qualify vendors. Go on LinkedIn look for people that have left the company and connect with them. You may learn some things the salesperson will never tell you. Granted, depending on the person the information could be biased. That works both ways. As with all information the person collecting the information will have to filter it as they see fit. But I submit having it and ignoring it is better than not having it at all.

Affiliations. Another tool that helps identify potential companies to affiliate with. This is a great way to be introduced to someone you hope to develop a professional business relationship. Often contained within the profile are recommendations that may help you decide if this is the right company to work alongside.

Open Jobs. A component of hiring but this has a different spin. The ability to post open positions  for free or low cost. With LinkedIn groups you can post a job for free and have hundreds of thousands of people be aware of it. In addition, for a reasonable fee you can target specific people, with specific backgrounds, in specific industries only. So you don’t receive hundreds of unqualified resumes.

International Contacts. LinkedIn is a global site. If you are seeking contacts or considering doing business in a foreign country, LinkedIn may provide the contacts you need to get started. If your company is considering coming to the USA, the level of contacts available to you in just about every business sector is well worth your time to check out.

I could continue, but if I haven’t convinced by now why go on. Even if these reasons don’t work for your company, think beyond the specifics above. Think about how these resources can be utilized in your company. That is the real value of LinkedIn. It opens up so many opportunities that have not been available in the past.

I would encourage everyone to be active on LinkedIn. The benefits far out weigh any drawbacks.

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, You’re NOT The Person I Hired. Just CLICK HERE  and under the FREE Hiring Resources section you can download our free eBook.

Retaining your best talent is always the best thing any company can do. Download our FREE Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognitions Matrix. It will help you retain your best people without additional compensation. CLICK HERE to download under the Free Resources section.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad

 

“She Seemed Perfect For The Position.” What Went Wrong?

These are the exact words of a CEO I was recently talking with about a search to replace a candidate they had hired six months earlier and wasn't performing.  The CEO explained how they had spent a lot of time with the candidate, she had multiple interviews, she completed a DISC assessment, and simply put, “We all loved her for the position.” Yet, after all of this effort the person wasn't able to perform.  It all seemed very perplexing.

My partner, Barry Deutsch, and I have heard this same story many times in our  collective 50 years+ as recruiters and in our hiring best practices workshops. One thing we can all agree on is that something went wrong. Although no hiring process in the world will get 100% results, it is possible to raise the hiring accuracy to  the 80% level.  That is pretty good considering studies have shown that traditional hiring methods produce candidates that meet or exceed the hiring manager's expectations around 56% of the time. This shows that something is going wrong with hiring in many companies.

I started by asking two questions to better understand how they went about hiring this “perfect” candidate.

  1. I asked if she would email me the job description. It was very traditional. It was mostly focused on the candidate's background and experience, not the job. In reality it was a people description, not a job description. It had great detail about all of the experience they wanted the person to have, education, years of experience, all the behavioral traits, a very comprehensive list of duties, tasks, and responsibilities, and requirements for management and leadership. Over all it was well thought out and I know they spent a lot of time developing it.
  2. The next thing I asked her was, “Have you audited, not co-interviewed, but audited whether the people in the hiring process are even competent interviewers?” She said, “No.” So another classic problem reared its ugly head. What if just one wasn't competent at interviewing? Interviewing is only as good as the worst interviewer on the hiring team. People often assume that just because a person has hired in the past they must be good interviewers. This is just not true.

It was easy now to identify why this person, that everybody loved, may not have worked out.

  1. The job description didn't really define the real job. It defined a person everyone expected  or thought could do the job, because they had done it before. Not true. Just because someone has done the job before it may make them a great X, but it doesn't make them the right X for your position. This is positively the number one biggest hiring mistake.
  2. The people doing the interviews were not trained and since the job description didn't describe the real job, most just conducted a generic interview. They asked the same questions they were asked in interviews. They assumed what the real job was and asked if the person had ever done these tasks before. Which of course they had, as it was obvious from the resume.  Add to that the likability factor and is it any wonder why this hire went wrong?

If she wants to hire a successful person, the first step is defining success in the role. Few job descriptions actually do this. Most define a person's background and experience along with the very basic duties and tasks. Neither of which define success. If the person only performed the listed duties and tasks most would not consider this a top talent hire. She had to define outcomes. What level of performance is this person going to be held accountable to? Even the basic duties have an expected level of high performance. For example, process X number of invoices per hour, make X number of sales call per week, receive a score of X or higher on customer feedback forms, respond to all customers within 24 hours, and so on. Now this defines performance and success.

Then she had to develop interviewing questions that determine the person's ability to deliver this level of success. Now the people interviewing are actually interviewing with a purpose. Not just a free for all. Everyone understands what  the goals are and what questions to ask. It is not random. The people interviewing are now focused on determining the candidate's ability to deliver these results.

Finally, the candidate also knows what will be expected of them when they come on board. In some cases this will scare off those good solid below average performers. Once they know what is expected of them they may not want the job. This is a good thing.

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, You’re NOT The Person I Hired. Just CLICK HERE  and under the FREE Hiring Resources section you can download our free eBook.

Retaining your best talent is always the best thing any company can do. Download our FREE Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognitions Matrix. It will help you retain your best people without additional compensation. CLICK HERE to download under the Free Resources section.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad

 

Most Company’s Hiring Process Is Not A Process

We find that this occurs because the hiring process really isn't a process in many companies. Many hiring processes tend to be random and with incompetent, untrained people. This is not a knock on the people, it is just a fact. So why do companies expect hiring to be accurate and to attract top talent with a random or unstructured  process?

I know this sounds so obvious. Come on, who in their right mind would expect any business process to be reliable if it  produced expected results only 56% of the time.  A company wouldn't allow it. They would fix the process or shut it down. Would any company have incompetent or untrained people processing incoming checks with unstructured procedures? Lose just one check and everything stops, procedures and controls are assessed, people are retrained or fired, and the CFO personally oversees that it never happens again.

This is true with most processes except hiring. Most companies accept a high failure rate. Why any company accepts this is beyond me when this can be improved with some relatively easy fixes.

The fact is that most hiring managers have little or no training on interviewing and hiring. Many only do it once or twice a year. So even if they have some training, by the time they hire someone they have forgotten most of the training. There are no college level courses focused on hiring. Most people learn on-the-job. One day they are an individual contributor and the next day they are promoted to a manager and told to hire their replacement. So how did this person become competent at hiring overnight?

This new hiring manager is going to hire the way they were hired. This new manager will follow the same methodology whether it is good or bad. Where do you think this person will get the interviewing questions  to ask the candidates? Generally, from the people who hired them. And where do you think the person who hired them got their interviewing questions? And so on, until we finally hit Moses.  Many hiring processes have not really changed with the times. We call this “tribal hiring.”  It is just passed down from generation to generation.

The fact is that this new hiring manager is not prepared for hiring.  Another fact is that people often assume that because someone has hired a lot of people, that  makes them good at hiring even though no one has validated the performance of those hires.

For any process to work it has to repeatable, be structured, have competent people, and have some measurement of accountability so when things go wrong (and they always will) one can identify the problem and fix it. In my thirty years as a recruiter and 15 years helping companies implement a structured process I have yet to find a company that does this.

In fact, I have seen only a few companies that include hiring top talent as part of their performance management system. Why not hold managers accountable for poor hires the same way companies do for other poor performance? At least this would begin to establish a process where a company can identify those  managers that need training, so they can become better at  hiring.

There are at least five distinct steps to an effective hiring process. These steps have to be repeatable,  with competent people and accountability to correct and improve the process. For many companies this falls to HR. However, since the vast majority of companies don't have an HR department, then it has to fall where everything else in an organization should fall, with the CEO.

The five critical steps are:

  1. A job description that  defines the expected standards of top performance for the position. Not the standard job description that defines a person's background and lists the basic duties, tasks and responsibilities. The candidate should already know all of these. Maybe companies should ask the candidate to prepare a job description just to see if the candidate knows the job.
  2. A sophisticated sourcing plan that will attract top performers that are not actively looking for a position, but are open to a compelling opportunity.
  3. Probing interviews with competent people doing the interviewing that tests the candidate's ability to the job BEFORE you hire them. This means that the candidate must be able to explain exactly how they will deliver the performances standards defined in the job. They must detail how they will do these in your company, with your resources, within your culture and your budget, with your management style, with your customers, and with all of the the things that make your company different.
  4. There must be proper feedback or discussion of the candidate's ability to do the job  immediately after the candidate interviews. Not two days later standing in a Starbucks line while  you wait for your coffee. Not just asking the question, “What did you think of the candidate?”
  5. There must other tests, presentations,  and assessments to validate that what the candidates said they did, they actually did do and did it at the level and with the results they claimed.

These five steps are absolutely critical in every effective hiring process. Just having them isn't enough. There must be some metric that determines if the process is working and where improvement needs to occur.

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, You’re NOT The Person I Hired. Just CLICK HERE  and under the FREE Hiring Resources section you can download our free eBook.

Retaining your best talent is always the best thing any company can do. Download our FREE Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognitions Matrix. It will help you retain your best people without additional compensation. CLICK HERE to download under the Free Resources section.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad

 

Why Are So Few Hiring Managers Responsible For Hiring?

Seems like such an obvious question. Of course hiring mangers are responsible for hiring, that is why they are called hiring managers. Isn't it?

The truth is that most hiring managers do not think of hiring as part of their job.  They know they must perform the function every now and then, but few actually consider it as a critical job function. I have reviewed thousands of job descriptions ranging from CEOs to managers in my 30 years as a recruiter, and I can't think of one that included hiring as one of the job functions. NOT ONE.

Here is a classic example. I was recently speaking to a group of executives on how to develop an effective hiring process.  One of the executives complained that with all of the other work he has, he doesn't have the time it takes to continually be working on hiring. I was amazed. With all of the other work he has? Isn't hiring just as much a part of his job as any other function? He certainly didn't think so. Would a VP of Sales accept from one of his sales managers, “With all the other work I have to do, I don't have time to complete the weekly sales reports.” Should a CEO accept from their CFO, ” With all the other work I  have, I don't have time to know what is in all the accounts.”  Aren't these functions just as much a part of their job as hiring?

What they are really saying in my opinion is, “Hiring just isn't a priority for me this month.” Time is just a function of priority. Since it isn't important at this moment in time, it isn't a priority, therefore I don't have time. Yet, when an opening occurs this becomes a priority. Then the hiring manager hopes that the best person for the job will be on the market and looking at the exact same time. In a slow market that might be true, but think back a couple of years to when unemployment was under 5%. That rarely happened.

Here are some suggestions to make hiring top talent the priority it should be in your company:

1) Consider linking some level of hiring activity to your performance management system. This doesn't have to involve a great deal of time. Just something that demonstrates that hiring top talent is a priority not only for the department head but for the company.

2) Have all of your managers participate in different professional groups, alumni associations, and professional networking groups. Participation should be at a minimum of attending the monthly meetings or even serving on a committee. This is where they will meet potential top talent or people connected to that top talent. Most of these meetings take place after working hours and only involve an hour or two a month.

3) Identify key positions where any turn over will be damaging, potential future openings  in the next six months, and high turnover positions, then each month allocate just 10% of your time working to build a  queue of  names, people, and contacts that might be potential candidates. Just 10% of your time.

4) For each key position in the company maintain a list of at least three people to speak with if a position opens. This will not be a stagnant list.  These people's situations will change over time so you will have to make sure it is current.

5) At least quarterly, engage every person in the queue. Send them an email, a newsletter, an article, give them an update of some kind, connect with them via LinkedIn, meet for coffee,  or just small things that don't involve a lot of time that will keep them connected with you.

Just doing these 5 simple things can dramatically change how you prioritize hiring the best people in your company. It doesn't have to take a lot of time, it just has to take some time.

If  your managers aren't doing these simple things, isn't it time to put hiring back into the job of your hiring managers

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, You’re NOT The Person I Hired. Just CLICK HERE  and under the FREE Hiring Resources section you can download our free eBook.

Retaining your best talent is always the best thing any company can do. Download our FREE Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognitions Matrix. It will help you retain your best people without additional compensation. CLICK HERE to download under the Free Resources section.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad

 

Not All Reference Checks Say Good Things – 54% Have Received Bad References

I was recently facilitating our, You’re NOT The Person I Hired, workshop with CEOs and key executives. As is often the case, the subject of reference checking came up. Most in the audience tended to agree that checking references is a waste of time. After all, candidates only give references they are sure will say positive things about them. Don’t you agree?

Then a CFO sitting in the back raised his hand to disagree. He told the story of a controller he was about to hire near the border in Texas. This was a difficult position to fill as there were a lot of specific requirements. Finally, after an arduous search he found his person. She had all of the qualifications and most importantly he really like her. The final step was to conduct a few reference checks. She handed him a list of 30 references. WOW he thought, this person really has a lot of people willing to vouch for her.  Then he picked 5 of them and started calling. The first call was to a former boss. He introduced himself and explained that he was calling to conduct a reference check on Mary. The line went silent. The pause was so long that he thought they were disconnected and asked if the reference was still on the line. The reference replied yes and then stated, “Mary gave me as reference? I can’t believe it. We fired her because she stole from us. She did pay us back but she stole from us.” Now there was silence from him. He didn’t know what to say or how to respond.

This is just one of many examples of what can happen on a reference check and why you should always perform your due diligence. Granted, this may only happen once in your career, but in this case the once may have saved the company thousands if she has stolen again.

I have conducted thousands of reference checks in my 30 year career as an executive recruiter. I have learned that more often than not someone will give me a reference they expect to be positive and it turns negative. It is for this reason that I always check references. Like the CFO in this example, it has saved me from making some big mistakes. It only takes one bad reference to realize that catching that one person was worth all the others.

If you have stories or experiences regarding strange things that have happened when you have conducted a reference check I would love to hear about them and share them with others. Please take a moment to tell others your story.

I conducted a poll on LinkedIn in which 54% replied that they have had people give them a negative reference. This goes to show that even though the person giving the reference expects a positive reference they often don't get one

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, You’re NOT The Person I Hired. Just CLICK HERE  and under the FREE Hiring Resources section you can download our free eBook.

Retaining your best talent is always the best thing any company can do. Download our FREE Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognitions Matrix. It will help you retain your best people without additional compensation. CLICK HERE to download under the Free Resources section.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad