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.



Where Do Candidates Come From?

Don't put all your eggs in one basket when recruiting top talent

This sounds like the typical question your 3 year old might ask?

Have you ever really thought about where they come from?

Candidates come from a number of different sources. I’m going to tackle the 4 major sources over the next few weeks in these blog postings.

Unfortunately, most companies don’t get to see the best ones. Instead, the only use ONE dominant source and it’s usually not the best source. This is known as “putting all your eggs in one basket”. I'm going to challenge you with a  “disruptive” thought: if we only use one method of finding candidates and it’s not the best method – what’s going to happen?

I’ll tell you what happens:

  • frustration
  • anger
  • desperation
  • more frustration
  • resignation
  • lowering standards
  • accepting mediocrity

This occurs because you’re using a technique of advertising that’s been around since the beginning of the industrial revolution and it just doesn’t work well in today’s social media-interactive-engagement oriented climate. Posting traditional job descriptions onto job boards is a worthless recruitment strategy and a complete waste of money. Occasionally, you might get lucky and find a gem – but it’s not an on-going rigorous process that fills your pipeline with great talent.

The traditional job description combined with classified job advertising (job board ad posting) primarily attracts the bottom 1/3 of the candidate pool. It attracts the rejects, retreads, dysfunctional, poor performers who will NEVER succeed in your company. It’s very difficult to separate the “wheat from the chaff” as the adage goes.

Here’s the scenario that most companies experience:

You post your job on one of the major job boards

You get 300 responses

Out of the 300, you can’t figure out what keyword did 298 click on to apply for the job. They are so far off the mark, it’s bordering on comical. Two in the group looked pretty good. Unfortunately, they went on and off the market in the blink of an eye – since 50 other companies were advertising for the same exact job with your same job description boilerplate language.

3 weeks after you posted the advertisement, you’ve got nothing to show for it except the 6 hours you spent reviewing resumes while watching Dancing with the Stars.

Now you’re faced with a dilemma – what to do? In most cases you will REPEAT and RINSE – you’ll run the same ad again hoping for different results (welcome to the insanity of traditional recruiting). What do you get – same results as the first time.

Except this time, you’re tired of the process. You crave for it to be over. You’ve got real work to do instead of wasting your time trying to hire someone. After 5 more weeks, you’ve managed to line up 3 candidates.

You know that not one of these candidates can achieve your expectations. However, you’re done – you want nothing more to do with hiring at this stage. So you pick the “cream of the crap” and hope they manage to make it through your 90 day probation period. You could deal with rehiring someone in 90 days – right now you just need a break.

I know you would never fall victim to doing this – but what about all the executives and managers who work for you? How many times does this occur in your organization on a daily basis?

STOP using just one method of hiring – posting on job boards – and especially STOP using the traditional job description as your advertisement. The job description is not an ad – it’s a job description masquerading as an ad – and it’s a complete turn-off to top talent.

I recently wrote a companion article to this blog post titled Hiring Mistake #7: Fishing in Shallow Waters. Fishing in Shallow Waters occurs because we try to easily and quickly skim the candidates floating near the surface of the pond. If you want to get great employees, you must fish deeply in the pond. You can read more about one of the greatest mistakes in hiring – fishing in shallow waters – by clicking here.

Are you frustrated by posting job descriptions on job boards and getting weak candidates? What other methods are you using to attract better candidates?

We’ve created a quick 15 minute phone review called “I could have had a V-8 to find better talent”. The hundreds of companies that have called us and asked for the 15 minute review are stunned at how easy it is to find great talent outside of generic job board postings. Are you ready for your “I could have had a V-8 to find better talent” review.

Fire off an email or use the contact form on our blog to send us a note asking for your 15 minute review. If you’re done wasting time attracting the bottom third of the candidate pool through traditional recruiting techniques, start right now to make a change to start getting the top 25%!

While you're going through this process over the next 48 hours of pure disgust over the quality of candidates you've seen off your traditional job advertisement, don't forget to download a copy of our award winning and popular guide to hiring, “You're NOT the Person I Hired.”

Barry Deutsch

Hiring Mistake #7 – Fishing in Shallow Waters

Fishing for candidates floating near the surface


Most of the methods used to attract candidates bring forth candidates who are floating in the shallow end of the pond. They fall into what we call the “aggressive” candidate pond – those who typically have excessive turnover, are toxic, and cannot deliver the performance you desire. These are frequently NOT the best candidates (I think this is known as a classic understatement).

Over the last 25 years of leading hiring workshops and seminars, I hear in almost every presentation that finding enough good candidates is one of the greatest hiring frustrations of executives and managers. It doesn’t seem to matter whether the economy is going straight up, straight down, or sideways – it’s always tough to find good people. Filling seats is easy. Run an online advertisement on a job board (the most common tactic), get 300 responses – 298 of which you can’t figure out what keyword they clicked on to apply to your ad. 2 in the group looked good, but they went off the market in the blink of an eye. 3 weeks later you’re looking at everyone else’s retreads, rejects, and poor performers.


How to Get Depressed Over Finding Candidates

Depressing element #1: Most companies have a tendency to attract the bottom 1/3 of the candidate pool. One of the key problems in hiring is that if all you are seeing is the bottom 1/3, then you are doomed to fail before you even start the hiring process. it doesn’t matter how great the job sounds, the stellar rep of your company, or your personal charisma in the interview – if all you’re seeing is the bottom 1/3, then that’s the group from which you’ll hire the next member of your team.

How you write your job ad and where you place it dictates who you get. When you run job advertisements geared to pull candidates who need jobs, that’s pretty much what you get – okay sometimes you get lucky and find a good one – but most of the time you get the bottom of the pile, the best of the worst, or as one of my clients called it the other day: the cream of the crap!

Depressing Element #2:  Not only do your job ads attract candidates floating near the surface of the pond – you then consider that to be the entire candidate pool from which you can make your choice. This group of candidates who land on your doorstep through traditional job advertising (read:  job descriptions masquerading as advertising) is at best 10-15% of the viable candidate pool. There’s a huge universe of potential candidates who are much better- and you’re letting them slip through your fingers by focusing on the wrong group – the aggressive candidate group seeking a new job.

You’re acting like the basketball coach of your local public high school – trapped in to taking whomever shows up that year. Unlike your local public high school, you have unlimited ability to attract better talent. Why do you keep pretending you’re the coach of a high school team adding people to your team just because they showed up?

Depressing Element #3: We start the entire hiring process by attracting the bottom 1/3 of the candidate pond. If that’s not bad enough, you compound this hiring mistake by turning off the very best performers. Top talent doesn’t care that you want someone with 2 years of X, and 4 years of Y, and knowledge of ABC systems. They want to know what’s in it for me? What am I going to learn, what impact will I have, and what will become for having been in this role. If you can’t answer those questions in specific detail, then top talent takes their hand and pulls it down. We want them to raise their hand. We want them to show excitement to learn about your very special opportunity.

When you tell the world about your job ad in the tone of a drill sergeant barking orders of what you deamnd, you REPEL, DISGUST, and TURN-OFF top talent. Top talent DOES NOT CARE what you want as an employer. 99.9% of all job ads fall into the category of either the entire job description or a modified version of the job description masquerading as a job ad. This is NOT a compelling description of an opportunity for a top performer. It’s basically a job description – and it’s worthless as a tool to attract great talent. Is it any wonder why most executives and managers are frustrated by the process of finding great employees?


Why Do You Keep Failing At Attracting Great Employees?

Why do we post job descriptions on job boards and let them masquerade as job ads? They’re boring, mundane, depressing, and lack anything top talent would be interested in exploring.

We do it because we’re programmed to do it. This is what the retired guy did 25 years ago, who trained my boss, who trained me. We call this tribal hiring. How many of the things that go on in your company are tribal – you have no idea why it’s done that way – yet that’s the way you’ve always done it. Like passive sheep, we follow blindly in the footsteps of our ancestors.

Why do we do this? Why do we fall victim to tribal hiring. Why are we using the same recruiting practices that have been in existence since Henry Ford started cranking out Model-Ts on the production line? Perhaps, that’s the subject for another blog post.

Was it Benjamin Franklin who said that doing the same thing over and over hoping for different results was the definition of insanity? Is your company the poster child for the Definition of Insanity when it comes to finding great employees?


Overcoming the Hiring Mistake of Fishing in Shallow Waters

First, if you want to attract better candidates, you’ve got to develop a Compelling Marketing Statement. A Compelling Marketing Statement is like the royal trumpeters announcing to the world something special. We take an entire chapter in our book,  “You’re NOT the Person I Hired”, and focus in on this one subject. As you probably know, the digital version is available for downloading FREE from our website. You can also find FREE examples of Compelling Marketing Statements on our website by clicking here.

Secondly, you’ve got to use the three primary best practices in hunting for the best talent. The best are NOT going to simply show up on your doorstep begging for a job. They’ve got multiple offers, decline to interview regularly, and are choosy when it comes to deciding when they’ll raise their hand to express interest in a job opening. To effectively find great talent, you’ve to go to where they are “hanging out”. No longer does a “build it and they will come” approach work in attracting great employees.

The three primary best practices that could yield great candidates include:

  • Raising the quantity and quality of employee, customer, client, vendor, and supplier referrals of great talent
  • Using a Compelling Marketing Statement as a job ad, placing it in front of where your target candidate will most likely see it
  • Moving from 6 degrees of separation to 1 degree of separation through effective networking, both off-line and on-line with social media

We’ve produced a ton of content related to finding great employees. Check out our videos, audio programs, and other content here on Vistage Village. Future blog posts will explore each of these best practices, including the writing of a Compelling Marketing Statement in more detail.

Share your story of falling victim to the hiring mistake of fishing in shallow waters, OR your story of how you overcame this very common hiring mistake.

If you would like to learn how to fish in deeper waters, download a free digital copy of our book, You’re NOT the Person I Hired, and read our most popular chapter, How to Attract the Bottom Third of the Candidate Pool.

Only You Can Prevent Desperation Hiring

Question: When do most companies start the hiring process? Answer: When they need someone. It can then take up to three months to hire someone. By this time, the hiring manager and their staff is overworked, projects are falling behind schedule, overtime is through the roof, work is backing up, short cuts are causing mistakes, and everyone is frustrated. At this point the hiring manager is desperate. We call this stage in the hiring process, desperation hiring. The only good news is that the hiring manager doesn’t reach the depression stage until 6 months.

Question: What kind of hire do you think the hiring manager will make? Answer: Poor. They are likely to take the next best person that comes along, or worse, settle for one of the previously interviewed good solid below average candidates.

Why does this happen? We believe it's because most companies don’t start the hiring process until they need someone. They then cross their fingers and hope that the person with top talent that they want to hire just happens to be looking at the same time.

We refer to this as the “random luck” hiring methodology. Unfortunately, this is the hiring methodology for many companies.

Desperation hiring is one of the easiest mistakes to correct in the hiring process since most hiring managers know in advance of an opening. Granted not always, but most of the time good managers know.

Simple recommendations to avoid desperation hiring:

  1. Begin a soft launch. Don’t wait until the last minute to start the search. There are many things hiring managers can do prior to instigating a full blown job search. Start letting people know you will be looking to hire a person and ask for referrals. Let everyone in the company know the opening is coming.
  2. Consider attending local association meetings that these people attend. Start identifying and engaging people you believe have the right attitude to fit your culture.
  3. Use the social media sites to identify potential candidates. LinkedIn is one of the best tools for doing this. You can search LinkedIn for people in your geographic community. Start by requesting to be linked together. Then maybe meet one morning for coffee just to get to know each other. Don’t even mention you are considering hiring someone.
  4. If hiring sales people, start asking customers who they think are the best sales people calling on them. Your customers know it is in their best interests to have the best sales people calling on them.
  5. If you attend trade shows, when you meet people you think will be a good fit you should talk to them, get their business card, and follow-up once back in the office. A follow-up might be as simple as an email letting them know you enjoyed meeting them at the show. It could be some information on your company or anything that begins to engage this person. Eventually, ask to meet for coffee or for a short meeting when you are in their area.
  6. When unsolicited resumes come in don’t just throw them away because you aren’t looking now. Instead review them, and if the person looks like someone you would hire start to connect with them. Begin the rapport building process. Recruiters do this all the time. That is why we seem to always have candidates when companies call us. I have placed people 2 years after first receiving an unsolicited resume.
  7. Start building a queue of potential people. Most companies and hiring managers know those key positions that are hard to fill. These are the positions you should always be on the lookout for. Just start a file on who and where these people are. Don’t worry that they may not be on the market 6 months from now. If they are passive candidates chances are very good they will be available.

There are a lot of things that hiring managers can do proactively that will shorten the hiring process and bring better candidates to the table. Too often most managers only think about hiring when they need someone. Like most things, the time to do anything is when you don’t have to and aren’t under pressure.

Committing just a few hours a month can help your company or department avoid desperation hiring.

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 Remillard

Stop Making Hiring Mistakes Audio Program

Are You Hitting the Bullseye on Hiring Top Talent?

We've prepared an audio program, roughly 12 minutes in length, on our Top Ten Hiring Mistakes. We recognize that some CEOs, executives, or managers might prefer to listen to this program during their commute rather than watch a video or read a blog post.

If you're interested in watching the video presentation of hiring mistakes and errors, you can find it by clicking here.

If you're interested in reading about the research project we conducted and how to improve your hiring accuracy and decision-making, click this link for the blog post.

The Top Ten Hiring Mistakes and the steps to overcome each mistake was based on research we conducted with over 100 companies, over 200 executive hires, conversations with over 20,000 CEOs and senior executives extending over a 20 year period, and a review of the academic research on hiring and interviewing over the last 40 years.

The result of all this research and the identification of the most common hiring mistakes and errors led us to write our popular and best-selling book, “You're NOT the Person I Hired.”  You can download a copy of our book on the steps to overcome the typical hiring mistakes that most managers executives not only make once – but tend to compound their hiring errors by making multiple hiring mistakes with each candidate.

We discovered through our research – both original and secondary – that the failure rate of executive and managerial hiring was above 50% – in our study it came out to be 56% – which is a staggering number.

That's 56% of all hires do not live up to the original expectations of performance. One of the questions we're fond of asking in our workshops and seminars goes like this:


Of all the hires you've made in your career, what percentage lived up to or exceeded your expectations in their first year of employment with you?


The vast majority of CEOs, executives, and managers honestly admit that if they were batting .300, they would be doing a great job – rarely do we hear that someone is batting better than .500 – is there any process in your business where you will accept that level of random variability? How about the payroll checks you write? How about the invoices you send to customers?

Absolutely NOT!

If you will not accept it anywhere else in your business, why do you accept it when it comes to making hiring decisions?

We believe most executives accept random results because:

  1. They don't what mistakes are being made
  2. They don't the steps to overcome the most common hiring mistakes

Listen to this audio program and let us in the comments to this blog post if you've ever made these mistakes. Perhaps, you'll share your most recent hiring failure with our fellow readers that was a result of making one or more of these mistakes.

Barry Deutsch