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Key Strategies for Hiring Top Performers, Not Good Actors

December 16, 2017

Key Strategies for Hiring Top Performers, Not Good Actors

#1 Hiring Objective: Protect Your Time 
Companies can invest a lot of hours in finding the right candidates for their company, but Russell suggests following a few best practices to avoid wasting time. Sometimes, for instance, you’ll know within 15 minutes of starting the interview process that a candidate just isn’t a fit. When that happens, politely thank the candidate for their time and wrap it up.

You can minimize these scenarios by following Russell’s pre-interview tips:

Resumé review. Some of the key points to look for are employment history (three years minimum average at each job), education, specific accomplishments, and growth in job. Also, check the cover letter for readability and grammar.

Web search. In a short time, you can check a candidate out on social media and get a good idea about their behaviors and beliefs.

Phone interviews. Calling candidates before bringing them in for face-to-face interviews is another way to protect your time, says Russell. In addition to questions based on their résumé and your web search, keep these key points in mind:

  • Why they are looking for a job?
  • What other companies are they interviewing with and where are they at in the process?
  • What are their compensation requirements?
  • How long is their commute to your office?
  •  If they are out of work, how long and what have they done to find work?
  • Do they know anyone who works at your company?

Avoid Hiring Good Actors Instead of Top Performers 
It’s common for candidates to tell interviewers what they want to hear rather than giving their honest opinion. To cut through the script, Russell advises using a behavior-based interview process.

“Behavior-based interview questions are designed to elicit detailed, job-relevant responses about what candidates know, what they’ve experienced, what they can do, and their personal/cultural fit within the company,” he says. “A candidate’s past behavior is the best predictor of future success.”

To get candidates out of their hiring script, Angier recommends asking situational questions that begin with phrases such as:

  • Tell me about a time when…
  • Describe a situation…
  • Give me an example…

“After hearing their initial response, probe further by asking follow-up questions,” she says.

Identify Great Candidates by Looking at 4 Factors 
Angier says interviewers should focus on these four traits during the interview process:

  • Knowledge. What do you know?
  • Experience. What have you done?
  • Personal. Who are you?
  • Behaviors. What can you do?

The interview should ask questions that address all four quadrants, she says.

Get Multiple Perspectives on The Candidate 
Russell and Angier advise interviewers to use multiple resources within their company during the interview process. Specifically, they suggest following these steps:

  1. First, have a recruiter or HR person hold a pre-screening interview.
  2.  Next, conduct a technical/functional face-to-face video or phone interview with the candidate and a subject-matter expert or hiring manager 
  3. The next interview should be an on-site/team interview with leaders and peers within the company.
  4. A final interview should be conducted by the hiring manager and ideally another person one level over from the hiring manager who can serve as a sounding board, says Angier.

Additional Points to Consider 
Prior to making a job offer, Russell recommends taking the candidate to dinner and/or doing an activity outside the workplace to see how the person conducts themselves in another setting. Also, if there are any reservations, it’s perfectly okay to start the candidate out as a contractor for period before making an employment offer. But don’t forget, says Angier, good candidates don’t stay available long. If you find a good one, don’t drag out the process any longer than is necessary.