Everyone agrees that hiring the right employee is a critical step in determining the level of a company’s success regardless of its size or market sector. It is also an accepted rule of thumb that the more senior the hire, the greater the risk in getting it right. But it seems that no matter how accepted this is or what companies do to mitigate the risk of failure, often the hiring process is still a coin flip as to whether a newly hired employee hits the ball out of the park or strikes out.
What is the best way to hire new employees?
Companies and leadership teams continue to struggle with hiring the right executive candidate. Most of the solutions forwarded to address this problem focus on the candidate, the underlying principle being, “if we had greater information about a candidate than we could make more accurate and better hiring decisions.”
This fuels a process with some companies of putting their finalist candidates through a variety of psychological, psychometric, cognitive and skills-based tests. In fact, my entire search practice has been devoted to discovering and implementing qualitative methodologies that allow me to get my arms around detailed behavioral information about all the candidates I interview for a search. I then share the insights gained with my clients at a far earlier stage in the process rather than a quantitative process reserved for only finalist candidates.
However, the reality is that unless you have a search professional who integrates a more in-depth assessment process across the board, regardless of whether it is quantitative or qualitative, the bulk of the data used to make a hiring decision is gained by the interviewing team. And if a company does leverage additional analyses, this is typically reserved for the finalist candidates only. This means that the majority of hiring managers predominantly rely on the feedback and input of the interviewing team to guide a hiring decision.
I believe this is one of the major reasons contributing to the 50/50 chance that a newly hired executive can really deliver the goods in terms of the sought-after impact and results.
Think about it.
A high percentage of hires occur as the result of recognizing gaps in a company’s current state as opposed to its’ desired future state and the need to bring more “future state” employees into the company mix. This is true regardless of the function or business area. However, the problem is that most of the individuals who comprise an interviewing team have the skills, experience, perspective and mindset reflective of a company’s past, where a company has been and where it is now. They do not have the skills, experience, perspective and mindset representative of what is missing and where the company is headed.
This is particularly true with companies that are in an aggressive fast-growth mode, irrespective of whether it is growing from $10 million to $50 million, or $100 million to $300 million, or $1 billion to $2 billion. In most fast-growth companies, the bulk of employees are not representative of the company’s future. They are the ones who have gotten the company to where it is now, and not necessarily the ones who will drive the company to where it is headed.
This phenomenon results in a skewed analysis where an interviewing team is asked to weigh in on a candidate and then often given disproportionate say over a hire.
Hiring Executives – Is There A Better Approach?
Executives who are most representative of the skills, experience, perspective and mindset that are needed for the future and who could have made the biggest difference and delivered the greatest impact are many times ruled out of the process. Executives with whom an interviewing team resonates more, largely due to the comfortability of being more like them in level of skills, experience, perspective and world view, are the ones who are most often recommended to be hired.
Many companies and their leaders understand that in order to get from where they are now to where they want to go, they can’t do the same things that got them to where they are now. They need to undertake different strategies. They need to put in place different processes, and yes, they need to hire different people.
But very few companies and their leaders take the time to think through that this also means that in order to hire different people, they can’t hire how they’ve hired in the past. They need to think differently about the hiring process and demand that their interviewing teams think differently about how they interview candidates.
Interviewing teams need to ask different questions and look for different data than they have in the past. And above all else, they need to recognize their biases to hire people based on a set of criteria that are representative of their past instead of their future.
They need to hire ahead of the curve.
- Posted by Stuart Glassman
- On August 2, 2017
- 0 Comments