Creating a talent advantage begins with smart hiring. That said, it never ceases to amaze me at the number of people who are charged with hiring who possess absolutely no skill at doing so. While I rarely meet a CEO who is completely comfortable with turning the hiring process over to HR, most of them still seem to acquiesce and do exactly that…”Who should do the hiring?” is a question that more CEOs should spend time pondering. Here’s the thing; Anyone can make a hire, but not all hires are good hires. Smart leaders do more than just hire smart people – they have a smart hiring process and/or methodology. In today’s post I’ll share my philosophy on the best way to insure that you hire tier-one talent.
Put simply; talent matters. The problem is that very few people actually possess the talent to identify talent. Identifying and recruiting talent requires much more than screening a resume and having a set of standard interviewing questions to guide you. There are issues of values, vision, culture, context etc., that need to be creatively and intuitively addressed in the hiring process that often go overlooked because the wrong person is evaluating talent.
Further complicating matters, is just because someone has succeeded in the past doesn’t mean that they’ll be a success for your company. Likewise, just because someone has failed in a previous position doesn’t mean that they might not end-up being a top performer for your company. Assessing talent is in fact a talent… Adding even more complexity to the hiring process is that not all those capable of identifying talent are capable of recruiting the talent by sealing the deal…Think about it, does the person in charge of your hiring process have the experience and charisma to convince a top performer at another company to take a pay cut to work for your company?
While CEO’s can’t be in charge of recruiting, it’s important to realize that CEOs still own responsibility for the outcome – the buck always stops at the desk of the chief executive. I also believe that if HR is solely charged with the recruiting efforts for senior management and executive level positions you’ll end-up with a very weak management and leadership team. Unless your company is a large enough organization to have a Chief Talent Officer, I don’t believe recruiting is an HR function (other than for administrative positions). Rather in most instances, I believe HR should be a compliance, training and risk management function. It is HR’s function to make sure that processes are implemented and followed, but having a mid-level manager attempt to identify or recruit tier-one senior talent is a recipe for disaster. The following commentary came from Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft when he was asked about his philosophy on hiring:
“I did all the hiring myself for a long time. No one joined Microsoft without my interviewing them and liking them. I made every offer, decided how much to pay them and closed the deals. I can’t do that anymore, but I still invest a significant amount of time in insuring that we’re recruiting the best people. You may have technology or a product that gives you an edge, but your people determine whether you develop the next winning technology or product.”
I tend to be similar in positioning to Steve in that I believe one of the highest and best uses of time is to make sure that we attract the best talent for our company and our client companies. I believe that C-level executives can’t afford not to keep their hands in the talent function at some level. In order to insure that you make the best hiring decisions possible, I would strongly recommend that you follow the practices listed below:
- Definition: Make sure that you know exactly what you are looking for, both in terms of the job description, and the profile of the individual most likely to be successful in that role. If you can’t define what you’re looking for, you shouldn’t be looking.
Hiring is a blend of art and science. The reality is that those organizations that identify, recruit, deploy, develop and retain the best talent will be the companies who thrive in the market place. As always, I welcome your comments and feedback below…
10 Steps to Creating a Talent Advantage
Business model innovation can come in many forms that include but not limited to:
- Fulfilling the need differently (from CDs to iPods; from iPods to streaming).
- Fulfilling multiple needs at one shot (embedded camera and video recorder on a smart phone).
- Telling a story to create a need that never existed before (introduction of iPad is a classic example).
- Collecting payment based on outcomes (pay per click, pay per action, pay per lead, pay per visit…you come up with your own).
- Create peace of mind while fulfilling the need (hassle-free returns of goods).
Latin America faces numerous geographical and geopolitical challenges and generally suffers low rankings as a result. But this is not the whole picture; indeed, the contrast between popular conception and underlying activity only serves to make the region’s technological “leapfrogging” all the more impressive.