The main takeaways:
- Good hiring requires a well-defined mission statement, objectives, comptences, as well as well-structured interview process.
- It's important to walk through the details of the past job history.
Table of Contents
The most important decisions that business people make are not _what_ decisions, but _who_ decisions. --Jim Collins
Ch. 1: Your #1 problem #
The four steps are:
• Scorecard. The scorecard is a document that describes exactly what you want a person to accomplish in a role. It is not a job description, but rather a set of outcomes and competencies that define a job done well. ...
• Source. Finding great people is getting harder, but it is not impossible. Systematic sourcing before you have slots to fill ensures you have high-quality candidates waiting when you need them.
• Select. ...
• Sell. Once you identify people you want on your team through selection, you need to persuade them to join.
Ch. 2: Scorecard #
Scorecards describe the mission for the position, outcomes that must be accomplished, and competencies that fit with both the culture of the company and the role. You wouldn’t think of having someone build you a house without an architect’s blueprint in hand. Don’t think of hiring people for your team without this blueprint by your side.
The first failure point of hiring is not being crystal clear about what you really want the person you hire to accomplish.
The scorecard is composed of three parts: the job’s mission, outcomes, and competencies. Together, these three pieces describe A performance in the role—what a person must accomplish, and how. They provide a clear linkage between the people you hire and your strategy.
Here is a perfect example of what not to do: “The mission for this role is to maximize shareholder value by leveraging core assets of the NPC division while minimizing communication deficiencies and obfuscations.”
Mission statements help you avoid one of the most common hiring traps: hiring the all-around athlete.
Yet one of the most consistent findings from our interviews with dozens upon dozens of CEOs and top executives is that hiring all-around athletes rarely works. By definition, they are generalists. That’s their charm. They are good at many things and can wear lots of different hats. But job requirements are rarely general. If you’ve defined the position correctly from the outset, you should be looking for narrow but deep competence.
As Nick Chabraja, the CEO of General Dynamics, puts it, “I think success comes from having the right person in the right job at the right time with the right skill set for the business problem that exists.”
Outcomes, the second part of a scorecard, describe what a person needs to accomplish in a role. Most of the jobs for which we hire have three to eight outcomes, ranked by order of importance.
• Efficiency. Able to produce significant output with minimal wasted effort.
• Honesty/integrity. Does not cut corners ethically. Earns trust and maintains confidences. Does what is right, not just what is politically expedient. Speaks plainly and truthfully.
• Organization and planning. Plans, organizes, schedules, and budgets in an efficient, productive manner. Focuses on key priorities.
• Aggressiveness. Moves quickly and takes a forceful stand without being overly abrasive.
• Follow-through on commitments. Lives up to verbal and written agreements, regardless of personal cost.
• Intelligence. Learns quickly. Demonstrates ability to quickly and proficiently understand and absorb new information.
• Analytical skills. Able to structure and process qualitative or quantitative data and draw insightful conclusions from it. Exhibits a probing mind and achieves penetrating insights.
• Attention to detail. Does not let important details slip through the cracks or derail a project.
• Persistence. Demonstrates tenacity and willingness to go the distance to get something done.
• Proactivity. Acts without being told what to do. Brings new ideas to the company.
Over the years, we’ve developed a list of competencies that we hand out when we are introducing new clients to the A Method for Hiring. The list begins with the competencies we just shared. In addition, you might want to consider some of the following competencies. These are in unprioritized order:
• Ability to hire A Players (for managers). Sources, selects, and sells A Players to join a company.
• Ability to develop people (for managers). Coaches people in their current roles to improve performance, and prepares them for future roles.
• Flexibility/adaptability. Adjusts quickly to changing priorities and conditions. Copes effectively with complexity and change.
• Calm under pressure. Maintains stable performance when under heavy pressure or stress.
• Strategic thinking/visioning. Able to see and communicate the big picture in an inspiring way. Determines opportunities and threats through comprehensive analysis of current and future trends.
• Creativity/innovation. Generates new and innovative approaches to problems.
• Enthusiasm. Exhibits passion and excitement over work. Has a can-do attitude.
• Work ethic. Possesses a strong willingness to work hard and sometimes long hours to get the job done. Has a track record of working hard.
• High standards. Expects personal performance and team performance to be nothing short of the best.
• Listening skills. Lets others speak and seeks to understand their viewpoints.
• Openness to criticism and ideas. Often solicits feedback and reacts calmly to criticism or negative feedback.
• Communication. Speaks and writes clearly and articulately without being overly verbose or talkative. Maintains this standard in all forms of written communication, including e-mail.
• Teamwork. Reaches out to peers and cooperates with supervisors to establish an overall collaborative working relationship.
• Persuasion. Able to convince others to pursue a course of action.
Scorecards: • Set expectations with new hires • Monitor employee progress over time • Objectify your annual review system • Allow you to rate your team annually as part of a talent review process
Ch. 3: Source #
These successful executives don’t allow recruiting to become a one-time event, or something they have to do only every now and then. They are always sourcing, always on the lookout for new talent, always identifying the who before a new hire is really needed.
Of all the ways to source candidates, the number one method is to ask for referrals from your personal and professional networks.
Ryan’s approach is among the easiest we have seen. Whenever he meets somebody new, he asks this simple, powerful question: “Who are the most talented people you know that I should hire?”
But don’t stop there. Bring your broader business contacts in on the hunt, too. Ask your customers for the names of the most talented salespeople who call on them.
The final step in the sourcing process, the one that matters more than anything else you can do, is scheduling thirty minutes on your calendar every week to identify and nurture A Players.
The conversation does not have to be long. We frequently begin with something simple like, “Sue recommended that you and I connect. I understand you are great at what you do. I am always on the lookout for talented people and would love the chance to get to know you. Even if you are perfectly content in your current job, I’d love to introduce myself and hear about your career interests.”
One more thing. When you are done with the call, assuming you were even moderately impressed with what you heard, be sure to ask the key follow-up question: “Now that you know a little about me, who are the most talented people you know who might be a good fit for my company?”
Create a list of the ten most talented people you know and commit to speaking with at least one of them per week for the next ten weeks.
Ch. 4: Select #
The best and surest way we have found to select A Players is through a series of four interviews that build on each other.
To be a great interviewer, you must get out of the habit of passively witnessing how somebody acts during an interview.
Instead, the four interviews use the time to collect facts and data about somebody’s performance track record that spans decades.
- The screening interview.
- The Who Interview
- The focused interview.
- The reference interview.
we advocate a structured approach to screening interviews. This means following a common set of questions every time you screen somebody.
- "what are your career goals?"
- "What are you really good at professionally?"
- What are you not good at or not interestsed in doing professionally?
- Who were your last five bosses, and how will they each rate your performance on a 1-10 scale _when_ we talk to them?
Notice the language used in the question: “How will they rate you when we talk to them?” Not “if we talk to them.” When.
Rather than create a screening guide that tries to cover all the possibilities, we use a simple process called “getting curious.” Here’s how it works. After a candidate answers one of the primary questions above, get curious about the answer by asking a follow-up question that begins with “What,” “How,” or “Tell me more.” Keep using this framework until you are clear about what the person is really saying.
So what is the Who Interview? It’s a chronological walk-through of a person’s career. You begin by asking about the highs and lows of a person’s educational experience to gain insight into his or her background. Then you ask five simple questions, for each job in the past fifteen years,
- What were you hired to do?
- What accomplishments are you most proud of?
- What were some low points during that job?
Our recommendation is to reframe the question over and over until the candidate gets the message. “What went really wrong? What was your biggest mistake? What would you have done differently? What part of the job did you not like? In what ways were your peers stronger than you?” Don’t let the candidate off the hook. Keep pushing until the candidate shares the lows.
Who were the people you worked with?
Begin by asking candidates for their boss’s name. Ask them to spell it for you, and make a point to show them you are writing it down. “John Smith, you say? That is S, M, I, T, H, right?” Forcing candidates to spell the name out no matter how common it might be sends a powerful message: you are going to call, so they should tell the truth. Next, ask what they thought it was like working with John Smith.
Now ask, “What will Mr. Smith say were your biggest strengths and areas for improvement?” Be sure to say will, not would. This is like the spelling question above.
Why did you leave that job?
Master Tactic #1: Interrupting. You have to interrupt the candidate. There is no avoiding it. You have to interrupt the candidate. If you don’t, he or she might talk for ten hours straight about things that are not at all relevant.
The good way to interrupt somebody is to smile broadly, match their enthusiasm level, and use reflective listening to get them to stop talking without demoralizing them. You say, “Wow! It sounds like that pig farm next to the corporate office smelled horrible!” The candidate nods and says “Yes!” and appreciates your empathy and respect. Then you immediately say, “You were just telling me about launching that direct mail campaign. I’d love to hear what was that like? How well did it go?”
Based on our experience, the major flags during the hiring process include:
• Candidate does not mention past failures.
• Candidate exaggerates his or her answers.
• Candidate takes credit for the work of others.
• Candidate speaks poorly of past bosses.
• Candidate cannot explain job moves.
• People most important to candidate are unsupportive of change.
• For managerial hires, candidate has never had to hire or fire anybody.
• Candidate seems more interested in compensation and benefits than in the job itself.
• Candidate tries too hard to look like an expert.
• Candidate is self-absorbed.
Ch. 5: Sell #
Fit, Family, Freedom, Fortune, Fun