Hiring well is hard, no doubt about it.

Art vs. Science

Try as we may to find a method that will guarantee perfect results each and every time, there is no formula that will produce the perfect hire, but there is hope. Hiring is a mix of art and science. There is enough research to know that complete reliance on “gut instinct” is inaccurate, foolish and, much more, dangerous, but because the act of hiring is so fundamentally a human activity it can’t be turned into a sterile, antiseptic process devoid of interpersonal chemistry and emotion.

The right mix is the key.

Despite dramatic improvements in other areas of business – manufacturing, supply chain, customer relationship management, eCommerce – and initiatives like Six Sigma and Balanced Scorecard, hiring remains a rudimentary process. With competition so fierce and the underlying principles of most companies to “do more with less”, companies must embrace better practices for attracting, hiring and retaining talent.

“ Begin with the end in mind”
As Stephen Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, observes, we must begin any task or effort with the end in mind. The end for hiring is simple enough – get the best talent available; but like all businesses processes hiring must overcome “friction” and strategies must be deployed to get at talent efficiently and effectively. A hiring strategy must, at least, take into account several factors:

- Quality
- Speed
- Cost
- Volume

These factors and their relative priority will govern your hiring strategy. In the boom years of the late 90’s, Speed and Volume reigned supreme and hiring processes reflected these priorities. Today, Quality and Cost are more prevalent and strategies must adjust accordingly. In any case, you must develop a strategy suited to the market conditions and your company’s needs & capabilities.

Following a Road Map
Developing hiring strategies and translating them into operational and tactical execution is what we do for a living. Hiring Intelligence™ is our answer to this vexing problem. We believe hiring (recruiting, interviewing, selecting) is essentially a sales process and its components parallel those steps so closely that, at a high level, we’ve developed our recruiting approach to mirror a sales cycle.

Whether we execute this approach while engaged on a retained search or teach your hiring managers or recruiters to hire this way, it’s designed to increase your odds of finding the right talent.

The Steps in the Project Plan

Each step in our approach has defined activities, tasks and sub-tasks allowing it to be managed as a project and permitting adjustments and mid-course corrections that ensure the desired outcome.

An accurate position definition, that is, knowing who & what you really need to hire, will eliminate many of the errors so prevalent in hiring today. But an effective hiring process, also follows a well-defined plan and similar to complex selling methodologies the steps ensure completeness and quality. Hiring is too important a business function to leave to chance, luck or “gut” calls. Our methodology defines seven distinct steps that when meticulously applied deliver the desired output.

“I’ll know it when I see it”

Will you? Many managers take the approach of looking at as many candidates as they can and then choosing the one that “feels” the best. This is both inaccurate and inefficient. Selecting candidates should not be conducted like some human Rorschach Test. Choosing from among the pool of candidates without a defined profile simply means that you may be selecting the best of the worst. The goal of a world-class hiring process is to select the “best performer,” that is, the employee who can do the best job not the “best candidate” and the only way you’ll know how to hire the best employee is to take the time to define success in the role at your company.

Our approach to evaluating candidates is to apply the science of competency-based assessments. Competency-based modeling and interviewing have been shown to be the most reliable methods to gauge and predict performance. In-depth interviewing coupled with ability tests and other assessment methods and based on a detailed understanding of the requirements for success are the only reliable methods to assessing talent.

We begin defining a position with a framework consisting of three dimensions:

- Abilities
- Chemistry
- Experience

As we drill down to specific job competencies we assess 16 individual behavioral traits that address motivations, job and self-management skills. It is essential to find evidence of these traits through a thorough and detailed selection process and not simply rely on superficial characteristics or claims in a resume. Our methodology provides the “science” and delivers a detailed approach that begins at the strategy level and works its way down providing activities at each and every step.

Think of our approach as “business intelligence” for hiring. Good decisions are personal judgment backed up by the best information you can assemble. Our goal is to apply science, metrics and other empirical data that when coupled with our knowledge and experience and your own will allow us to arrive at quality hiring decisions that don’t just simply fill vacancies on your org chart but put real people with real talent into positions that allow you and them to excel.

Hire Well!
The Selection Strategies Team

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