On March 30, 2015, Sue hosted Lou Adler, CEO/Founder of The Adler Group, a training and search firm which helps companies make hiring top talent a systematic business process, and author of the books, The Essential Guide for Hiring and Getting Hired: A Performance-based Hiring Handbook and the Amazon best-seller, Hire With Your Head. Lou explained why the wrong talent strategies hinder the ability to hire the right talent, and shared an overview of how performance-based hiring can bridge that gap.
“If you want to hire a great person, you need a great job. It’s not a bunch of skills. Skills and competencies describe a person, not a job.”
- When it comes to hiring the A-team, Lou has seen many companies use the wrong strategy. It starts with an assumption of a surplus of talent. Then, a boring job is posted, candidates are interviewed and companies hope they can hire someone from that pool quickly. According to Lou, this is fundamentally a bad strategy. A top person is not looking for a lateral move and not looking for speed. Companies are too focused on the cost of hiring rather than on the impact of hiring good people. Instead, they need a strategy that goes after the A-level person.
- Because top people are looking for career moves, a generic job description, with a generic listing of skills and competencies, does little to attract the talent companies are looking for. Instead, Lou says to focus on the work, make the work impactful and customized to the person. Tell them what they’re going to do. For example, “build a team of accountants to go IPO in 6 months” has more impact than “5 years of experience with CPA from Big4 accounting firm.” Stop trying to force fit people into generic job descriptions.
- Performance-based hiring is impactful because it starts with a mindset of talent scarcity, and is a systematic business process. Job descriptions reflect the work to be done. A talent-centric sourcing process establishes an ideal candidate profile of the person taking the job at the onset to identify passive candidates and build a talent pool. Interviewing questions are tied to related performance objectives. According to Lou, this method leads to no more than four candidates for interviewing. It’s a quality over quantity approach.
Try reframing your typical job descriptions into performance-based jobs. Ask your company’s hiring manager these questions:
- What does the person need to do to be successful doing this job? What would they need to do within 30 days to indicate they’re on point to get there? Once you understand the objectives, then process the steps to get the final objective.
- Alternatively, look at job description language, i.e. 5 years of X or X personality, such as “must be aggressive,” and ask, “What does this look like on the job?” Here, you are converting important skills and experiences to how they make an impact on the job.
What we found most interesting:
Many companies still use behavioral interviewing to hire. However, Lou said there is lack of research to prove it predicts performance, that technique only minimizes mistakes. He believes generic competencies are not universal, due to many situational issues that determine if someone will be successful or not in a position. He went on to say, “Few people are motivated to do every type of work, under every situation, in every circumstance, for every person.”
To learn more about Lou’s experience, listen to the WiseTalk recording.