If great companies are truly made of great people, getting mid-tier hiring right is an essential process. This talent well be your future leaders, those that will determine the success or failure of your organisation. Finding candidates with the highest potential and making good hiring decisions requires a different way of looking at talent acquisition. Here we share five questions that reflect some of our own experience on evaluation of good hires and how to find the person behind the candidate.
1. Why would anyone work for you?
How do you differentiate your organisation from the competition? How do you present your employee value proposition (EVP) to new potentials and ensure that it is truly relevant to them? Who are you really seeking to attract and do your EVP and your application messages really speak effectively to that audience? What do you know about your best performers and why they work for and stay with your company? Why did they join you and what messages do they feel you need to send into your target talent pools to attract people like them? Understanding all of this provides a great hiring template. If you really want to compete for high performing talent, keep checking back with them throughout your hiring process as to their needs and how best your organisation might meet them.
2. Check for a Halo Effect
Much has been written about the influence of the halo effect, whereby if we first see a person in a good light, it is subsequently difficult to darken that light. Even the most experienced leaders can fall in to the trap of making decisions at interview borne from placing an oversized value on an attribute, element of knowledge or a shared experience, which further undervalues other aspects of a candidate. Are you benchmarking the candidate firmly against the original and objective needs analysis or allowing influence from subjective familiarity or admiration for a non-essential attribute?
3. Do they demonstrate stretch and flexibility?
As employers, the most successful hires we make are those which consider the stretch potential of a new talent. Good performers want to know that there is opportunity for them to grow and improve within your firm. As hiring managers, we want to know that the new hire will be adding value through promotion or increased responsibility into the future. Flexibility is another essential quality. Candidates should not be pushovers, but need a flexible outlook and be genuinely open to new and sometimes unforeseen opportunities. This demands that they can adapt quickly to changes within your organisation, particularly in uncertain times.
4. Am I observing a heightened service orientation?
Ask your candidate at interview to name five things they noticed when walking from your reception to the interview room. Those with heightened service orientation, will be able to do it and to comment on their observations. This capability is not only essential in customer facing executives, but also for those who serve internal customers, where conscientiousness is a prerequisite.
5. Do they show personal leadership potential
For those not destined for managerial roles, but whom you place in key positions, personal leadership is an essential trait. To really succeed professionally, candidates need to demonstrate a personal leadership philosophy, which can be defined and observed as having strong values – effectively a system of principles that direct one’s goals, mindset and emotions. Ask yourself during the interview, what does the candidate truly believe in and which of their values would they refuse to compromise? How comfortable are they with themselves, how authentic are they?
High performing employees are rare and in high demand, holding on to them is a challenge. But getting rid of underperformers, is equally so. Making high potential hires requires smart appraisal and fast decisions as the best talent has choices. Competitive firms drive very committed recruiting processes, designed to engage and evaluate candidates in equal measure and to resolve hiring needs quickly.
Michael O’Leary is
Chief Executive at HRM.