Managers don’t just hire people in their own image, the best people accept jobs from managers who are in their own image.
A personal note to hiring managers around the world:
First, don’t read this if you just want to fill your jobs with some reasonably competent people. However, if you want to hire top talent on a consistent basis, this message is for you. It starts by understanding how to tap into the capabilities of strong recruiters.
What Great Recruiters Can Do When Working in Partnership with Hiring Managers
- They’ll make the most important thing you need to do easier.
- They’ll save you time during the hiring process.
- They’ll help you define the job.
- They’ll help you raise the talent level of your department.
- They’ll help make you more productive.
- They’ll minimize the need to waste your time trying to motivate the unmotivated.
- They’ll prevent the hiring of 90-day wonders.
- They’ll help you achieve all of your department goals.
- They’ll help you become a better manager.
- They’ll help you get promoted faster.
However, to get to this state of managerial nirvana, here’s what you must do first.
Recruiting and Hiring Rules for Managers
- Prepare a performance-based job description clarifying the major performance objectives of the job. Every job has 5-6 things a person needs to do to be successful. For example, it’s better to say upgrade the international reporting systems rather than “must have 3-5 years of international accounting and a CPA.” When contacting strong people recruiters must know the job in order to effectively make the case that your opening could be a good career move. (I’m hosting a webcast on January 22, 2014 on how to do this.)
- Benchmark the performance of your best people now doing the job you’re trying to fill. This is a great way to figure out what it takes to be successful. For example, if your best engineers collaborate closely with product marketing before designing anything, add this to the performance-based job description.
- Convert every competency, skill, behavior, and experience requirement into a performance objective by asking “how is this requirement used on the job?”Since these factors are very subjective, it helps to convert each one into a task. For example, when the common trait “must have strong communication skills” converts into “lead the presentation of monthly sales department performance results to the executive team,” it’s easier to assess. In this case, just have the candidate describe where she or he has led major presentations.
- Value potential over experience. Don’t insist on an exact skills and experience match. Instead, tell your recruiters you want to see people who have accomplished more than expected given their current level of skills and experiences. This will open the talent pool to some amazing people.
- Agree to see everyone the recruiter recommends. As a condition for this, have the recruiter prove that the person has accomplished something comparable to the most important tasks described on the performance-based job description.
- Conduct a 30-minute exploratory phone screen before meeting any candidate in person. Not only will this minimize the need to see as many candidates, it will also minimize the impact of first impressions for those you do see.
- During the interview compare the candidate’s major accomplishments to those listed on the performance-based job description. Use the Most Interview Question of All Time for this. (Here’s the full full process.)
- Be fully engaged, flexible and available. Changing jobs for the best people is a critical decision. Hiring managers need to invest extra time in the process to ensure the candidate has a full understanding of the job and it’s upside potential.
- Describe your vision of the job and the impact on the company. Hiring managers don’t just hire people in their own image, the best people accept jobs from managers who are in their own image.
- Take personal responsibility for recruiting the candidate. The best people want to work for managers who are mentors and can help them get them get to where they want to go. Recruiters can orchestrate the process, but it’s up to the hiring manager to seal the deal.
While great recruiters are needed to find, qualify, and present top people to their hiring manager clients, this is only one critical step in hiring the best. Managers must be fully committed and fully engaged every step of the way. Few are. So if want to start seeing and hiring more top people, start by changing how you think about hiring. Then think about how a recruiter can help.