Predicting quality of hire before the person starts on the job requires three conditions to be true. Most managers ignore them all and wonder why the person underperformed.Hiring great people starts long before you need to hire them. If you're always reacting to some critical hiring need, it's unlikely either you or the person being hired will make the right decision.
As long as your plan ahead and know the types of people you’ll be hiring in early 2016, there is no mystery to hiring the best of them.
Here are 10 proactive things you can do now to get ready for next year. Try them out if you want to hire stronger people than you did this year or you just want to duplicate what you accomplished without as much pain.
Avoid the Hiring Catch-22. You can't assume there's a surplus of talent in a talent scarcity situation. Most companies have hiring processes based on weeding out the weak rather than attracting the best. Designing your hiring processes around the assumption that there's a scarcity of top people is the first step in hiring more top people.
Plan ahead. You need a workforce plan in place today (3-4 months ahead) addressing 80% of your hiring needs for Q1 2016. If not, you won't be seeing enough good people when you need to start interviewing them.
Define outcomes, not inputs. Top people, whether active or passive, want to know what they'll be doing before they'll even discuss the possibility of changing jobs. That's why performance profiles need to be created before the requisition is opened.
Use marketing 101 to attract career-oriented people. There is no law that requires a company to post its internal job descriptions. Job branding and creative advertising is replacing employer branding as a means to attract the best people. This shift will attract people with a career focus rather than an economic need.
Use the 2-Step to prevent unqualified applicants from clogging your system. Rather than driving people to the apply button right away, ask them to submit a short write-up of a major accomplishment related to the job. The challenge of the job will attract people who are up for the challenge. The least qualified will self-select out.
Offer a 30% non-monetary increase. The basis for any career move needs to be the sum of the increase in job stretch (i.e., bigger job), job growth and job satisfaction. If this is at least 30%, compensation will be far less important.
Predict quality of hire before making an offer. Three things need to exist to accurately predict quality of hire: 1) the job must be clearly defined as a series of performance objectives, 2) the person must have done comparable and exceptional work in comparable environments, and 3) the job needs to represent a 30% non-monetary increase for the candidate. If these conditions don't exist, the quality of hire will be problematic.
Use an exploratory phone screen to minimize hiring manager bias. Most hiring errors can be attributed to the hiring manager taking a shortcut to make the assessment. The biggest shortcuts are judging the candidate on first impressions, intuition or the depth of the person's technical skills. A 30-minute exploratory phone screen eliminates 50% of these self-induced errors.
Eliminate the vicious cycle of disengagement during the negotiating phase. Too many companies and candidates alike overvalue what they give and get on the start date: the company, the job title, the location and the compensation. This leads to thevicious cycle of underperformance, dissatisfaction and turnover. It's avoided when the decision to hire and accept is based on what the person will learn, do and could become if successful.
Train your recruiters in consultative selling techniques. Recruiting the best people involves a consultative sales process. It's rarely about the money. Most recruiters are too transactional and don't understand the difference. With LinkedIn Recruiter it's easy to find exceptional people at the top of the funnel. Getting them hired requires exceptional recruiters to guide them through it.
These are not rocket science ideas. They're just 10 commonsense approaches that have been shown to work in all situations in all types of economies. The bigger and more difficult idea, though, is doing all of them all of the time with all managers for all hires. Collectively, this is what a scalable business process for hiring top talent needs to look like. But it needs to start one hire at a time.