From March, 2011

Is your hiring process as long as the NCAA tournament?

I love the NCAA basketball tournament!  Why?  Because it is thrilling!  Who doesn’t like to see two teams battle it out for the coveted title of National Champion, especially when you often have a “David” knock off a “Goliath.”  A little underdog team who has no business of even being in the tournament, suddenly rises to the occasion and silences all the naysayers who claim they didn’t belong.  With each round the losers go home with lumps in their throats while the winners advance onward to their ultimate basketball prize.  Despite the grueling process of traveling from city to city and the emotional ups and downs, one team will rise above the rest and win the six tournament games necessary to claim their ultimate prize.

Much like the NCAA tournament, your hiring process is a grueling ride of emotional ups and downs for both you and your candidates.  You probably start out with around 64 resumes.  Much like the 64 teams who start the tournament some resumes belong in your hiring process and some don’t.   You throw away half of them because they are not the least bit qualified.  With those 32, you then narrow it down further and eliminate those who are too lean on experience or those who have perhaps too much.  Now you’re down to sixteen and you start scouring the social media pages for your sweet 16 pool of candidates and eliminate half of them.  Phew!  Pretty tiring isn’t it?

Now you are down to your elite 8!  You start scheduling phone screens.  Part of your eight can’t make it during office hours because they have to work so you schedule them for an after hours interview which is inconvenient for you but what’re you gonna do?  The other half sneak out during their lunch break and are distracted because they have to get back to work.  Finally you narrow it down to your final four to bring in for face-to-face interviews.  Two candidates walk through the door and you know within five minutes they aren’t a good fit for the job.  Unfortunately you have to interview them anyway which means wasted time out of your day.  The other two candidates are stars but after the interview you can’t quite remember how each candidate answered a particular question, plus, since you can’t decide, you want one of your colleagues to provide their valuable opinion as well.  So you have no choice but to bring the candidates back in again for follow-up interviews with your colleagues.

Yay, more interviews!  More time out of your day!  Guess what, if this whole process hasn’t moved fast enough, your two star candidates might be taking jobs with other companies before you can get them in for the second interview.  What a pain!  After all this, is your position going to be as valuable to your candidates as a National Championship trophy?  

Streamline your interviewing process and consider replacing your phone screens with more revealing video screens.  They are recorded, you don’t always need be part of the process, they are easier to schedule, and you can easily share them with your colleagues.  That’s right, no more bringing the candidate in over and over!  Not only that but the ones you do bring in will be of definite interest to you because you saw them before the face-to-face interview and will able to determine their interest level and enthusiasm for the position.

Does your hiring process have all the stress of the NCAA tournament but with none of the excitement?

How to avoid hiring Charlie Sheen

Unless you’ve been in outer space in the month of March, at least one news story about the train wreck called Charlie Sheen has reached your ears.  Once what seemed like a dandy hire for CBS, soon became a publicity horror show when news of Sheen’s repeatedly bizarre and questionable behavior hit the airwaves.  Sheen’s character on his popular but only slightly less worse than Full House, sitcom, Two and a Half Men, was a morally questionable but lovable uncle and brother.  As it turns out, his real life persona is so much worse.   Apparently despite Sheen’s past history of womanizing and drug use, he won CBS over during the interview process by showing up not as Mr. Hyde but as Dr. Jekyll.  Now that Sheen’s crazy alter ego has emerged and all sense of Sheen’s self-preservation has dissipated, CBS has been forced to fire him to avoid a further stain on their network.  What does this mean for CBS?  A loss of millions on a long running and profitable sitcom unless they can find a suitable replacement for Sheen.

 Charlie Sheen is an extreme example of what could happen to your organization if you hire the wrong person.  Not all bad hiring decisions will be this costly but it pays to know who is walking through your door before they sit down.  Is it Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde?  How do you know?  Is your standard interview question of “Tell me your strengths and weaknesses really going to be effective here?”  How do you think Charlie Sheen would respond to that question?  Do you really think he would answer honestly? 

 More and more organizations are turning to the use of behavioral assessments to determine a candidate’s potential on the job behaviors before they are hired.  Most assessments provide in-depth interview guides containing questions not commonly asked during a traditional interview.  These open-ended questions, adapted to the candidate’s personality, are designed to get the candidate to reveal a great deal about themselves.

So before you hire your next Charlie Sheen, consider doing a little testing.   

Ryder Cullison

Client Relationship Manager, Hire-Intelligence

The two greatest recruiting challenges today!

Talent Technology recently surveyed 369 recruiters and HR professionals and asked them to rate their toughest recruiting challenges.  The top two challenges cited are finding good candidates and filling positions fast.

Finding good candidates is a problem?  Aren’t there boat loads of candidates looking for jobs these days?  Of course they aren’t all good, but they are out there so perhaps the problem isn’t that good candidates don’t exist but that HR professionals and recruiters don’t know how to attract them.  That’s right, you need to ATTRACT good candidates.  Good candidates already have good jobs and those who don’t are going to be patiently selective about where they park their talent.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you can’t throw up a bland job posting listing the minimum qualifications and numerous requirements for a job and expect good candidates to swoon.  That’s like telling your child on the way to the amusement park that the requirements for going will be to stand in line for long periods of time without complaining while the ability to endure excessive heat is a plus.  Can you see Disney marketing like that?  List the positive aspects of working for your organization and don’t be afraid to list the salary.  This will at least eliminate entry level people intimidated by the big salary or turn away people who feel that the salary is too low.  Tell the candidate why they should work for your company and be creative.  Using my amusement park example I would say, “You’ll get to ride thrilling coasters, eat cotton candy, and meet some interesting characters!”

There are plenty of good candidates in your funnel, the trick is to find the good candidates and filter out the bad ones quickly.  This brings us to the second greatest recruiting challenge, filling positions quickly.  Today it is not enough to just look at resumes, filter out the bad ones and then bring the good ones in for a face-to-face interview.  Even if you do a phone screen prior to the face-to-face, you really can’t gauge the energy level or how presentable the candidate is until they walk through your door.  Unfortunately three out of your five scheduled candidates who sit in front of you aren’t a good fit and you’ve just wasted a significant part of your day interviewing bad candidates.  Try a service that allows candidates to video interview themselves with their webcam.  Their responses are recorded on their time and schedule.  You are free to sit back and review at your convenience the recorded screens of at least five candidates in the time it takes you to interview one.  This way you can bring in not only your best candidates but you can do it much quicker.  A tool like this allows you to both identify the good candidates and to screen them quickly.

One more tip is to actively pursue passive candidates.  Passive candidates are often employed but would be open to entertaining an attractive offer (not a generic posting) if pitched to them.  A good place to find passive candidates is on LinkedIn.

Good luck.

Until next time,

Ryder Cullison

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