Tag Archives: selection

Who is on the Team?

From the Ask Tom mailbag:

Question:
What do you feel are the most important skills that I need to think about as a new manager?

Response:
For me, hiring and firing are at the top of the list. The most important skill for any manager is team member selection. The ability to select the right team members makes all other management skills seem like a walk in the park.

The manager who selects the right team members will have a wonderful time as a manager. The manager who selects the wrong team members will forever spend time trying to fix the problems that come from hiring mis-steps. That time spent trying to motivate, coach and correct behavior will be frustrating and miserable…for a very long time.

Take a sports team and put them up against any other team. To pick the team who will win the game, you only have to know the answer to one simple question.

Who is on the team?

Hiring and firing are at the top of the list. Arguably, the most important skill.

Unqualified Candidates on the Short List

Orientation for our next Hiring Talent online program starts next Monday. For more information or pre-registration, follow this link Hiring Talent – 2013.
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“I guess I have my receptionist and a lower level supervisor sorting the resumes up front,” Byron replied. “They do the initial screening to toss out the candidates who aren’t qualified or who are overqualified. Look, I don’t want to waste the time of my hiring manager.”

“Let me get this straight. The open position is for a high level supervisor with a level of work around nine months time-span? You are right, I don’t want to waste the time of your hiring manager. Your hiring manager will have difficulty making this decision anyway.”

“What do you mean? Ron is the hiring manager,” Byron replied, backpedaling. “This hire will be on his team.”

“Yes, but Ron gave you these three resumes, right?” I looked at Byron sideways. “How would you rate capability for these three candidates?”

“Well, they are clearly not qualified for the position. They are barely supervisor material, the level of work in their prior experience is nowhere near the level of work for the role we have.”

“So, why did Ron pick these people over other candidates?”

“Well, he said these candidates were the only ones in our budget.” Byron’s face betrayed puzzlement. He suddenly no longer believed Ron’s reason. “But, the pay bands for this position are clearly above the salary requirements of these three candidates.”

“Byron, you are the manager-once-removed in this hire. You clearly see the situation. You are in the best position to see the sweet spot in the candidate pool, yet your screening process depends on the judgment of others that puts unqualified candidates on your short list. In what way could you contribute, as the manager-once-removed, to make this process more effective?”
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Hiring Talent

Who Makes the Screening Decision?

“So, Byron, tell me again. Irene, your receptionist prints out all the resumes from the job posting. She puts them in two stacks, one out-of-town, one local, checks for two years experience and then delivers them to one of your supervisors.” I was looking at the way Byron was handling resumes for an open position. He was bit dismayed at the lack of quality candidates.

“Yes, the supervisor has been with us for almost two years, so he knows the job and can cull out the unqualified resumes. Then he takes the good ones to the hiring manager. It works pretty well. That way the hiring manager doesn’t have to waste his time,” added Byron.

“You said it works pretty well at saving time for the hiring manager, but it culls out all the quality candidates.” I was baiting Byron.

Byron’s face suddenly flushed. “That’s not what I said. I said there weren’t any quality candidates out there.”

“But you said you culled out the under qualified candidates and the overqualified candidates. Who do you have making those initial decisions?”

Byron could see that I was troubled by the way resumes were initially reviewed. He wanted to respond more positively, but the reality was setting in. “I guess I have my receptionist and a lower level supervisor making those decisions,” he finally replied.

“Should we look at a different approach?”
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Just released on Kindle. The only book on hiring that blends the research on levels of work with the discipline of behavioral interviewing. The research on levels of work, pioneered by the late Elliott Jaques, is powerful science. The discipline of behavioral interviewing is the most effective method for its application. This is the only book that puts these two ideas together in a practical framework for managers faced with the hiring decision.
Hiring Talent

Spot the Pattern

Raymond still looked puzzled. I think I had him talked out of playing amateur psychologist when interviewing candidates, but asking him to play to his strength as a manager was still fuzzy.

“Look, Raymond. As a manager, you can spot positive behavior and negative behavior on the shop floor. As a manager, you are an expert in positive and negative behavior. That’s the key. All you have to do is ask questions about situations in their prior work experience.

  • What was the task?
  • What was the action they took (their behavior)?
  • What was the result?

The actions they took will tell you how they will behave when they come to work for you.”

Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. All you have to do is find out what it was.