170. How Great Companies Interview Prospects, Part 2
Before you read this, read this.
What you will most likely learn is that your recruiting and interviewing tactics are just short of bonker balls.
Let me describe what I believe are your recruiting tactics, by way of a fish analogy. Who doesn’t love a fish analogy?
Let’s say you’re a fisherman that lives in Chicago. Let’s say you are determined to catch a 150-pound fish. You look out your window and see a bunch of fishermen in Lake Michigan so you say to yourself, “hey self, since there are so many people fishing in that lake, the big fish must be there.”
You haul out your dinghy, row yourself towards the middle of the lake, put a worm on your hook, drop it in the water and wait with overly-excited anticipation for that big fish to bite.
Spoiler alert: you’re not going to catch that big fish.
In the ultra-rare chance that a 150-pound fish is even in that lake (which it isn’t), the odds of them finding your worm are infinitesimally small. Oh, and even if it did stumble upon it, a 150-pound fish is too big to even care about your puny, little worm.
You’re out to catch a big fish with a method that will only catch a mid-sized trout.
That pretty much sums up what recruiting processes are these days. Stick a job description on LinkedIn and hope the big fish that everybody wants to hire will magically contact you and apply for the job.
It’s the Values, Stupid
Here’s the important secret that the great companies know:
The first step in recruiting great talent has nothing to do with a job description. Instead, the first step is defining the core values of your company.
Core values are critical. Every personnel decision in the company - and most other company decisions - should be based on the core values. Hiring, firing, marketing, sales, operations - everything should adhere to the core values.
Today’s high-growth companies know their core values and can rattle them off like a desert snake on a mouse hunt.
I’m not going to describe the process to create your core values. If you need help, contact me. If not, let’s keep going.
Once you have your core values, THEN you can write your job description - which better adhere to the core values or I’m going to be really angry at you.
You can post your job description on LinkedIn or Indeed or wherever the heck you like to post it. But wait, don’t be the fisherman in Lake Michigan.
You don’t get to hire great talent by sitting and waiting for them to walk in your door.
The people you really want to hire are probably not looking for a job.
Those 150-pound fish? They are rarely ever without work.
You know how the big fish find new jobs? Through their friends and contacts, that’s how. It’s all about networking.
I won’t spend a lot of time talking about networking because you’ve probably heard it all before. Suffice to say, if you want to land the big fish, you have to go where the big fish hang out and try to lure them away.
Hiring great employees takes time and patience and a really great culture (refer to Core Values above).
Here are some tips:
1. Always be recruiting. Build relationships so you know the right people when the right job comes around.
2. Use references. The right people that you want to hire probably know other right people. Ask the right people which of their friends you should be speaking with.
3. Use your employees. Great employees have great friends. I used to pay employees between $500 and $2500 for referring a person that we hire. In the end, we got better people and it costs us less to recruit.
But let’s get to the interview part.
How Great Companies Interview
Skillset isn’t everything. In fact, I don’t even think one’s skillset is the number one must-have for a job candidate.
I will gladly take a B-level skillset who fits perfectly with the culture, than an A-level skillset who doesn’t adhere to the company values.
The B-level will quickly transform to an A, while the A-level will sink to a C.
Core values matter.
And that’s where the interviewing process comes in.
Here are the secrets to how great companies interview prospects:
1. 1st Round Interview: HR shouldn’t be vetting for skillsets as much as for behavior and personality traits that fit with the core culture.
2. 2nd through 5th round interviews: Have multiple people conduct separate interviews. Yes, the hiring manager should be one of those people interviewing, but not the only one. Have other employees from different departments participate in the process. Each interviewer should be responsible for assessing the candidate about a particular core value.
3. Strict Values. If any candidate does not meet every single core value, they are out. There is no wiggle room. All or none.
That, my friends, is how the great companies do it.
It’s not easy. You will have to turn away talent with amazing skillsets. But it’s the price you pay for building a great company.