Making Hiring Better

Posted by on Aug 16, 2016 in Scott's Notes | 0 comments

Making Hiring Better

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like life is full of contradictions:

  • First of all, it’s getting easier in so many ways, yet so much more complex
  • Kids are typically more challenging to raise as they are becoming more informed, interesting and interactive
  • There is more and more content and less and less to watch
  • Donald Trump……..

And, in the world of business:

As it has become increasingly easier to post and apply for positions yet increasingly difficult to identify and hire great talent.

For all the talk about Human Capital being a company’s most important asset, the exercise of acquiring that talent can be more of a “gauntlet” that does not ensure a successful hire and at times prevents it! When you hear your HR team or a recent hire comment that they survived the interview process you should take action before it becomes the cultural norm.

Experienced talent is in demand and our clients face an environment where the “War for Talent” is fierce. The stakes have never been higher to identify, attract, assess, and hire efficiently the talent you want to join your company.

I emphasized efficiently because it is most often the that last phase in the hiring process where we are seeing our clients have the most challenges with efficiency.  When our clients have approved the hiring of a resource they often have gone through weeks of approvals and want the role filled now (or yesterday).  What is often overlooked is how much control they exercise in that timing.

Our review of our searches over the last year shows that the initial stages of getting candidates in and through the top of the recruiting “funnel” takes TGR anywhere from 25 – 35% of the total elapsed time of the search.  This research and recruitment portion of the process is where there is a great amount of variability as we are engaging many, in search of the few that align to the opportunity and have interest at that time.  In other words, if it takes 3 months to complete a search for an executive, we have typically helped our clients by working through that variability and identifying the top candidates within the first month.  The remaining 65-75% of the search process consists of the client feedback, interview and offer process, variables almost completely controlled by the client.

While it seems that defining an efficient and straightforward “talent acquisition” process should be a given I also know that at the end of the day, even with the best process and intentions “Life Happens, Work happens, $%@! Happens”.  Everyone has these variables to contend with.  The best defense against these free radicals in the process is to ensure a shared commitment at a high level by those involve in the hiring process and a keen attention to who is involved.

As they should be, our clients are focused on making the right hire the first time.  However, our experience is that the more complexity in an interview process (number of rounds, number of interviewers, lack of shared agreement on role priorities, etc) the less efficient, effective and the worse the candidate experience becomes.  Simplicity, clarity and proper expectation setting are the keys to improving the results of the talent acquisition process.  What is exciting is that these are all within the client’s control from the beginning of the search process to the end.  We recommend that just as much care be taken with determining the appropriate process and participants as is given to the requirements for the role itself.

In our next newsletter, I will provide some concrete examples of what the best companies are doing to increase the probability of executing a smooth, efficient, and pleasant process that will yield the desired successful outcome:  a terrific candidate hired into an important position.

In the meantime, here are some points we keep in mind and use to set the stage for every search we conduct.  It’s based on what we’ve learned in translating a theoretically simple and straightforward idea into the “Real World”.  That is, with all the planning in the world we are still dealing with an entirely HUMAN effort so things will come up, flights will be late, emergencies at work or school cause problems.  So, following a bit of a Zen approach and accepting things as they are, recognizing what is within our control an outside it as we search for talent, here are three straightforward recommendations we can all adopt in our approach / mindset and our daily routines and habits:

  • I think it first starts with Empathy – put yourself in the candidates shoes, here’s a recent article from the WSJ on that topic.
  • Treat your Customers and Candidates similarly. For your customers you push your organization to make deadlines (often unreasonable), you clear calendars to address important issues you place a high priority on their satisfaction.  Extending that same courtesy to candidates means you recognize that the interview process is an investment of their time as well.  Making an extra phone call or scheduling a meeting with a candidate after hours or even on weekends to avoid them missing work, keeps them excited, interested, and engaged in the opportunity.
  • Set, Communicate and Meet Expectations – This is all about being deliberate from the outset of the search. Implementing a clear and simple plan and communicating openly and frequently with your search partner. There will likely be circumstances that impact even the best laid plans but with effective communication strong relationships can be built.

Search is a human in all it’s elements the best way to ensure an excellent result is to treat others as you would like to be treated – TGR – The Golden Rule

Getting back to where I started this article on the contradictions of an easier and more complex world and touching on my love for interesting reads, I have recently been telling people about the most riveting book I’ve read in a while.  It’s called Sapiens, and it’s basically the story of us:  humans and humanity.

In addition to being a fascinating history of the evolution of Mankind since Cognitive Revolution, the author presents a hypothesis that “we” were better off – Healthier, simpler, Freer when we were Hunter Gathers and Foragers than we are today.  Coincidentally, in my mind at least, it’s lined up quite nicely thematically with the recent “Story of God” series hosted by Morgan Freeman on the NatGeo channel and the guests often featured on Tim Ferris’s podcasts.   I’ll have some “Scotts notes” on it for the next newsletter along with a summary of my upcoming meeting with Randy Smart, one of the co-Authors of another book we featured on the topic of hiring called Who.