In his best-seller, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t, Jim Collins described the importance of putting the right people on the bus, getting the wrong people off the bus, and putting the right people in the right seats. He left out the part on how to drive the bus. So while his concept is sound, the execution leaves a lot to the imagination.
I suggest that the problems we’re having now in Washington are a direct result of a flawed selection process – putting the right people in the wrong seats. There are some hiring lessons to be learned from “The Debacle in DC.” It starts by understanding how to put the right people on the bus, and then getting them into the right seats.
The Typical Way Companies Hire People
When a company wants to hire someone for a job, the process starts by describing the job in terms of duties and responsibilities. Based on this, a job description is prepared defining the required skills, experiences and academic background a person selected for the role needs to possess. The job is then posted and the best candidates who apply are interviewed by a bunch of people who aren’t necessarily great at interviewing. Then the interviewers get together and in some semi-scientific fashion decide whom to hire. Surprisingly, this process kind of works.
However, it doesn’t take much insight to see some flaws in this approach. For one, the best people who apply aren’t necessary the best people available. For example, there is little science behind the list of skills and attributes defined as required. There are many people, including diversity candidates, returning military veterans and similar high performers, who could do the work who have a different mix of skills and experiences. Unfortunately, these people are automatically eliminated from consideration.
While most companies use some form of a structured behavioral interview, there is little evidence this has improved the overall quality level of people hired. Most of the improvement is attributed to the prevention of hiring mistakes due to superficial, emotional or biased decisions.
Despite the shortcomings, when there are plenty of good people to choose from, this common process used by most companies will result in plenty of good hires. However, there are better ways to accomplish the same task. In fact, this common approach won’t work at all when the demand for talent exceeds the supply. In this case some radical changes are needed.
How More Progressive Companies Hire People
When I established my recruiting firm we promised our clients we’d find them the best people available, not just the best who applied. To do this we had to completely reengineer the hiring process. Over the years this process became known as Performance-based Hiring. (See The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired for the full description.) There are three big differences between Performance-based Hiring and the more traditional hiring process:
1) Skills-infested job descriptions are banned. Performance-based job descriptions are used instead to define the actual work that needs to be done. Clarifying job expectations upfront as a series of performance objectives expands the talent pool to everyone capable of doing the work, including high potential candidates, minority candidates, more women, people of any age, and returning military veterans.
2) Candidates are screened and selected based on their ability and motivation to do the actual work required by getting examples of comparable past performance. You can try this interviewing process out for yourself using The Most Important Interview Question of All Time. You’ll see instantly why this approach would be more accurate than the traditional behavioral interview.
3) A formal debriefing process is used where interviewers use evidence to justify their rankings, not feelings, emotions or biases. The thumbs-up or down approach is banned. We’ve developed a formal Quality of Hire Talent Scorecard to capture this information.
Collectively this approach enhances the traditional hiring process by focusing on the real work required, broadening the candidate pool to all people who can do the work, and eliminating the tendency to hire people who talk a good game, but don’t deliver results.
How Not to Hire People
Given this basic foundation on how hiring should be done, it's pretty obvious why we have so many problems when selecting our political leaders.
Originally Posted On LinkedIn By: Lou Adler
Meet the Team
WorldBridge Partners earned the Best of Staffing®Award for providing remarkable service quality. Fewer than 2% of all staffing agencies in the U.S. and Canada earned the 2015 Best of Staffing Award for service excellence. With satisfaction ratings more than three times higher than the industry average, the Best of Staffing winners truly stand out for exceeding expectations. This award identifies the staffing industry's elite leaders in service quality.