In his book, ‘Good to Great’, Jim Collins suggests that, essentially, the first job of management is to ‘get the right people on the bus, get the right people into the right seats on the bus, and then get the wrong people off the bus.‘
Begin by thinking through the job position carefully; write down the points on a piece of paper (Job Description sheet ? ). Write out a list of all of the characteristics and qualities that you would want in the ideal person for the job vacancy you are hiring for. First, focus on the specific, measurable results and outcomes that you expect the new employee to achieve.
The second factor you should look for is the set of basic characteristic skills that the job applicant will need to get the results that the job requires. Interview carefully to make sure that the candidate has demonstrated in the past the skills you have identified for the job success. As the renowned management expert Peter Drucker said, “Only past performance is an accurate predictor of future performance.”
Finally, hire as much for attitude, personality and character as you do for job skills. Make sure that the new person will fit in comfortably with your company culture and work well with yourself and others. If you select people with the right attitude and personality, you can train and manage them to do the job well. Knowledge of a product or service can be imparted, while attitude, personality and character is ingrained in the job applicant’s mind that is difficult to alter or change in some cases.
Jim Collins, through his book, talks about the following in his ‘Law of Three’ principle ( my comments are being mentioned along side with Jim’s points)-
1. Interview at least three Job applicants for any specific job assignment – when you do that, you get to compare and contrast the qualities of different applicants. Here, at the same time, I do not recommend getting too many applicants being interviewed for the same position. If you know what you want, you can be clear and specific about whom you want to select. In effect, there will be no waste of time – neither yours nor mine. Good homework is required before setting out to recruit the right candidate !
2. Interview the shortlisted candidate at three different times – I feel, the applicant is at his best in not revealing everything about himself in the first interview, but as you go ahead with the next two interviews, you get to know the ‘real’ personality of the candidate. In my opinion, in subsequent interviews, revelation need not be of his weaknesses alone, it can be also of his strengths or talent that he could not get a chance or an occasion to reveal during the earlier interview.
3. Get the shortlisted candidate interviewed by three different interviewers – If you observe well, the HR department looks for different qualities when compared what the Sales & Marketing department looks for ! The need of the hour for the Sales & Marketing team may be quick measurable results and the presence of requisite talent in the shortlisted candidate, while the HR department may insist on employee stability and longevity of candidate’s past employment. In my opinion, both are important, but prioritizing will be based on the current needs or the ‘task ahead’ of the client company. Remember, most decisions are judgmental, keeping in mind the extent of personal influence of the interviewer while making decisions. So, go ahead – get different points of view from three interviewers before rejecting or selecting the shortlisted candidate.
4. Check at least three references that are provided by the shortlisted candidate. Because, in order to be nice to the job applicant who is really in need of a job, most employers will only give you the dates of employment of the candidate. But there are still several questions that you can ask, to glean useful information about the shortlisted candidate. Do not forget to ask the key question, ‘Would you hire this person back again if he applied to you for a job ?’ This question will definitely invite the right answer from his past employer.
While recommending a candidate to be recruited, I seek to meet the long term interests of the employer (who is my client company) and the shortlisted candidate. I do not wish to hurry up and fill the vacant position as soon as possible. But, I do not want to delay the selection process either ! When we delay in our decision-making process, there is a good probability that the suitable shortlisted applicant will land another job for himself, while he waits for my answer. I am very clear about my executive search efforts and do not wish to loose a good candidate because of any delay in the selection process. This has happened with me and my client, a leading multi-national company in the Information Technology industry at Mumbai. After the first interview, the client did not respond in time and the shortlisted candidate took up another employment with the competition of my client company. So, we could not recruit him since we were late. That resulted in a real loss, keeping in mind all the efforts made by my client company and myself to get him on board.
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