How Important Is Hiring and Retaining Great People?

Is Hiring and Retaining Top Talent Important To Your Organization?

On a recent Harvard Business Review Blog Article, titled Good Managers Lead Through a Team, Linda Hill & Kent Lineback spoke about how the ability to manage teams is one of the key pillars of success for managers and executives. This an excellent and well-written article that all managers and executives should read.

I commented on the article since I felt the authors missed the key point about people and teams. It’s not as much the ability to manage them – as it is the issue of hiring and retaining them.

Here were my comments to the authors. What are your thoughts?

 

Excellent post about a key pillar of successful managers and leaders. I'll go one step further. In our executive search practice, we've completed well over 1,000 projects and interviewed over 250,000 managerial and executive candidates over the last 25 years. We've identified that the NUMBER ONE element of success for managers and executives is hiring and retaining a top-notch team.

Even hiring managers and executives with technical weaknesses in their functional niche or specialty out-performed their more technically adept peers due to their stronger teams. It affects career progression, job opportunities, bonus and incentives, and job satisfaction.

Managers and Executives who hired middle-of-the-road minimally qualified candidates, and accepted mediocrity among their team members, had average and mediocre careers – passed over for promotions, denied new opportunities, and failed to earn their full bonus potential.

No other trait or ability appears to come close to the correlation of success for managers and executives and their ability to hire and retain top talent.

Unfortunately, most companies give the concept of hiring top talent and “our people are our most important asset” lip service. Rewards, incentives, goals, objectives, and consequences don't match the propaganda most companies spew out about their people and teams. You can find isolated cases of companies that make hiring and retaining a top priority – but the list is very small. More likely, you'll find a few managers and executives scattered through-out different companies who instinctively “GET IT.”

Why do you think there is such a gap between the generic words about the importance of people and team members vs. the practical application on a day-to-day basis?

 

Share your experience of what happens when managers and executives do a great job of hiring and retaining top talent vs. what happens when weak, average, and mediocre people are hired and “tolerated.”

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

Good Managers Lead Through A Team

Barry Deutsch

 

PS: Download a copy of our best-selling book “You’re NOT the Person I Hired” and take our Hiring Process Assessment to determine if your organization is capable of hiring top talent.

How To Shorten The Time It Takes To Hire

Q. We are a mid-size company that doesn’t hire that often. It seems that when we want to hire it takes a long time just to find qualified candidates. Is there a way to shorten the time it takes to hire someone?

Hiring fast rarely includes hiring the very best. The best way to shorten the time it takes to hire someone is to have a pool of qualified people available when you need them. The problem is most companies start the hiring process when they need someone. Often after one of their best people just gave notice. Companies then expect that at that exact moment in time a highly qualified candidate will also be searching, the stars will magically align and they should be able to hire this person. Wouldn’t it be nice if every time you were looking, highly qualified candidates were also looking? It just doesn’t work that way. Most hiring processes are reactive. To change your situation your hiring process must become proactive.

Highly qualified candidates don’t search based on your hiring schedule. They search based on their schedule so hiring can’t be a onetime event when you decide you are ready to hire someone. This will only provide you with the best available candidates at that moment in time. Companies that excel at hiring top talent know that hiring is a process and having a queue of qualified candidates is critical. Your hiring managers should always be on the lookout for potential people, even if your company only hires once a year. Every manager should have at least two or three potential candidates for the key positions in their department. This means that your hiring managers will have to dedicate at least some time each month to hiring. They should engage potential hires, identify who might be a potential hire, attend professional groups where these potential hires exist, respond to unsolicited resumes that have potential instead of deleting them, use LinkedIn to connect with potential candidates and follow-up with potential candidates when contacted. None of these takes a lot of time to do, maybe an hour a month. These small things can dramatically shorten the time it takes to hire someone and also increase the quality of those hires.

Join the other 10,000 CEO's, key executives, and HR professionals who have downloaded a FREE copy of our best selling book, “You're NOT The Person I Hired.” Just CLICK HERE for your FREE ebook.

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

 

Reducing Turnover Without An HR Department

Question:  We have a lot of turnover, what would you suggest to help reduce it? We don’t have an HR department.

In our experience, turnover generally starts with a bad hire. A bad hire often starts by not properly defining the job and limited sourcing techniques that don’t bring the best candidates to you. One or both of these can result in high turnover and correcting them can dramatically reduce turnover.

Changing the job description might help. Most job descriptions are not actual job descriptions. Most are simply a laundry list of a person’s skills, experiences, required behavioral traits, and a few words about the job’s routine duties and tasks. A real job description defines the results you expect this person to deliver in order to be a top performer. We call them Success Factors. In other words, what are the factors this person needs to deliver in order to be successful? They must be measurable and time based. It isn’t about their skills and experiences, it is about how they use their skills and experiences to achieve the results you want. Defining the results you expect is the first step.

Many company’s main strategy for sourcing candidates is posting ads on the job boards. The ad tends to be a long list of demands the company wants the candidate to possess. Advertising 101A tells us that advertising is about the person you want to engage. Advertising is not about you. Few job ads are about the candidate’s motivation. Why should they get excited about coming to work for you and your company? A list of the duties and tasks they are already doing isn’t all that inspiring. When you advertise, think about what will motivate a candidate enough to reply to your ad. What will get top talent so excited that they will put together a resume just to come to work for you? Start advertising with the candidate’s motivation in mind and your pool of candidates will expand.

Join our LinkedIn Hire and Retain Top Talent Discussion Group with 3,200 participants and a vibrant discussion on everything related to job search.

Download our FREE Cost per Hire Calculator to determine the real cost of NOT hiring top talent.

If this was helpful, please pass it on to your network, post it on Facebook or to your LinkedIn Groups.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

Caution – Using Online Information To Not Hire Someone

Q:  Is there a legal problem if a company looks online, and then uses this information as part of a no-hire decision?

This is one of the hottest topics for many companies right now. Most companies are using the Internet in some form to check out candidates before they hire someone. I would suggest checking with your labor attorney to make sure you aren't violating any federal or state laws. In addition, it is becoming more important that companies protect themselves by having some social media or Internet policy.

Since this is beyond my scope I asked Laura Fleming, a labor attorney and partner with the Newport Beach law firm Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth, for her advice.

It is lawful to check publicly available, online information regarding a candidate.  However, there is a caveat.

Employers may not discriminate based on any “protected class” (race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, age, sexual orientation or veteran status).  An employer's online search will likely uncover much information irrelevant to the job position, including protected class information.  Thus, if a manager does conduct Internet background searches, they must not allow irrelevant, protected class information to influence the hiring decision.

In addition, since some online data is shared only with certain parties (for example, Facebook information which is limited to friends), employers should not use deceptive or intrusive means to view such information, as this could lead to an invasion of privacy claim.

If a manager discovers publicly available information regarding a candidate, they may use such information to reject the candidate, as long as they are not making that decision because of any protected class.  For example, it is lawful to reject candidates because of inappropriate pictures or comments, or even political views that are incompatible with the employer's culture (although this may eliminate an otherwise terrific candidate).  Again, the employer must ensure that such criteria is not intertwined with any protected category.

You can explore our audio library, download free examples of compelling marketing statements, download a summary of our research project that identifies the biggest hiring mistakes, and get our culture assessment tool by clicking the links. All of these are free.

I welcome your thoughts and comments. Please forward this to your contacts on Facebook, LinkedIn, or anyone you think would benefit from this post.

Brad Remillard

A Candidate’s Background & Experience Are Irrelevant

Just to clarify, I said “irrelevant.” I didn't say “not important.”

Since most people have been taught interviewing is about the candidate's dbs background and experience, the interviewer tends to ask a lot of questions about the past. For example, “What have  you done in this area?”  or ” Have you ever done _____?”  Those trained in behavioral interviewing will just simply take those same questions and convert them into an example. For example, “Give me an example of where you have done X” or “Tell me about a time when you had X as an issue?”

All of this may be good stuff to know, but the fact is you really don't care about any of this. The fact is when a candidate shows up on Monday morning, you no longer care about all of the things they have done. You only care about one thing, whether or not they can do the job you are hiring them to do. That is all you really care about. Nothing else matters anymore. They may have the best background and all the right experience, but if they can't do your job, then you really don't care about their background and experience.

Have you ever hired a person that had all the right experience, interviewed well, had all the right answers, their resume read like the job description, and when you hired them they fell flat on their face? This has happened to just about everyone.

Why does this happen? I contend it is because the person's background and experience are not primary indicators of their ability to do your job. These are at best secondary and more often than not misleading indicators. Yet, these are the indicators that most hiring managers rely on.

Instead, let's focus the interview on the primary reason for interviewing, “Can they do your job?” This is the focus behind the Success Factor Hiring Methodology.  The key to a successful hire is having a process that puts the candidate in the job BEFORE you hire the candidate. It is not about determining if the candidate's background and experience fit.

This is why we believe behavioral interviewing falls short. It was once a quantum leap forward in how interviewing was performed. However, in our opinion, it too has run its course. Great interviewing is more than getting examples of the past. It is about doing your job. The tag line for behavioral interviewing, “past performance is an indicator of future performance” isn't always the case.

In our hiring methodology training workshops, we teach how to change the focus from the person's background and experience, to how will they adapt those to your job. If they can't adapt to your company and your position, then they may be a great X but they aren't the right X. That is generally what goes wrong when we hire a person with all of the right background and experience and then they fall flat on their face. The candidate wasn't able to adapt their background and experience to your company and your position.

So how do you put the candidate in the job BEFORE you hire the person?

  1. Stop asking questions that start with “have, what, have you, tell me about a time when, etc.” These are all fine to know but they should be used for probing after the example and not for the example. That is a huge difference. The famous, Who, What, When, Where and Why questions are for probing deep and not for opening questions.
  2. How questions should be used for the opening question. One of the biggest issues we face when working with hiring managers is getting them to shift to asking “How” questions. After that you can then begin probing with the five W's. For example, “How would you decrease costs by 10%?” “How would you increase gross margins by X%?” “How would you go about implementing a complete systems upgrade of our ERP system?” “How would you increase market share in your territory?” Then probe deeply with the five W's.
  3. Now the interviewer is shifting the interview from background and experience to having the candidate explain how they would apply these to do the job. If the candidate can't apply their background and experience to the new job, then one has to question whether or not they are the right person regardless of background and experience.

The reason most interviewing fails is because it is easy for a candidate to talk about their experience. Some might even embellish in this area. It is significantly different  to explain how they would apply those experiences.

You can evaluate your hiring process for free. Just download our 8-Point Hiring Methodology Assessment Scorecard. This will  help you to identify the strengths and weaknesses in your hiring process. CLICK HERE to download.

Are you committing one of the “10 Biggest Hiring Mistakes?” This research study is available to download for free. If you are committing one of these ten, it is not hard to fix so that it doesn't happen again. CLICK HERE to download the summary.

For more information on workshops that will ensure you put candidates in the job BEFORE you hire them CLICK HERE.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard