While hiring the top talent for your business may seem like an obvious priority, many companies do not have the time or resources to do it well. Most business owners will tell you that one of the most expensive mistakes they make is hiring the wrong person, which is why businesses hire full-service staffing firms because they have the skills and expertise to find the top talent perfect for their clients’ needs. Hiring managers for businesses have a tendency to post traditional job descriptions requiring a predetermined number of years of experience plus a long laundry list of necessary skills. While this approach may seem like the path of least resistance, it’s often not successful. The key to successfully identifying top talent is focusing on performance, rather than experience. Unfortunately, many business owners and hiring managers focus on the latter because that’s what they know, but they tend to make the wrong decision much of the time. Staffing firms take a different approach to top talent acquisition.
More Successful Approach
Lou Adler, CEO of the Adler Group, suggests “creating a performance profile listing the top 6-8 performance objectives in priority order describing the actual job requirements.” These types of job descriptions allow the technical and non-technical skills listed in the traditional job description to be described with outcomes and not random requirements.
Adler also believes that so-called soft skills are not soft at all, but in fact, critical for assuring success. Good soft skills act as the impetus for perfected technical skills. These soft skills include assertiveness, courage, influencing others, being accountable, collaborating, problem-solving, organizational skills, initiative, communication, customer service, cultural fit and leadership.
The difficult and time-consuming part, of course, is assessing those skills. Many business owners and hiring managers may be tempted to simply rely on the candidate’s claim that they have these skills, but taking the time to find out if they actually do is the difference between hiring successful salespeople and hiring the wrong person. Staffing firms can assist with this process. Adler advises after preparing a performance-based job description to use the following approach to assessing these skills:
- Ask candidates to explain their comparable major accomplishments for each objective.
- Engage in a conversation with the candidate about a problem they are likely to encounter while on the job.
- Complete a “scorecard,” which weighs the factors predicting performance.
Don’t Rely on First Impressions
The tendency of hiring managers and business owners who focus on experience, rather than performance is that they make the mistake of relying on first impressions. For example, they may like a candidate and make the mistake of asking questions during the interview to validate their feelings instead of accurately judging his qualifications. Or, a good candidate may be overlooked because of a negative first impression which leads to an interview validating the negative feelings. The outcome, often, is hiring the wrong person. So how does a recruiter ensure that those mistakes do not happen? First, they can help create a script for the interview to increase objectivity. Recruiters encourage interviewers not to make any decisions for at least 30 minutes. Second, at the end of the interview, the recruiter may ask the interviewers to reflect whether their first impressions about the candidate will help or impede his or her job performance. According to an article in Inc., “when you get emotionally impacted by a candidate’s first impression the likelihood of making the best hiring decision is reduced by 50%. As bad, when you overvalue a person’s technical skills before the person’s team skills the likelihood of making the best hiring decision is reduced by another 50%.”
For more information about how we can help you, contact us.