When Attempting to Hire Top Performing Talent, the Last Meeting Needs to be a Planned Meeting to Judge Fit and Motivation

November 29th, 2013

Most companies – when interviewing – structure their process the same.  Candidates are initially run through a screening interview, followed by either a panel interview or a series of structured/unstructured one-on-one interviews.

At the end of this process a yes / no decision is made and if yes, an offer is extended to the candidate.

However, the important final step is missing…a last, “gloves-off” meeting between the hiring manager and the candidate to answer the candidates’ questions, sell them on the opportunity.  It is also a chance for the hiring manager to judge fit and motivation.

The reason is simple.  Through the entire interviewing process, all candidates are in “interview mode”.  They have asked some questions about the job, the expectations, and the company.  However, they have not had the green light to ask “what’s in it for me” or “why, is this for me”?

This last meeting usually doesn’t happen as companies still think all candidates want to come to work for them because they showed up for an interview and the interview processes’ only purpose is candidate selection, a weeding out of candidates – not in telling the candidate what is in it for them.

Recently, a lot of hiring emphasis has been put on cultural fit.  But is it possible to judge a cultural match between candidate and culture? Probably not, as most crystal balls don’t work.  However, understanding the candidate’s motivation in changing positions has become a much more relevant topic as it will dictate “fit” in hiring the high-caliber candidate.

High-caliber candidates fit in any organization.  The real question is, are they motivated to fit?  So, if the hiring manager never has the “gloves off conversation” with candidates about their requirements, their needs, their goals…in other words, their motivation…the company runs the risk of hiring a poor cultural match.

For example, company recently hired a top performing IT candidate.  After   3-4 months of high-performance, the person quit.  During the exit interview, the company found the employee simply did not like the fast pace of the company.

The CIO went back to the interviewing panel and asked if they had investigated whether a fast-paced environment was a good match.  They had, but – of course – the candidate said “yes”. The person was in “interview mode”.  The candidate wanted the job.  A “no” answer would have immediately eliminated him.

A last and final meeting between the hiring manager and candidate – be it breakfast, an offsite lunch, or dinner – to get out of the “interview mode” will be a huge benefit for both candidate and hiring manager.  During this “gloves off meeting”, the hiring manager needs to be able to have a full, complete and open discussion with the candidate about the position and future, making sure the candidate’s desires/motivation are apparent. At the same time, candidates can get all their questions answered and the hiring manager can sell the benefits of the company / job.

When hiring high-caliber staff, cultural fit is not about whether or not a person’s inherent personality fits within the company. It’s really about motivation…does the person want the job, feel the opportunity is challenging, and find the company attractive. It all revolves around communication and full disclosure to make a successful hire.

At Honer and Associates, we understand this.  We can help you recruit the most motivate, talent people in the IT industry.  Contact us today!

Talent Selection is About Candidate Recognition…not Candidate Identification.

November 13th, 2013

A number of decades ago, recruiting firms / employment agencies acted like and competed with   internal Human Resource Departments.  They ran job ads, generated referrals (from both employees and other candidates), targeted the unemployed / available candidate pool, and made recruiting cold calls. Names of candidates were so difficult to come up with that if a candidate answered a recruiter’s classified ad and came to the agency office as a result, the recruiter was expected to get at least 3 referral names of people the candidate knew in the field before leaving the agency office.

Twenty-plus years ago, recruiters were paid to generate names of possible candidates and then go recruit those candidates.

Strong results for a good recruiter was a “hit rate” of about 2 out of 10 – or 20% – as almost everyone used to answer their phone.

However, with the advent of the internet, the Google search engine, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. candidates’ identities are not hidden nor or they attempt to be for any reason. The role of the Executive Recruiter has changed and there is no need to come up with names in covert ways.  Boolean searches work, and LinkedIn houses a database of 225 million people, for example.  An internet-savvy recruiter can generate more candidate names and profiles from the internet than can possibly be reviewed in a week, much less called. The bottom line is that most active IT candidates today can be found on the Internet. So what is the difficulty?

Candidate identification is not the difficulty.  The difficulty comes in separating A/B+ candidates from the rest of market.  The skill of separating these high-caliber candidates from the rest of the market can be broken down into three components:

  1. Need the ability to recognize the A/B+ candidates by looking at resumes and profiles and determine who most likely has performed the best, has a track record of success, and has developed a depth of experience worth noting.
  2. Able to have conversations with those potential candidates and recognize who actually has done the “right things” that would demonstrate a history of outstanding performance.  In other words, how to model and know who are odds-on favorites to be a high-caliber candidate.
  3. Proficient in conducting interviews in a way that validates that the person is in fact a high-caliber, top- performer.

Today, most internal talent acquisition departments identify candidates simply by gathering resumes, and validating skill matches with the position.  These are sent forward to a hiring manager who also does resume skill matches.  These actions are expected to indicate or determine the best candidates to interview. And we hire the best of whom we interview.

If that is all we do, value is not added- it is actually subtracted.  To provide a value-add, screening and interviewing must determine high-caliber, top performer, and competency levels first. Possession of skills relative to the position doesn’t indicate any degree of performance at any level.

In conclusion, it doesn’t make any difference who provides the candidate insight. It is all about recognizing talent, competency, track record of performance, and depth of experience.

At Honer and Associates we work to provide this value add every day – with every client.  If you would like to discuss this topic in a more in-depth level, contact us today!