To be 20% better, all you have to do is be more efficient doing what you’re now doing. To be 100% better, you have to start over.
You've probably heard that there were 6.7 million job openings in July 2018, which exceeded the number of people looking for work, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Yet despite this, every job board says it can deliver these missing people with a free or low-cost posting.
This problem is not new. I’ve been reading these reports for as long as I’ve been in the recruiting industry – 40 years and counting. But solving the problem is not about being 20% better at hiring; it’s about being 100% better. To be 20% better, all you have to do is be more efficient doing what you’re now doing. To be 100% better, you have to reinvent hiring. Here are some ideas on how to get started:
1. Think of hiring as a business system, not independent steps
If all of the steps in hiring (e.g., posting, sourcing, interviewing, recruiting and negotiating offers) aren’t designed from the perspective of how the best people find jobs and accept offers, you won’t hire too many.
2. Don’t let hiring managers have responsibility for hiring
If hiring managers aren’t making great hires 75% of the time, why should they be allowed to continue to hire people? Allowing them to handle this critical task is comparable to assigning your worst engineers, sales reps, accountants, marketing people, executives, etc., to handle your most important work.
3. Think acquaintances, not strangers
When we hire or promote someone we know, his/her performance is highly predictable. More importantly, we decide to hire him/her based on past performance, team skills, work ethic, reliability, and potential to grow. Strangers need to be evaluated the same way.
4. Redefine “qualified” to open the doors to more diverse and stronger talent
Instead of a must-have laundry list of requirements, define the job as 5-6 KPOs (Key Performance Objectives). Performance qualified means the person has done comparable work. Making this shift is how you remove the lid on quality of hire since the best people always have a different mix of skills and experiences.
5. Think Outbound, not Inbound
Inbound means the person applied to a job posting. Outbound means the person was found, recruited, interviewed, and hired. Since 80% of the talent market is not looking, it does not take a marketing genius to suggest you need to spend most of your recruiting and sourcing efforts on the Outbound talent market.
6. AI for Outbound recruiting is not ready for prime time
Regardless of the hype, recognize that AI is only good for screening Inbound talent.AI for Outbound talent requires more complex algorithms. These need to embed the decision-making process of diverse and high potential performers who have multiple options from first contact to the final close.
7. Don’t post your internal job descriptions
Replace these with condensed versions highlighting the one or two major KPOs and why the job is important. Ask interested candidates to submit a short write-up of a comparable major accomplishment rather than applying. Here’s the legal validation for this and why this self-selection process will attract stronger people.
8. Eliminate bias and thumbs
Don’t let anyone have a full vote on whom to hire. Instead, use a performance-based interview that narrows the role of each interviewer to a subset of the factors that best predict on-the-job success.
9. Hire for potential, not skills
The Achiever Pattern reveals if the candidate has been a top-third performer for the bulk of his/her career. This coupled with an upward trend of growth and a track record of doing somewhat comparable work is indicative of a high potential candidate. These are the people who learn fast, achieve more, and raise the talent level at any company.
10. Use the hiring formula for success to make the assessment
The ability to do the work in relationship to fit drives motivation and on-the-job success. Ability is easy to measure but the fit factors are the most important: fit with the job, fit with the culture, fit with the pace and most important, fit with the hiring manager’s leadership style.
There’s too much short-term thinking involved in hiring people for the long term. The solution starts by defining the real work that needs to be done; finding and hiring people based on what they can do, learn and become instead of what they have; and making hiring managers personally responsible for fielding a great team.
If this is not their number one performance objective, hiring top talent is not number one at your company. And making it number one is not about doing it faster, it’s about doing it differently.