Difference Makers: Corporate Hiring Authorities

Sep 29, 2008

It’s no secret that a major driver of corporate success is putting the right person in the right role the first time. In fact, statistics from the Harvard Business Review and other leading human resources thought leaders indicate that as much as 60%-85% of the retention problems many companies face are directly related to defects in the hiring process. To properly reverse this trend, hiring authorities in high-touch, high-tech markets must be able to benchmark the role; that is, to develop a complete understanding of the job itself, and the skills, experience, traits, values, and motivations necessary for success. Once complete, a systematic process for behavioral interviewing and talent selection must be employed to identify, select, onboard and retain true difference makers.

What is a Difference Maker?

A difference maker is someone who is willing and able to fill all aspects of the role with confidence, one who consistently delivers on objectives, and who leads her team to peak performance. In many cases a difference maker shakes things up, brings forth change, demands results and at times, and is not the most popular person on the team. They hit their targets, and inspire their teams to do the same.

Difference makers are motivated. Difference makers tell the truth, they don’t cover up mistakes, and they are completely accountable for what works and what doesn’t. They take responsibility. Proactive, solution-oriented leaders, difference makers take action. Their values align with those of the organization, and these values drive day-to-day behaviors that pursue excellence.

How to Find — and Keep — a Difference Maker

In the war for talent, the challenges most organizations face are not limited simply to the unavailability of qualified people. In many cases, the hiring process is not set up to properly identify those who can truly make a difference. Focusing only on the skills and experience needed, hiring authorities often pay too little attention to values, motivations, habits, work styles, behaviors, and cognitive abilities. These are often left for the interview to uncover and interpret, and this is where the process breaks down.

What’s needed is a detailed approach to benchmarking the role and identifying the characteristics of likely top performers. Before you open that next job requisition, many questions must be answered, including:

  1. What corporate objectives cannot be met without this difference maker?
  2. What impact is this role expected to make on the organization in the next 3, 6, 9, and 12 months?
  3. What values, motivations, skills, work styles, and learning abilities will position the incumbent for success?

Once these and many other questions are answered, employ a behavioral interviewing and selection process that helps you identify, engage, and develop difference makers with unprecedented success.