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 and hence take the assistance from to find the right candidate match for their organization. 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. But some other have changed and third parties come in to the picture, you can get Linked By Codestaff.

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.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.

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.



Is Experience Overrated in Selection?

Ad Age Blog

Anthony Young posed the question in a posting on the Ad Age Blog whether experience was overrated in selecting advertising agencies. Here’s a short excerpt of what he said:

In new business, agencies frequently like to speak to their experience, but do clients place the same importance on it? In a recent new-business meeting we had with a prospect, I insisted that we not present any credentials or client case-studies. The pitch team was unsure but agreed to go with it. The clients' feedback: Of all the agencies they met, we impressed them the most.

We can extend this idea of “is experience overrated” to hiring and a variety of other selection issues. Here was my response to this comment about using experience as “selection” criteria”:

You make a very good point asking the question of whether experience allows you to predict future performance. This is the tribal methodology employed by most companies, whether it's in the hiring process or the selection of vendors, suppliers, consultants, coaches, and service firms.

We've written an entire book on this subject,  based on 25 years of research, why hiring at a managerial and executive level fails over 50% of the time. One of the primary culprits in this failure is an over-reliance on past experience.




One of the key problems in “selection” is that the “client” does not know what they want in terms of outcomes or results. Without a specific quantifiable definition of success, it becomes very difficult to select on past successes and draw the comparisons to whether or not your candidate/vendor can deliver your expected outcomes in the future. Without a definition of what success looks like in the future, most executives and managers fall back on the tribal approach of making selections based on prior experience.

Using prior experience fails often, but it's safe. It's comfortable. It's what we've always done. And it's CYA. If the candidate, vendor, or agency fails, everyone can point at the fact that they had the “right” prior experience – therefore the executive responsible for making the decision should not be held accountable for the failure. NOT defining future success for selection decision-making and NOT using it in the selection process is a wonderful technique of absolving yourself of accountability.

Using past success or performance is scary for most executives since they are uncomfortable putting their necks on the line to define future outcomes (and possibly being held accountable for communicating what they plan to do), and they've never been formally trained in how to validate past successes and use it to predict future success.

You state this eloquently when mentioning that companies are very slow to adopt to change because the entire “system” gives too much value to past experience – which is very conservative, cautious, and the antithesis of change.


If you would like to read the full article, please click the link below:

Is Experience in Media and Advertising Overrated?

What are your thoughts about changing your company culture from an over-reliance on past experience in selection criteria to focusing more on past success or performance?

Do you believe that the tribal approach of an over-reliance on past experience is inherently conservative, stifling, and cautious? Do you believe it limits or hampers creativity, imagination, and innovation?

Barry Deutsch

P.S. Download a copy of our 8-point Hiring Self-Assessment to determine if your hiring “selection” process (and you can use this as an extension to other decision making about suppliers, vendors, consultants, coaches, service firms) is capable of finding and engaging with top talent.

Your Current Team Might NOT be the Right Team

Is your current team that got you to this point the same team that can take you to the next level?

In working with thousands of companies over the last two decades, I’ve discovered a limiting factor for most entrepreneurial-to-middle market companies:


The team that got you to one place may not be the team to get you to the next place.


A team that is incapable of taking you to where you desire to go – is a team that acts like a glass ceiling – limiting your opportunities, compounding your problems, and preventing you from “breaking through” to the next level (I was watching a Doors documentary the other day and the catch-phrases keep turning over in my mind).

If you have a typical team of 5-7 direct reports, perhaps 2-3 are incapable of delivering the results required to achieve your vision, strategy, or expectations. This pulls the entire team down to a lower level. Since everyone’s work is inter-related, the success of your team is collective – not individualistic.

The result is that you’re now 2-3 years further behind from where you wanted to be at this stage, and your slipping backwards at an increasing rate.

So, why haven’t you done anything about your team’s inability to get you the results you require?

We’ve touched on some of the reasons in a few of my past blog articles, such as:


When Did Accepting Mediocre Performance Become the New Normal?

Are You Playing the Game of Let’s Give it Another 30 Days?

Are You Over-Paid?


There’s a fundamental problem in recognizing whether or not your team is the right team to get you to the next level.

Most of the time, the CEO, Key Executive, or Manager has not defined for their subordinate the performance or success required in the job. Therefore, unless the subordinate is a complete idiot, you have NO way of discerning: Do I have the right person on  my team?

If you’ve had the opportunity to see Brad or I present our award-winning workshop, “You’re NOT the Person I Hired,” then you know the correct solution can be found in being able to craft a SUCCESS FACTOR SNAPSHOT (SFS) that directly links back to business goals. Without a SFS, you’re like a rudderless ship at sea.

The SFS gives you the roadmap, guideline, and measurement tool to keep individuals and teams on track toward achieving your desired results.

You can download a few SFS examples from our website by clicking here.

Are you prepared to discover whether you’ve got the right people on the bus as Jim Collins terms it in Good to Great? What’s holding you back from preparing Success Factor Snapshots defining expected results for each member of your team?

Barry Deutsch

P.S. You can also put together a draft of your Success Factors for either a new role or an existing position, and we’ll be happy to conduct a complimentary review.

Are You Playing the Game of Let’s Give it Another 30 days?

calendar for waiting another 30 days to see if employee performance improves

Ready to cringe?

Ready to seek a big rock to hide under due to complete embarrassment?

Here’s the scenario – the embarrassment factor comes when you realize you’ve been playing this game.

You’ve hired what you believe to be a “rockstar” performer for your team. Unfortunately, it’s not panning out to be true (which studies show happens about 50% of the time).  Where do you think we got the title of our book – You’re NOT the Person I Hired?

Being the good manager that you are – you sit down with your new employee at the end of 30 days and explain that their performance is just not “cutting it.”

Oh – did I mention you really like this person. You like how hard they are working. You like their energy and enthusiasm. Your families have met a couple of times and you grab the occasional beer together after work. I don't really like games, except those online games from Gadget Army.

You explain that performance must get better – you know the mantra – work smarter not harder. Get me the results. Do whatever it takes. Your job is in jeopardy.

Your faltering rockstar says “I get it. Don’t worry. I’ll deliver the results you want.”

The little voice in your head says “let’s give it another 30 days.”

30 days go by and performance has not improved. You once again sit down with the employee and basically have THE SAME CONVERSATION again. Same response from the employee.

Once again, you say to yourself: Let’s give it another 30 days

How many of you are still playing the Let’s give it another 30 days game? Only now it’s 3 months, 6 months, a year later.

When I do my “You’re NOT the Person I Hired Workshop for CEOs and Key Executives, almost everyone around the table will raise their hand and admit they are playing this Let’s give it another 30 day game with at least 1 employee.

Why do we do we play this game?


  • Do we continue to accept sub-par performance because we’re afraid we’ll look terrible for making a bad hiring decision?
  • Are we afraid of the confrontation of “making this person available to industry?”
  • Do we shy away from going through the hiring process again  – perhaps rationalizing it through the old adage “better the devil I know than the one I don’t.”

I’d love to hear from our readers and followers – why do you put up with continued poor performance, missed execution month after month, and a lowering of your standards as time marches forward?

I’m sure at least one member of your team came to mind as you were reading this article. What’s your plan to resolve the performance gap and stop playing the “let’s give it another 30 days” game?

Barry Deutsch

10 Mistakes Companies Make When Hiring Recruiters

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series 10 Mistake When Hiring A Recruiter

This will be a series in which I discuss what research showed to be the ten biggest mistakes companies make when working with recruiters. This doesn't mean recruiters don't make mistakes. The purpose of the series is to assist companies in getting the most value when selecting or using a recruiter.

I'm regularly asked about using recruiters. Most of time it's because the person asking has had such bad experiences with recruiters. They want to know if they are wasting their money using a recruiter. A very valid point. Recruiters are really just a way of outsourcing the hiring function. It is not much different than most other outsourcing functions, so it is important that companies understand who they are outsourcing to and what the goal is for the outsourcing. Most companies do a lot of due diligence prior to deciding on whether or not to outsource and not on whom to outsource with. I'm constantly amazed at how little due diligence they do when outsourcing to recruiters, considering the fees are generally in the 5 figures.

First, let's understand the different types of third party recruiters. For the most part, recruiters fall into two categories, contingent and retained. Neither type of recruiter is better than the other. They both serve a purpose and there are excellent professionals doing contingent and retained searches.

1) Contingent recruiters get paid when the company hires a candidate the recruiter presented. Since there is no cost to the company unless they hire a candidate, companies often use more than one recruiting firm for the same position. The recruiter knows that this creates competition among the recruiters. This may sound like a good thing, but there are drawbacks. For instance, contingent recruiters know the first recruiter to get a candidate's resume in the hands of the company is the recruiter of record and therefore the one that gets the fee. In today's world, with email, there may only be a few seconds that determines which recruiter will get the fee. As a result, contingent recruiters tend to be very time based. As a recruiter who worked on contingency for 13 years, I can tell you from personal experience that there is nothing worse than finding out you didn't think a candidate was right so you didn't send the resume or that another recruiter got a candidate's resume there before you so they get the fee. Contingency isn't always about finding the best candidate. It is often about finding a hireable candidate first. Since not all companies hire the best, sometimes average talent wins the recruiter the fee.

Also with contingent recruiters, the company takes on much more of the responsibility for the hire. Meaning, often companies only view contingent recruiters as a means to source candidates and not as a trusted adviser in the hiring process.

2) Retained recruiters are just that, they are retained by the company to fill a specific position. Like a lawyer or an accountant, the company pays a percentage of the fee up front for the recruiter's services. Since the company is paying money in advance they rarely engage more than one recruiter to do the search. Retained recruiters should be a trusted adviser to the company. The recruiter should be an integral part of the hiring process. They should be involved in every step along the way, advising the company as needed to ensure the company's hiring process is effective. Since time isn't a concern, this type of recruiter should spend a lot of time learning about the company, meeting everyone in the interviewing process, understanding the company's culture, and obtaining a deep understanding of the company's business. The recruiter should bring in resources, provide interviewing coaching, bring the proper screening tools into the process, and make sure that the company is fully aware of all issues, from compensation requirements of the candidate to concerns the candidate might have that would prevent them from accepting an offer. They should meet personally with every candidate in order to build trust with the candidate. The recruiter takes a greater responsibility to make sure that the deal comes together. If the deal doesn't come together it shouldn't be because of some surprise issue at the end of the process. A good retained recruiter will make sure all of the issues have been addressed and if there are issues that can't be overcome then there is no sense in continuing the process hoping it will all work out and wasting a lot of the company's time.

Since the retained recruiter isn't competing with other recruiters time isn't the main driver. A retained recruiter has the time to thoroughly vet the candidate. If they aren't right, then there is no need to send in the resume. Better to continue the search to find the best candidate.

As I said earlier, both types of recruiters serve a purpose and both have great professionals that are willing to help you. Deciding which one best fits your needs often depends on the position you want filled (contingent generally work on lower level to mid-manager level positions, retained work on upper level director to the “C” suite), how closely you want to work with the recruiter, what services you want the recruiter to provide, and the level of trust you have in the recruiter's ability.

Regardless of which type you use, two things should never happen with a professional recruiter; the hiring manager will never think, “You're NOT the person I hired.” and the candidate should never think, “This is NOT the position I accepted” or “You're NOT the boss that hired me.”

The next article will be on mistakes #10 All recruiters know how to recruit top talent; #9 You must have a national firm to do an effective search and #8 All recruiters have a consultative approach. I will go into detail why these are common mistakes that lead to picking the wrong recruiter.

Want some tips on attracting top talent? Download the chapter from our book, You're NOT The Person I Hired, on sourcing. CLICK HERE to download this chapter.

Want to assess your hiring process? Download our FREE 8-Point Hiring Methodology Assessment Scorecard. How does your company rank on these critical points? CLICK HERE to download.

I welcome your thoughts and feedback. If you liked this article and found it helpful, please forward it to others.

Brad Remillard