October 8, 2015 / Articles We Like / HR / Talent Management

On “A hiring manager shares HR’s common hiring secrets”

Because recruiting and vetting top talent is a high priority in Silicon Valley, this article struck us as interesting to share. Some HR professionals vet candidates in ways that fall outside a company’s standard recruiting and hiring procedures.

In the Fast Company article, A Hiring Manager Shares HR’s Common Hiring Secrets, by Christine Diodonato and Marianne Hayes, learn some common (but not always compliant) ways HR can go about vetting potential employees, to ensure a cultural fit with the company and the demands of the open position.

What are some unique ways your HR team tries to ensure a potential candidate is a good fit?

September 10, 2015 / Articles We Like / HR / Talent Management

On “How to use culture interviews to build a better team”

Hiring can be a risky process for all companies. Good hires contribute positively to company goals and company culture, but bad hires are costly and disruptive to team dynamics. For startups, finding potential employees with the right mix of experience, skills and culture fit is becoming the norm. Company culture is a key determinant of startup success or failure, so many are placing an emphasis on culture in the interview process. This is one approach we think many companies will benefit from knowing about, as the process does more than uncover the person behind the resume  – it can contribute to trust and employee engagement as well.

In the CIO.com article, “How to use culture interviews to build a better team”, by Sharon Florentine, learn how some companies go beyond behavioral interviewing to emphasize company culture in their interview process. The article outlines tips as well as pitfalls.

What techniques do you use to assess cultural fit of potential employees?

May 15, 2015 / Articles We Like / HR / Talent Management

On “5 Dos and Don’ts of Talent Development”

Effective talent management processes balance internal talent development with the introduction of new talent into an organization. The blend of existing high-potential talent and the qualities and experiences fresh high-potential talent can infuse into your culture is what enables innovation.

Leadership guru, Louis Carter’s recent article on Human Resources Online, 5 Dos and Don’ts of Talent Development, highlights five ways to effectively recruit and develop high-potential talent. From developing a common language to discuss potential through allowing process ownership, these five suggestions combined with five tendencies to avoid, remind us all of the importance in balancing tradition with innovation.

What are some ways your organization strikes the balance between tradition and innovation in your high-potential talent management processes?

April 8, 2015 / HR / Talent Management / Wisetalk

WiseTalk Summary on Hiring Top Talent

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.

Favorite Quote:
“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 It:
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.

March 27, 2015 / Articles We Like / HR / Talent Management

On “How to Hire the A-team”

The war for talent in Silicon Valley is real. Many of the companies we work with have been focused on recruiting only the best, but may be experiencing mixed results. Much has been said about the need to disrupt outdated recruiting and hiring practices so it’s not surprising that companies are challenged, especially as the war heats up. This month, we share this article because it offers insights on why companies may not be able to find top talent, and ideas for re-engineering your hiring processes so that you can.

According to Lou Adler, author of the Inc. article, “How to Hire the A-team,” companies are challenged because they are using the same methods to hire the A-team that they use to hire everyone else. In working with companies, he encounters five common challenges that they face, such as a need to rewrite job descriptions, prepare career-oriented messaging, and an ability to recruit passive candidates. Get tips to address these (and more) by reading the article.

How has your company been able to find top talent?

February 2, 2015 / Book Reviews

Book Review | Finding the Next Steve Jobs

finding-the-next-steve-jobsFinding the Next Steve Jobs: How to Find, Keep and Nurture Creative Talent
By Nolan Bushnell with Gene Stone

Head: 3 ( out of 5)
Heart: 4 ( out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: 4 ( out of 5)

Companies want to cultivate creative thinking in employees, believing that without it, they won’t survive. And it’s true: creativity sparks new ideas and when it permeates the culture, leads to competitive advantage.  Companies, therefore, need talent passionate about the present as much as about the future, and who don’t mind being considered different.  A diverse and inclusive workforce is a recipe for innovation in today’s business environment.

The author, Nolan Bushnell, is the founder of Atari Corporation and Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theater. He knows a thing or two about finding and hiring creative talent. Drawing on his experience, each chapter offers insight and tips on how to do just that. While the focus of this book is on hiring creative talent, the innovative concepts could apply to recruitment of other talent. The ideas force us to rethink traditional recruiting and hiring practices, which many studies have shown to be flawed.

Some the ideas presented include:

  • Hiring for Passion and Integrity: Passion is a quality that is inherent; one can’t be trained to be passionate.
  • Ignore Credentials: Employers should stop using a college degree as a sole qualification for employment. Instead, ask unusual questions to test for curiosity and resourcefulness.
  • Look for Hobbies: Hobbies tell us about passions
  • Hire Under Your Nose: Observe people doing their jobs outside of your workplace. Talent can be found anywhere.
  • Comb Through Tweets:  Use Twitter to identify talent. Twitter is a means of expression for many and a lot can be learned by their tweets.

Leaders and human resource professionals interested in building an innovative culture that thrives in the future will want to read this book. Buy it now.


January 30, 2015 / Articles We Like

On “The Way We Hire Is All Wrong”

Many studies have shown that recruiting processes are broken. For example, a 2012 study by consulting firm Leadership IQ showed that out of 20,000 new hires, 46% had failed within 18 months. That’s an incredibly high failure rate given the amount of effort involved! Working in Silicon Valley with many leading and cutting-edge companies needing quality talent to grow, we believe it’s time to disrupt this process!  That’s why we share this article.

Deborah Branscum’s Medium article, “The Way We Hire Is All Wrong”, tells the story of a 2-day hackathon as an innovative way for employers to observe prospective candidates in action, doing real work. Read about the writer’s experience and her conclusions now!

What do you think about the traditional recruiting process? What innovative suggestions do you have for disrupting the process?