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Building The Right Team, With The Right Stuff, in the Right Way

by
Margaret Graziano
Oct 29, 2008, 5:56 am ET

Have you ever thought you hired the workplace version of John Wayne, only to find out you’ve been duped and ended up with a Woody Allen?

How Can We Improve Our Ability to Hire Right the First Time?

The two most common hiring traps are hiring in a hurry and hiring the resume rather than the person.

Companies that don’t have succession plans in place or that fail to practice cross-training often rush to relieve the pain of the empty chair. Businesses that ignore the hiring process in the interest of expediting it are far more susceptible to missing important clues that could otherwise prevent a poor hiring decision.

Articles from Harvard Business Review, Spherion, and Kenexa report that more than 65% of all candidates do not prepare their own resumes and more than 45% of job applicants misrepresent the credentials on their resumes with one or more “tall tales.”

A third and very common hiring trap is to hire based on a job description. These typically list a subjective interpretation of required job skills and experience. By highlighting only hard skills, they leave out the most critical elements such as key performance objectives, behaviors, values, character traits, and soft competencies — the defining criteria that lead to effective performance.

There is tremendous pressure on hiring managers to keep their organizations fully staffed and productive. But, how does one meet these demands without falling into hiring traps?

What is an Internal Hiring Process, and How Do We Create One?

If you hire someone you don’t really know, for a position you have not thoroughly defined — chances are neither the person, nor the position will deliver. Hiring the right people right from the start requires implementation of a comprehensive internal hiring process that selects the best and eliminates the rest.

Importantly, it all starts with benchmarking. Whether benchmarking the role, the top performers in that role, or benchmarking key traits of the best performers in the company as a whole, the first step is creating the model of what right looks like. Companies that take the time and effort to do so fully understand not only who they need, but why they need them. These are the companies that excel in the employee selection process and the capacity to build a “dream team.”

What “Right” Looks Like

Before you evaluate your immediate needs, evaluate the company and team. This is called the Internal Human Capital Inventory & Assessment, and involves:

Evaluating your core culture:

  • Acknowledge your corporate values.
  • Assess the character quotient of your company.
  • Identify the non-negotiable character traits or core values for your company.

Evaluating your current team:

  • Identify your key players and what innate abilities and traits make them successful.
  • Identify what’s working on the team and what isn’t.
  • Identify what elements are missing on the team that, if present, would make a positive difference.

Implementing a system for evaluating and selecting new hires and internal promotions:

  • Establish a hiring protocol and train everyone on the hiring to use and follow it.
  • Create companywide candidate-screening ground rules.
  • Create a role-specific hiring benchmark for every role. Focus on the key performance indicators as they relate to the corporate strategy. Then isolate the core functions that the candidate would need to perform. Define the behaviors, values, habits, attitudes, and abilities of the ideal candidate. List the skills and experience required to limit ramp-up time.
  • Validate and select the right assessment tools.
  • Create behavioral-based interview models for each role in the company.
  • Establish a decision-making matrix (a weighted chart with a point value for each part of the puzzle, experience = 5; behaviors =10; skills =7, habits =15, values/motivators =15).

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel regarding any threatened or pending litigation.

  1. David Dalka

    “A third and very common hiring trap is to hire based on a job description. These typically list a subjective interpretation of required job skills and experience. By highlighting only hard skills, they leave out the most critical elements such as key performance objectives, behaviors, values, character traits, and soft competencies — the defining criteria that lead to effective performance.”

    I couldn’t agree with this more…how do we as a group change that back to creating a conversation about culture, common sense and finding the curious lifelong learners who can innovate and bring breakthroughs for my business. At a recent conference it was suggested that recruiters understand this and that a new generation of hiring managers need to be trained on this mindset.

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