Finding the Right Person

Red Book SolutionsThe other day I heard a very funny comment.  It is only funny because it is so true.  When hiring a new employee the document that everyone relies heavily upon is the resume, which is a story of all of the great things someone has done in life from that person’s perspective.  You have never read a resume that says here are all of the problems I had.

In October 2006, the Economist reported that finding the right people is the single biggest problem in business today.   How many times have you hired someone and within the first week you are thinking to yourself, “Where did the person I hired go?” “I am not sure who this person is but they are not who I hired.”  Good managers develop methods to find good people, which allow them to be more successful.

In the book The Who, Geoff Smart and Randy Street provide a method for how to hire the right person.   They explain that the four most common mistakes when hiring people are:

  1. Lack of clarity about what is needed for the  job
  2. A weak flow of candidates
  3. Don’t trust their ability to pick out the right candidate from a group of similar-looking candidates
  4. Lose candidates they really want to join their team

When hiring people, do you fall into one of the Voodoo hiring methods?

  1. The Art Critic – going  on gut instinct
  2. The Sponge – letting everyone interview the candidate without coordinating efforts
  3. The Prosecutor – questioning candidates, attempting to trip them up with trick questions and logic problems
  4. The Suitor – spending all your energy selling the applicant on the opportunity
  5. The Trickster – using gimmicks to test certain behaviors
  6. The Animal Lover – asking your favorite pet questions you think will reveal something uniquely important
  7. The Chatterbox – Asking a lot of basic irrelevant questions just to create a conversation
  8. The Psychological and Personality Tester – attempting to determine basic personality type
  9. The Aptitude Tester – determining if person has the right aptitude for the job (good to know but should not be the sole decision point)
  10. The Fortune Teller – asking the candidate “in the future” questions

The Who recommends using a definitive hiring approach that is broken down into four steps:

  1. Scorecard – document that describes exactly what you want a person to accomplish in a role.
  2. Source – systematic sourcing before you have slots to fill ensures you have high-quality candidates waiting when you need them.
  3. Select – Selecting talent using a set of structured interviews that allow you to gather the relevant facts about a person so you can rate your scorecard and make an informed decision.  These structured interviews break the voodoo hiring spell.
  4. Sell – being able to persuade the right candidate to join your team.

We are currently in the process of hiring a manager by using these methods to remove as much of the mystery as possible.   Although the process takes a lot longer, if you find the right person you will save a significant amount of time and money in the end.  You can’t be successful alone; you need good people. So why not take the steps to find them the first time?

Gregory Thiesen, CEO, Red Book Solutions and B2A

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2 responses to “Finding the Right Person

  1. Pingback: Tips to Survive and Grow in 2012 | Better Managers Blog

  2. On this planet nothing goes to be sure, except death and taxes.
    The ultimate test of your leader is he leaves behind him in other men the conviction along with the will to carry on.

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