Tag Archives: candidate pool

Early Decisions in Hiring

Ron settled in a chair across from Byron, his manager. We exchanged appropriate pleasantries and set the context for the conversation. Byron finally drilled in.

“Ron, you know I don’t think these three candidates are qualified for the position,” Byron started. “But you said these were the only ones who fit our budget.”

“Yep, I know things are tight around here,” Ron replied. “I figured I could save the company some money, bring in one of these people. I could show them the ropes, take them in under my wing and everything would be fine.”

“Were there other candidates that were too expensive for us?” Byron asked.

“Sure, we had seven other resumes, but they were no bargain. We would have to pay full boat for any of them.”

We thanked Ron for his time and he left Byron and I to debrief.

“Byron, I don’t know, but my guess is that there are seven resumes of candidates that we need to look at. So, tell me, why do you think Ron is having difficulty with this hire, looking at the wrong talent pool of people?”

Byron was troubled, but the fog was lifting. “I think Ron was threatened by those resumes that he described as too expensive. You are right. Some of the salary requirements are close to what Ron is making. And I don’t think Ron has enough perspective to truly understand what will be required in this supervisor position.”

“Byron, let me recap. This whole process started at the bottom with Irene, the receptionist, through another supervisor and finally to the hiring manager. None are making good decisions in this selection process.

“So, who should be driving this? Who is left? Who understands what is truly required and is not threatened by this hire?”

“Do you mean, me?” Byron asked.

Rare Air

From the Ask Tom mailbag:

I have started the process of locating candidates for a Stratum IV position. How do you test an individual for capability given a specific job requirement. Specifically, after narrowing the field of candidates I would like to have them tested for the capability required in the position? Most of the canidates in our pool are age 30-38 and have promise but lack validating comparative experience.

I know you have been following the series we completed yesterday, defining the Level of Work in typical roles.
Calibrating Level I Roles
Calibrating Level II Roles
Calibrating Level III Roles
Calibrating Level IV Roles

I am often asked to interview candidates to assess their current capability or potential capability. It’s like a dog barking up the wrong tree. The cat’s not in that tree.

Instead of attempting to assess the potential capability of the candidate, spend your time defining the Level of Work in the role. Then, interview the candidates related to the work. I know this is a simple solution, but here is the brilliance.

You are absolutely NOT qualified to assess a person’s current or potential capability. Here is my humble news. I’m not either. Leave that assessment to higher powers.

But, managers are absolutely qualified to observe and assess behavior related to work. Competent managers can easily spot positive behavior, negative behavior and can instantaneously tell the difference. Play to your strengths as a manager. Define the Level of Work and interview the candidates related to the work. You will always stand on firm ground within your competence to conduct that interview.

The second part of your question indicates you are working through a young candidate pool, age 30-38, for a Stratum IV role. Elliott’s research is very clear. In the snapshot of a candidate pool, age 21-50, the frequency of people demonstrating capability for Stratum IV roles was 1 in 200. If you can expand your age search up to age 21-70, you will double your odds to 1 in 100. It is rare air. (Source – Life and Behavior of Living Organisms, pp 188).