A bunch of point solutions, like interviewing, is not an effective process unless fully integrated and designed to achieve a strategic goal—hiring top candidates who aren't looking for a new job!
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- If you're not hiring as many good people as you'd like to, your company probably has the wrong talent strategy in place. Too many companies design their hiring processes on the false assumption that there's a surplus of top talent available, when in fact there's a scarcity. In a scarcity situation, you have to attract people in. In a surplus situation, it's ok to weed them out. Even if it's demeaning to those hired and not hired. So if your company still posts jobs that emphasize must-have skills, experiences and personality traits, you're assuming there's a surplus of talent.
If your company doesn't measure a hiring manager's ability to attract, hire and retain top people, you're also assuming there's a surplus of talent. And if the measure of hiring success is how fast and how cheaply it can be done, you're assuming there is a surplus of talent. In a talent scarcity situation, you need to target the entire talent market. This requires a Raising the Talent Bar Strategy. Raising the quality of the people you are now hiring. Not the Follow the Leader Strategy, which is hiring people like you've always hired. This is done by far too many companies.
This shift starts by eliminating skills and experience-laden job descriptions that are at best, ill-defined lateral transfers. These turn-off the best people. Instead, the job needs to be described as a series of performance objectives that the best people see as a possible career move. For example, it's much better to say: "Lead the development of our new cybersecurity interface" rather than "Must have five years of UX design experience, a BS in computer science with some high-tech major".
Moving to a consultative recruiting process is a big part of the strategy shift. For the best people, getting a new job is not a transaction. It takes them more time to fully evaluate the possibility of a better career. A big benefit of this is that when a job is seen as a career move, compensation becomes less important. In my mind, a career move needs to offer a 30% non-monetary increase. This is a combination of job stretch, job growth and an increase in job satisfaction.
Doing work that is more intrinsically satisfying. This is how you raise the talent bar at your company. It's success has a huge ROI impact. By improving the quality of every single person your company hires, cost per hire and being more efficient hiring the same type of people you've always hired is too tactical a goal. This is the essence of performance based hiring. It's an end-to-end business process for hiring stronger people in a talent scarcity situation. It's not a point solution, like behavioural interviewing or boring job postings that don't fully address the needs of top people.
These narrow solutions are barriers to entry that either exclude or turn-off the best people. Over the past 40 years, studying thousands of individual hiring decisions, it's clear that in order to hire the best people possible, these four conditions must be present: number one; the job must be a clear career move, not a lateral transfer. Number two; to attract the best people you need to reach out to the entire talent market, not wait for people to apply. Number three; a performance based interviewing process based on evidence is essential to assess a person's ability and motivation to do the actual work that needs to be done.
Both are essential. And four; a consultative recruiting process needs to be woven into every step, to ensure the person sees the job as a long-term career move, not a short-term compensation increase. Bottom line; to hire the right people, you need to have the right strategy. And when the demand for talent exceeds the supply, you need to be proactive; reaching out to the best people with career opportunities, not waiting for some great person to magically apply.
- Implementing a performance-based hiring strategy
- Creating the candidate experience
- Preparing job descriptions that define outstanding performance
- Structuring the interview to obtain the best information
- Determining job and culture fit
- Ranking and comparing candidates