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Finding the right person for the right role is essential for the success of any business.  The problem we find is that people just don't approach the issue correctly.  Here are some of the common mistakes and what can be done about them.


  • There is no real strategy and no real process around hiring talented staff

    Successful companies work a strategy that includes: type of people they need; how they want to attract these people; what they offer as a value proposition; where these people are likely to work; a well structured objective screening and selection process and an on boarding process that maximises the chance of success.  These companies are looking for talent before they need them.  No matter how small, every organisation should understand what they need and build a pipeline of people.  The future depends on it.
  • The Position Descriptions are unattractive to talented people

    Most position descriptions are about having not doing.  They are boring and unattractive and don't relate to the real job that is required to be done. These PDs are often so diconnected to reality that they ask for exceptional skills that almost no one has and often offer pays for which no one will work.  The advertisements for these positions attract people actively looking for an income with a different company... they are oftern running away from an organisation.
    What you need is the person who is not actively looking.  He is ambitious and driven by challenges.  He wants to progress his career.  He will be attracted by intersting growth opportunities. These are almost never written in the standard Position Description.
    If you are looking for talent, you need to offer a position with growth opportunities and challenges.  You need to attract high performers who may not have all the skills yet their past performance shows you they will meet and exceed the challenges you give them.  Rethink your approach and become attractive to talented people
  • The people involved in hiring are not fully engaged with the process

    We often see that the whole process appears like a chore that people are required to do.  They see it as a tedious task rather than an opportunity to develop the company.  This is seen by potential candidates, and talented people will disengage with the process.  You lose them.
  • The Interview process is superficial and subjective

    Interviewing candidates is a skill and most people involved in hiring just don't have it.  Research has shown that the interview process in most companies fail and are a poor indictator of success.  This is because they are often subjective and unstructured and do not follow a process that leads to uncover the performance based history of the candidate.  Develop objective interview skills around performance based work.
  • The recruitment process is about time to hire and cost of hiring - almost never about the quality of the result

    The cost of a poor hire and the impact on the organisation is always far greater than the cost of the hire.  There is a reason the phrase "Hire in haste and regret at leisure" exists - because it is true.  This represents the very worst aspects of the recruitment industry where a quick turnaround is valued by the recruiter and the company.  It becomes a numbers game not an outcome game.  The metrics should be focused initially on the quality of the candidate and then work on what needs to be done to reduce the cost and time.  This is where the strategy comes into play.  Good hiring and talent aquisition strategy leads to high quality with low costs and reasonable hiring lead times.  Understand what good looks like.  Plan ahead and start the process before you need the people.  Build a talent pool.  Great people will move for the right opportunitiy.  Others want a quick job.  This alone tells you everything about where you are currently positioned and what you should be doing.
  • Companies have a standard salary and position description policy

    This is all very well but it is of very little interest to talented people.  They are likely to outshine all the others.  They will see this as constraining and of little value to them.  Companies should seek some form of standardisation around minimum performance and open ended on high performance. Talented people move because of opportunities and companies need to make these available to them.  The salary may be tied to a position but if the position is about performance and exceptional performance allows for rapid promotion then this becomes attractive.  Promotion should be merit based not years of service or tenure based.  Too many positions decriptions include constraining years of experince statements that can be irrelevant.  Think about what you want to see from talented people and how you may structure the system to allow them to grow.  It is in the interest of every organisation to allow growth and development.
  • No active "Talent Improvement" program.

    Companies that are growing have a active talent improvement program.  This can be as simple as always hiring smarter people for any position as a policy norm or having a more structured program that actively measures and seeks out people with talent in the areas they need.  I have heard many sayings around "improving the stock" or "culling".  Every organisation has people who are just not pulling their weight or are not engaged and really should not be working there.  Jack Welch reports that when he was at GE they culled the lower 10% of performers.  Google have done their own research that has shown overall performance quality deterioration if you hire people who are above the lower quartile in performance.  They hire people you are always above the mean in performance and seek to maintain high standards.  Create a policy of continual performance improvement.
  • Narrow Screening Process

    Most screening tools are algorithms that look for key words.  This allows smart (cunning) people to get through the screening process only to cause extra work during the evaluation process.  Start to get better at using algorithms that include performance and outcome related phrases not just key words.