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Jim Roddy

Jim Roddy is the president of Jameson Publishing and author of the book “Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer,” which features hiring lessons, interview best practices, and recruiting strategies for managers through the perspective of a cancer-surviving executive. For more information on the book, go to http://www.HireLikeYouJustBeatCancer.com.

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What LeBron James Can Teach Us About Hiring

by Jul 14, 2014, 12:16 am ET

Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 9.17.23 PMI’m amused when sports analysts state their predictions with near certainty. Take for example ESPN’s David Thorpe saying on July 10 that the chances of NBA superstar LeBron James returning to the Miami Heat next season were 99 percent. The following day, James announced he would play for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

We hiring managers and recruiters know you can’t guarantee human performance. The best you can do is conduct pre-employment tests, ask candidates insightful interview questions, gather gobs of important data about them, and then play the percentages based on your analysis of the data.

For example, if Candidate A has a track record of switching jobs every six to nine months and Candidate B has reached 10 years of tenure for her two previous employers, who should you reasonably bet will remain with your company five years from now? There’s no guarantee if you select Candidate B they will stay with your organization a long time, but the odds are in your favor.

Which brings me back to LeBron and to an important hiring rule of thumb. keep reading…

Is Your Hiring Process Too Friendly?

by Apr 22, 2014, 3:38 am ET

Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 12.32.55 AMWe all agree that nothing ruins a workplace culture like a jerk co-worker or a rude manager. But how do you uncover those characteristics in your pre-employment interviews? Even Vladimir Putin can seem charming if you only ask questions like What are your career goals? What motivates you? and What are you looking for in a job? before making an offer.

Your hiring process needs to occasionally challenge the candidate to see how they react to pressure. The best way to do this is to share criticisms with the candidate so you can experience firsthand — through your own eyes and your own ears — how they respond.

Before I expand upon that concept, I want to make sure my advice is balanced. Yes, the candidate should be challenged, but you must also achieve these five emotional outcomes during your interview process: keep reading…

Hire for Bench Strength or Brace for Failure

by Mar 25, 2014, 5:29 am ET

Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 8.25.05 PMBaseball spring training is here, so it’s a perfect time for us to talk about the importance of an organization’s bench strength. When you think about all-time greatest baseball players, near the top of the list are legends Ted Williams, Ty Cobb, Ernie Banks, Rod Carew, Tony Gwynn, and Harmon Killebrew.

Guess how many World Series championships those Hall of Famers won combined? As many as you and me: Zero. Those players all set individual major league records, but their teams never won the ultimate prize.

Tying that point to our organizations, we can’t be satisfied having just a couple superstars on our team and no bench strength to support them. Ultimately, we won’t win. Our organizations won’t achieve key goals in a timely manner, and we run the risk of sliding backwards if we lose one of our superstars.

Too often, we hire people whose full potential and ambition are invested in performing the jobs they’re hired for. Then, when we need more from them, they’re not able or willing to go the extra mile.

Your goal should be to have at all times (or be working toward) at least one employee with the skills, personality, character, ambition, and technical competence to take over each key position in your organization right away. Without this, your company will be unable to attain its growth goals quickly, reducing future profits and opportunities for your co-workers to achieve their career goals.

Also, if a key player is incapacitated for a couple months or longer, your organization could be damaged. I learned that lesson the hard way when I was diagnosed with cancer. But I was fortunate that we had hired several high-potential people who filled in for me when I was sidelined by my surgery and chemo treatments.

Here are four important actions I suggest you take to improve your bench strength:  keep reading…

Before You Require Poem Writing, Take These 7 Steps to Ensure Your Hiring Matches Your Culture

by May 22, 2013, 6:45 am ET

Screen Shot 2013-05-19 at 10.17.15 PMDuring a trip to a suburban mall near Cleveland, I saw a man wearing a jacket with a logo for Hyland Software, a business-to-business software developer whose global headquarters are located nearby. In the B2B world, Hyland has a reputation of being a stellar employer with a fun streak. As evidence, it has a giant tube slide in the middle of its headquarters and has earned several top workplace awards in recent years.

Hyland also has a quirk in its interview process. Candidates applying online are required to write and submit a poem. Not an essay, not a biography — a poem. How does that strike you? keep reading…

Lousy Hires = Lousy Culture. Go Figure.

by Apr 10, 2013, 6:28 am ET

WegmanFamily1One reason I get a kick out of reading business books is because their themes frequently come to life and smack you right in the nose at work the next day. Recently I read “The Energy Bus” and underlined this passage: Negative people often tend to create negative cultures whereas positive corporate cultures are created by positive people.

It’s almost a ridiculously obvious statement, but how many companies act like this isn’t true? When the corporate higher-ups get word employees are complaining, they’ll email an all-employee survey, post motivational quotes on bulletin boards, roll out a new contest, and maybe even treat the team to lunch.

That would be like your plan to slim down for the summer centers on wearing vertical stripes while you keep eating your stash of Twinkies and Ding Dongs. You’re masking the problem instead of actually solving it.

One company with an amazing culture is regional supermarket chain Wegmans, who regularly appears near the top of Fortune Magazine’s annual 100 Best Companies To Work For list. Wegmans has the friendliest staff I’ve ever encountered while pushing a cart, and their attitude has little to do with formal training. First and foremost, Wegmans seeks to hire friendly people who are inclined to help others. Its people smile a lot because they can’t help it, not because of some corporate edict.

Experiencing a positive atmosphere when shopping for bananas is great, but more gratifying is interacting with upbeat people Monday through Friday at your workplace. Before I describe one method to hire positive people, let me share with you some specifics about Connor, a sales rep we hired less than a year ago. keep reading…

8 Steps to Fixing Your Awful Recruiting Website

by Mar 8, 2013, 5:44 am ET

PrintI need you to do a little homework on my company’s website before we talk about yours. The purpose of this exercise is for you to gain some perspective on the transition we’ve made from a product-focused site to a people-focused site.

Clicking on this link will take you back to my company’s website circa 2006 before we revamped it to focus on attracting new employees rather than solely promoting our products. Now go to Jameson Publishing and check out its people-focused design.

Designed for prospective customers, our old site was all about our products. Our new and improved site still serves customers, but its main purpose is to inform and entice prospective candidates.

Implement these eight techniques to ensure that your website attracts candidates: keep reading…

Terminations: A True Test of Your Company Culture

by Dec 19, 2012, 5:58 am ET

All of us have heard about messy terminations, and some of us have witnessed them firsthand. The most memorable are the employee who is escorted from the building, scowling at managers on the way out, or the guy who punches a hole in the conference room drywall in a fit of frustration. There’s also the person who quits without confrontation or communication, packing up their things when nobody’s watching, and leaving an “I Quit!” note for their supervisor.

The circumstances around other terminations are just plain awkward, and when you see the ex-employee in the grocery store, you unknowingly head to the Tampax aisle (even though you’re a single guy) just to avoid the conversation.

How can you avoid ugly terminations? Here are four suggestions for building the right culture: keep reading…

How to Avoid America’s Biggest Hiring Mistake

by Nov 8, 2012, 2:17 am ET

One of my frustrations with the recently completed political campaigns was the implication that if we elected Candidate A, our business problems would be solved. You and I know that’s not true; an organization determines its own fate. We have the ability to navigate towards success — especially if you’re a recruiter or hiring manager.

Here’s a mistake holding back many businesses: recruiters and hiring managers overemphasize industry experience and immediately dismiss candidates who do not have specific job-related experience. That might be fine if you’re hiring a doctor or a mechanic. But for most jobs in the business or non-profit sectors, it’s not the right tactic.

Companies miss out on candidates who, if taught the necessary skills, could be excellent employees. It’s unwise to base your conclusions solely on a candidate’s résumé or LinkedIn profile. Always be on the lookout for people who have the personality and character that can advance your organization.

I’m known in some HR circles as the author of a hiring book, but my full-time job is president of a publishing company. A little over two years ago our operations manager resigned, and the first person I called and asked to consider the position was someone who had zero publishing experience. I knew he possessed excellent critical thinking and people management skills based on this real-life experience he and I shared.

I had crossed paths with Kyle off-and-on over the years in recreational basketball leagues. When a neighbor of mine told my wife about shoddy treatment she received from a local fitness center (where Kyle worked as a manager), I gave him a call. keep reading…

Real Reference Checks Require These 8 Steps

by Oct 30, 2012, 5:13 am ET

A few days ago I received a call from a business owner conducting a reference check on a former co-worker of mine. She kept me on the phone for nearly a half hour to ask me several probing questions about the potential hire. I’ve fielded many reference calls over the years, but none of them were as strong as this one.

The typical call I get lasts five minutes with the reference checker basically saying, “We adore this candidate. You love ‘em, too, right?” They make the call hoping I won’t say anything that will cause concern about the candidate which would throttle their company back to square one of the hiring process.

These actions will help you conduct a real reference check instead of a quick cursory call: keep reading…

Hire Candidates With These 5 Traits — or Prepare to Perish

by Oct 2, 2012, 5:24 am ET

Take 30 seconds to read this passage from this year’s Global CEO Study from IBM. You’ll find it either unsettling or reassuring based on your recruiting practices.

For years, organizations have been embroiled in the so-called war for talent. The challenge has historically been a shortage of particular skills. But today, it’s virtually impossible for CEOs to find the future skills they will need — because they don’t yet exist. Bombarded by change, most organizations simply cannot envision the functional capabilities needed two or three years from now … CEOs are increasingly focused on finding employees with the ability to constantly reinvent themselves.

So, was that statement chilling or encouraging? If you hire based on skills only, I’d understand if you’re feeling a cold sweat coming on. Many of the skills listed on the resumes of the last dozen people you hired could be passé by the next presidential election.

But if you hire beyond skills and personality and hold out for certain character traits (which I preach in my new book Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer, where I have a the complete list of character traits plus 258 Tremendous Interview Questions), you have actually future-proofed your organization.

To ensure your team can adapt, hold out to hire candidates with these five character traits. I’ve also listed key questions you should ask during your pre-employment interviews. keep reading…

You Can’t Fake Company Culture to Candidates

by Aug 29, 2012, 5:06 am ET

photo of Dukiet from Boston College, during his time as a player

Bob Dukiet, my hard-driving college basketball coach, would frequently (and loudly) explain why we needed to give a genuine, 100% effort at all times. “You might be able to get away with faking it here in practice,” he’d holler. “But in a game, the other guy will smell you out!” In kinder words, unprepared players and inferior teams get exposed quickly.

That principle applies to your interview process. A sales candidate at my company recently explained that he was pursuing us instead of another local employer because our culture was far superior. When he shadowed members of our team, he found every sales rep to be cheerful, hard working, friendly, and cooperative. Employees at the other potential employer were essentially the opposite. They openly discussed the disharmony at their company, chiding other cliques inside the organization.

If candidates are left alone with your team, what culture will they experience? If several candidates haven’t raved about your organization, stop over-inflating the reality of your culture in your marketing materials and social media campaigns. Get to work on establishing company principles and genuinely integrate them into your business.

Candidates could notice these six aspects of your company culture during your interview process. If you can’t place a check mark next to each item, you have some work to do. keep reading…

5 Ways to Find Candidates Who Fit Your Culture

by Aug 8, 2012, 5:06 am ET

A common mistake of managers is hiring based solely on the candidate’s résumé and skills. This is probably why you’ve crossed paths with so many highly skilled jerks during your career.

Determining a cultural fit isn’t as simple as describing your work environment and then asking the candidate for a thumbs up. In fact, you don’t want to offer details about your culture until near the end of your interview process. Don’t tip your hand by giving information that will coach them on how to answer your initial questions.

Here are my top five techniques to determine if a candidate fits your culture: keep reading…

4 Hazards of Group Interviews

by Jul 18, 2012, 5:16 am ET

Because I’ve written a book on hiring best practices (Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer), I receive emails out of the blue from executives considering a shift in their recruiting strategy. This one is from a hiring manager in Kalamazoo, Michigan followed by my thoughts on his strategy:

One of the ideas I’m thinking about trying is the concept of a ‘group first interview.’ I got the idea from a couple of business owner friends, and they reported great success with it.

The process begins with an invite to all respondents to a local hotel for a two-hour group interview with the first hour being a presentation by our team on our company values, culture, job description, expectations, salary range, etc. Then there’s a short break with an opportunity for anybody who feels that the job is not a fit to leave with no questions asked. I’m told that typically as many as 50% of the candidates leave.

The second hour is for those still interested to be asked behavioral questions by our staff and to take a personality profile test. After that meeting, our staff gets together and identifies those candidates that impressed enough to warrant a second interview, and at that point the interview process takes a more conventional one-on-one approach.

I think the pros to this approach is that there’s much less time spent on the first interview process. Another plus is that you may get to see character traits and personalities that you may not have otherwise seen just by reading resumes. Have you heard of this approach and what are your thoughts?

On the surface, I certainly see the pros in this — being more efficient, focusing less on resumes, and focusing more on if the candidate is the right fit. Those are all solid hiring principles.

But I have four major concerns about this interview format: keep reading…