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Who: The "A" Method for Hiring

🔖How would I describe this book in 1 sentence?

Practical guidebook for hiring the best people for your business.

🗺️What was the role of this book in my journey?

I read this book as a part of my "Recruitment Month" of June 2021, where I planned to focus my main efforts for my businesses on hiring people.

It profoundly changed my view on the hiring process. With the A Method, I and my teams now have much better clarity on what people we are looking for. The screening process is much more structured and robust.

Because of the clear outcomes, the candidates that we hire are much more motivated and demonstrated generally greater performance.

One of the improvements to the system I would like to implement, is to adapt it to the modern realities of remote workforce and hiring through freelance marketplaces.

💡Key Insights

  1. The most important decisions that businesspeople make are not what decisions, but who decisions.
  2. Your success as a manager is simply the result of how good you are at hiring the people around you
  3. The average hiring mistake costs fifteen times an employee’s base salary in hard costs and productivity loss
  4. One of the basic failures in the hiring process is this: What is a resume? It is a record of a person’s career with all of the accomplishments embellished and all the failures removed.
  5. Otherwise smart people struggle to hire strangers. People unfamiliar with great hiring methods consider the process a mysterious black art.
  6. What is an A Player? For one thing, he or she is not just a superstar. Think of an A Player as the right superstar, a talented person who can do the job you need done, while fitting in with the culture of your company.
  7. In business, you are who you hire. Hire C Players, and you will always lose to the competition. Hire B Players, and you might do okay, but you will never break out. Hire A Players, and life gets very interesting no matter what you are pursuing.
  8. You wouldn’t let your family-practice doctor perform open-heart surgery on you, and in the same way you shouldn’t look for a full team of generalists to solve your business problems
  9. Success comes from having the right person in the right job at the right time with the right skill set for the business problem that exists.
  10. Set the outcomes high enough—but still within reason—and you’ll scare off B and C Players even as you pull in the kind of A Players who thrive on big challenges that fit their skills
  11. All the specificity frees new hires to give the job their best shot. They know what they’ll be judged on. They know what the company and the boss think is important in their position. Instead of guessing how to do well and careening among a dozen different fronts, they have the game plan right in front of them. That’s liberating, not confining.
  12. Not evaluating cultural fit was one of the biggest reasons for hiring mistakes. People who don’t fit fail on the job, even when they are perfectly talented in all other respects
  13. Ads are a good way to generate a tidal wave of resumes, but a lousy way to generate the right flow of candidates
  14. Of all the ways to source candidates, the number one method is to ask for referrals from your personal and professional networks. This approach may feel scary and timeconsuming, but it is the single most effective way to find potential A Players
  15. Talented people know talented people, and they’re almost always glad to pass along one another’s names.
  16. People you interact with every day are the most powerful sources of talent you will ever find. Ask your customers for the names of the most talented salespeople who call on them. Ask your business partners who they think are the most effective business developers. Do the same with your suppliers to identify their strongest purchasing agents. Join professional organizations and ask the people you meet through events.
  17. Stay engaged: If you don’t own the process, no one will. Talent is what you need. Focus and commitment will get you there.
  18. Talented people know what they want to do and are not afraid to tell you about it.
  19. Too many managers make the costly mistake of lingering with candidates who are a bad match. Some are simply avoiding confrontation. Others think, “If I have my colleagues Janet, Rick, and Charlotte interview this person, they’ll see something I don’t.” That might sound collegial, but you are just wasting everybody’s time. Better to miss out on a potential A Player than to waste precious hours on a borderline case that turns out to be a B or C Player.
  20. Boards make mistakes when they don’t take the time to learn the story of the person. Everybody has strengths and weaknesses. If you want to enhance your predictive capabilities, you have to really understand their story and their patterns.
  21. A Players tend to talk about outcomes linked to expectations. B and C Players talk generally about events, people they met, or aspects of the job they liked without ever getting into results.
  22. You have to interrupt the candidate. There is no avoiding it. You have to interrupt the candidate. If you don’t, he or she might talk for ten hours straight about things that are not at all relevant. It may feel rude to interrupt somebody who is enthusiastically telling you a story about that smelly pig farm in Kentucky that was right next to the corporate offices. However, we think it is rude to let somebody ramble. It hurts their chance of having time to cover important events in their career. So interrupt the person once you think they are going off course. You will have to interrupt the candidate at least once every three or four minutes, so get ready.
  23. People don’t change that much. People aren’t mutual funds. Past performance really is an indicator of future performance.
  24. People don’t like to give a negative reference. They want to help their former colleagues, not hurt them. They want to avoid conflict, not walk right into it. Just as important, they want to feel good about themselves
  25. People want to make an impact in the world. They want to be needed. They want to be part of something that feels right
  26. When hiring for small companies, the person who needs to be sold is never the candidate. The candidate would not be there if he were not sold. Focus on selling the spouse, children, parents, and friends of the candidate
  27. Great leaders are persistent. They don’t take the first no for an answer. They keep positive pressure on the A Players they want until they get them. From the first sourcing call to the last sales call, they never let up.
  28. Get the talent side of the equation wrong, and you will always face rough waters. You’ll spend all of your time dealing with an endless torrent of what issues. Get it right, and you’ll have clear skies, smooth seas, and easy sailing. The right who will take care of all of those issues.

Insights

🦅Key Principles

  1. Prioritize Who decisions instead of What decisions
  2. Stop using Voodoo hiring methods
  3. Always aim to hire A-players
  4. Hire people who have at least a 90 percent chance of succeeding in the role you have defined
  5. Hire people who have a 90 percent chance of accomplishing what only 10 percent of possible hires could accomplish
  6. Develop a scorecard for each role
  7. Outline the job's mission — executive summary of the job’s core purpose written in a plain language any person could understand
  8. Update and evolve your scorecards consistently. Don't put them on a shelf
  9. Don't hire generalists. Hire specialists
  10. For each role, define 3-8 clearly defined outcomes for a role — specific and measurable things that must get done — ranked by importance
  11. Set the outcomes high enough to scare off B and C players, and attract the right kind of A players to take the challenge
  12. For each role, have a list of as many role-based competencies defining key traits and ensuring behavioral fit
  13. For each role, have a list of 5-8 cultural competencies
  14. Always be sourcing. Source talent from everywhere you can
  15. Seize the opportunity to ask for a referral from people you are contact with every day
  16. Talented people know talented people, and they’re almost always glad to pass along one another’s names
  17. Ask for referrals outside your professional networks. Next time you meet someone new, ask "Who are the most talented people you know who could be a good fit for my company?"
  18. Encourage your employees to refer candidates from their networks. Encourage them to mention if they spotted someone (outside their networks) who they think might be a good fit for a company
  19. Take the time to hire and educate the right recruiter. Make sure he understands your needs and culture. And don’t miss the opportunity to learn from him
  20. Stay engaged: If you don’t own the process, no one will
  21. Conduct the screening interview to filter out B and C players
  22. After the interview, you want to be excited about the possibility of hiring the person. You want to have the feeling that you have found the one. If you don't, screen the person out
  23. If a candidate lacks career goals or sounds like an echo of your own website, screen the person out
  24. If you see a major gap between someone’s strengths and your scorecard, screen that person out
  25. If candidate's weaknesses you gathered are all strengths in disguise, screen the candidate out
  26. If people rate themselves as 6 on 1-10 scale, that's actually a 2
  27. Get curious during the interview. Always ask follow-up questions: "What", "How", "Tell me more"
  28. When you have no idea what else to ask during the interview, just say, “Tell me more.” They will keep talking
  29. Understand the story and patterns in person's career by conducting the Who/Topgrading interview
  30. When talking about past accomplishments, A Players tend to talk about outcomes linked to expectations. B and C Players talk generally about events, people they met, or aspects of the job they liked without ever getting into results
  31. Push candidates to tell about their lows. Keep reframing the question until you hear the real answer
  32. Do not hire anyone who has been pushed out of 20 percent or more of their jobs.
  33. You have to interrupt the candidate. There is no way avoiding it. Do it constructively to keep the high degree of rapport
  34. Use three P's to understand the specifics of an accomplishment. Compare it to: 1) previous, 2) plan, 3) peers
  35. Think of yourself instead as a biographer interviewing a subject. You want both the details and the broad pattern, the facts and texture.
  36. Always try to put yourself in the candidate's shoes. Visualize
  37. When you notice the inconsistencies or shifts in body language, stop and get curious
  38. Ensure the cultural fit and candidate's ability to perform well by needed competencies by conducting a focused interview
  39. Don’t skip the references!
  40. Past performance really is an indicator of future performance. People don't change that much
  41. Nobody wants to give negative references. Read between the lines when asking for references
  42. Use the data gathered during interviews to grade candidates as A, B, or C by each outcome and competency
  43. Pay attention to the red flags and behavioral warning signs during hiring process
  44. Pay people on a performance basis.
  45. Sell candidate to join your company by using 5 F's: fit, family, freedom, fortune, and fun
  46. Show that you are as concerned with the fit for them as you are in the fit for you
  47. Selling is something you have to do throughout the whole recruitment process: during sourcing, during interview, before the offer and its acceptance, between acceptance and the first day, and during the first 100 days at job
  48. Be persistent. Do everything it takes to hire the right talent
  49. Install the A Method of hiring in your company
  50. Do not reject candidates for reasons that are not relevant to the job
  51. Use the same process for all candidates regardless of their demographic group
  52. Use nondiscriminatory language during interviews and in written forms
  53. Avoid asking candidates illegal questions
  54. Build your team full of A-Players
  55. Prefer hiring executives who are fast and focused versus slow and collaborative
Principles

✍️Notes

Who, Not What

  • The most important decisions that businesspeople make are not what decisions, but who decisions.
  • What refers to the strategies you choose, the products and services you sell, and the processes you use. You can spend your whole career chasing solutions to the million what problems plaguing your business. That is what most managers do. Unfortunately, focusing solely on the what means you will continue to feel stressed, make less money than you desire, and lack the time to do what you want.
  • Who refers to the people you put in place to make the what decisions. Who is running your sales force? Who is assembling your product? Who is occupying the corner office? Who is where the magic begins, or where the problems start.
  • Your success as a manager is simply the result of how good you are at hiring the people around you
  • Who mistakes happen when managers:
    • Are unclear about what is needed in a job
    • Have a weak flow of candidates
    • Do not trust their ability to pick out the right candidate from a group of similar-looking candidates
    • Lose candidates they really want to join their team
  • These who mistakes are pricey. According to studies we’ve done with our clients, the average hiring mistake costs fifteen times an employee’s base salary in hard costs and productivity loss
  • These who mistakes are prevalent as well. Peter Drucker and other management gurus have long estimated that the hiring success rate of managers is a dismal 50 percent

1. Your #1 Problem

  • In an October 2006 cover story, “The Search for Talent,” The Economist reported that finding the right people is the single biggest problem in business today.
  • The fact is, virtually every manager struggles to find and hire the talent necessary to drive his or her business forward.
  • The fact is, all of us let our who guard down sometimes. We realize how inflated resumes can be. Yet we accept at face value claims of high accomplishment that we know better than to fully trust. Due diligence, after all, takes time, and time is the one commodity most lacking in busy managers’ lives.
  • One of the basic failures in the hiring process is this: What is a resume? It is a record of a person’s career with all of the accomplishments embellished and all the failures removed.
  • The worst mistake boards make—the ‘la-di-da’ interview: nice lunch, nice chat. They say this is a CEO, and we cannot really interview them. So you have a board who never really interviews the candidates.

VOODOO HIRING

  • Otherwise smart people struggle to hire strangers. People unfamiliar with great hiring methods consider the process a mysterious black art.
  • In an age in which every other management process has been studied and codified, we find it amazing that people still view hiring, the process where building an organization begins, as something that resists an orderly approach. Yet managers cling to their favorite methods even when evidence suggests they don’t work.
  • Take a moment to consider how you and your managers approach hiring
  • At the bottom line, all these voodoo hiring methods share an assumption that it’s easy to assess a person. Just find the right gimmicks, pop the right quiz, and trust the scattered chicken bones to point the way, and you’re certain to have great hiring outcomes. Beyond that, we’re all prone to certain cognitive traps. We want to make quick decisions to get on with things. We like to see people as fundamentally truthful. We wish that it were so, but one of the painful truths of hiring is this: it is hard to see people for who they really are.

10 Common Voodoo Hiring Methods

1. The Art Critic. When it comes to judging art, going on gut instinct sometimes works just fine. A good art critic can make an accurate appraisal of a painting within minutes. With executive hiring, though, people who think they are naturally equipped to “read” people on the fly are setting themselves up to be fooled big-time. Forgers can pass off fake paintings as real ones to the time-pressed buyer, and people who want a job badly enough can fake an interview if it lasts only a few minutes. Gut instinct is terribly inaccurate when it comes to hiring someone. If you extend an offer based on a good gut feel, you are going to have a stomachache!

2. The Sponge. A common approach among busy managers is to let everybody interview a candidate. The goal of this sponge-like behavior is to soak up information by spending as much time with people as possible. Unfortunately, managers rarely coordinate their efforts, leaving everybody to ask the same, superficial questions. We witnessed one interview process where six interviewers in a row asked a candidate about his skydiving hobby. Collectively, they burned over sixty minutes on a topic that had nothing to do with the job—although the fellow was an accomplished sky diver, as it turned out! The Sponge’s ultimate assessment of the person he hires rarely goes deeper than “He’s a good guy!”

3. The Prosecutor. Many managers act like the prosecutors they see on TV. They aggressively question candidates, attempting to trip them up with trick questions and logic problems. Why are manhole covers round? How did the markets do yesterday? One employer we have heard of asks candidates if they play chess. If they say yes, he matches them up against an employee who happens to be a Russian chess master! In the end, trick questions might land you the most knowledgeable candidate, and maybe even someone who can beat a Russian chess master, but knowledge and ability to do the job are not the same thing.

4. The Suitor. Rather than rigorously interviewing a candidate, some managers spend all of their energy selling the applicant on the opportunity. Suitors are more concerned with impressing candidates than assessing their capabilities. They spend all of their time in an interview talking and virtually no time listening. Suitors land their share of candidates, but they take their chances with the candidate actually being a good fit.

5. The Trickster. Then there are the interviewers who use gimmicks to test for certain behaviors. They might throw a wad of paper on the floor, for example, to see if a candidate is willing to clean it up, or take him to a party to see how he interacts with other partygoers. Use this method, and you are likely to find yourself in the awkward position of explaining to your friends why you fired that nice guy from the party who helped clean up the mess.

6. The Animal Lover. Many managers hold on stubbornly to their favorite pet questions—questions they think will reveal something uniquely important about a candidate. One executive takes this literally, telling us that he judged candidates by their answer to one question: “What type of animal would you be?” The question has a truly voodoo answer key. “I look for people who have a witty answer.” Not only do questions like this lack any relevance or scientific basis, but they are utterly useless as predictors of on-the-job performance.

7. The Chatterbox. This technique has a lot in common with the “la-di-da” interview. The conversation usually goes something like this: “How about them Yankees! Man, the weather is rough this time of year. You grew up in California? So did I!” Although enjoyable, the method does nothing to help you make a good decision. You’re supposed to be picking up a future trusted colleague, not someone with whom you can bat around baseball stats.

8. The Psychological and Personality Tester. The Handbook of Industrial/Organizational Psychology recommends against using these types of tests for executive selection decisions, and with good reason. Asking a candidate a series of bubble-test questions like “Do you tease small animals?” or “Would you rather be at a cocktail party or the library on a Friday night?” is not useful (although both are actual questions on popular psychological tests), and it’s certainly not predictive of success on the job. Savvy candidates can easily fake the answers based on the job for which they are vying.

9. The Aptitude Tester. Tests can help managers determine whether a person has the right aptitude for a specific role, such as persistence for a business development position, but they should never become the sole determinant in a hiring decision. As we’ll see in Chapter 2, aptitude is only part of a much larger equation. Use these tests as screening tools if you like, but do not use them in isolation.

10. The Fortune-Teller. Just like a fortune-teller looking in a crystal ball to predict the future, some interviewers like to ask their candidates to look into the future regarding the job at hand by asking hypothetical questions: “What would you do? How would you do it? Could you do it?” Fifty years of academic literature on interview methods makes a strong case against using these types of questions during interviews. For example, asking, “If you were going to resolve a conflict with a co-worker, how would you do it?” is sure to get the response, “Well, I would sit my co-worker down, listen to her concerns, and design a win-win solution with her.” Maybe. Then again, maybe not. The answer sounds nice, but we question how many people would actually do those things. Remember, it’s the walk that counts, not the talk.

FINDING A PLAYERS

  • Finding A Players begins with setting the bar higher. Unless you’re looking to finish in the bottom half of the standings, you would never assemble a team composed largely of B or C Players. Why, then, use hiring methods that are almost certain to bring second-stringers and backups crowding through the front door?
  • What is an A Player? For one thing, he or she is not just a superstar. Think of an A Player as the right superstar, a talented person who can do the job you need done, while fitting in with the culture of your company. We define an A Player this way: a candidate who has at least a 90 percent chance of achieving a set of outcomes that only the top 10 percent of possible candidates could achieve.
  • We’re saying that you need to initially stack the odds in your favor by hiring people who have at least a 90 percent chance of succeeding in the role you have defined. Not 50 percent, 90 percent. This will take longer in the short run, but it will save you serious time and money down the road.
  • Who cares if somebody has a 90 percent chance of achieving a set of outcomes that just about anybody could accomplish? You don’t want to be good. You want to be great, and A Players have a 90 percent chance of accomplishing what only 10 percent of possible hires could accomplish
  • Hiring A Players takes hard work. As we’ll see, it’s not always for the faint of heart. You have to dig hard, ask tough questions, and be prepared sometimes for disturbing answers.

YOU ARE WHO YOU HIRE

  • In business, you are who you hire. Hire C Players, and you will always lose to the competition. Hire B Players, and you might do okay, but you will never break out. Hire A Players, and life gets very interesting no matter what you are pursuing.
  • The keys to success in private equity are: (1) buying right, (2) having an A management team, and (3) selling right. Everything else is just conversation.
  • In our portfolio companies, many of which are multibillion-dollar revenue companies, what matters is having: (1) the right strategy in the right market, (2) an A management team, and (3) financial discipline. The difference between an A and a B CEO produces an order of magnitude difference in the return.
  • The four steps to get an A team are:
    • Scorecard. The scorecard is a document that describes exactly what you want a person to accomplish in a role. It is not a job description, but rather a set of outcomes and competencies that define a job done well. By defining A performance for a role, the scorecard gives you a clear picture of what the person you seek needs to be able to accomplish.
    • Source. Finding great people is getting harder, but it is not impossible. Systematic sourcing before you have slots to fill ensures you have high-quality candidates waiting when you need them.
    • Select. Selecting talent in the A Method involves a series of structured interviews that allow you to gather the relevant facts about a person so you can rate your scorecard and make an informed hiring decision. These structured interviews break the voodoo hiring spell.
    • Sell. Once you identify people you want on your team through selection, you need to persuade them to join. Selling the right way ensures you avoid the biggest pitfalls that cause the very people you want the most to take their talents elsewhere. It also protects you from the biggest heartbreak of all—losing the perfect candidate at the eleventh hour.
  • The fastest way to improve a company’s performance is to improve the talent of the workforce, whether it is the ultimate leader or someone leading a divisional organization. It just energizes the company and leads to positive things.

2. Scorecard: A Blueprint For Success

  • Scorecards are your blueprint for success. They take the theoretical definition of an A Player and put it in practical terms for the position you need to fill.
  • Scorecards describe the mission for the position, outcomes that must be accomplished, and competencies that fit with both the culture of the company and the role
  • The first failure point of hiring is not being crystal clear about what you really want the person you hire to accomplish. You may have some vague notion of what you want. Others on your team are likely to have their own equally vague notions of what you want and need. But chances are high that your vague notions do not match theirs
  • The scorecard is composed of three parts: the job’s mission, outcomes, and competencies. Together, these three pieces describe A performance in the role—what a person must accomplish, and how. They provide a clear linkage between the people you hire and your strategy
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MISSION: THE ESSENCE OF THE JOB

  • The mission is an executive summary of the job’s core purpose. It boils the job down to its essence so everybody understands why you need to hire someone into the slot
  • For a mission to be meaningful, it has to be written in plain language, not the gobbledygook so commonly found in business today
  • ❌Here is a perfect example of what not to do: “The mission for this role is to maximize shareholder value by leveraging core assets of the NPC division while minimizing communication deficiencies and obfuscations.”
  • ✅The mission for the VP of sales clearly captures why the role exists: to grow revenue through direct contacts with industrial customers. That’s it. It isn’t to build channel sales. It isn’t to seek new industry verticals. It isn’t to serve as an administrator.
  • You’ll know you have a good mission when candidates, recruiters, and even others from your team understand what you are looking for without having to ask clarifying questions
  • You can’t just pull a mission off the shelf and dust it off whenever the position needs refilling. Scorecards need to be evolving documents, not static ones

Don’t Hire the Generalist. Hire the Specialist.

  • All-around athletes are the candidates who walk into our offices bearing impressive pedigrees, polished attire, and admirable accomplishments in a wide variety of roles. They seem to be able to do it all. They speak well, learn quickly, offer broad insights on company strategy, and convince us that they can adapt to virtually any challenge or task the company might place on their shoulders
  • In theory, who wouldn’t want someone like that on the team? Yet one of the most consistent findings from our interviews with dozens upon dozens of CEOs and top executives is that hiring all-around athletes rarely works
  • You wouldn’t let your family-practice doctor perform open-heart surgery on you, and in the same way you shouldn’t look for a full team of generalists to solve your business problems
  • Success comes from having the right person in the right job at the right time with the right skill set for the business problem that exists.

OUTCOMES: DEFINING WHAT MUST GET DONE

  • Outcomes, the second part of a scorecard, describe what a person needs to accomplish in a role.
  • Most of the jobs for which we hire have three to eight outcomes, ranked by order of importance.
  • Set the outcomes high enough—but still within reason—and you’ll scare off B and C Players even as you pull in the kind of A Players who thrive on big challenges that fit their skills
  • While typical job descriptions break down because they focus on activities, or a list of things a person will be doing (calling on customers, selling), scorecards succeed because they focus on outcomes, or what a person must get done (grow revenue from $25 million to $50 million by the end of year three).
  • Sales jobs provide particularly crisp outcomes because assigning numerical targets for sales roles is very straightforward. You sell it or you don’t.
  • Not all jobs allow you to quantify the outcome so easily. In these cases, seek to make the outcomes as objective and observable as possible.
  • All that specificity frees new hires to give the job their best shot. They know what they’ll be judged on. They know what the company and the boss think is important in their position. Instead of guessing how to do well and careening among a dozen different fronts, they have the game plan right in front of them. That’s liberating, not confining.

COMPETENCIES: ENSURING BEHAVIORAL FIT

  • Competencies define how you expect a new hire to operate in the fulfillment of the job and the achievement of the outcomes.

Critical Competencies for A Players

  • Efficiency. Able to produce significant output with minimal wasted effort.
  • Honesty/integrity. Does not cut corners ethically. Earns trust and maintains confidences. Does what is right, not just what is politically expedient. Speaks plainly and truthfully.
  • Organization and planning. Plans, organizes, schedules, and budgets in an efficient, productive manner. Focuses on key priorities.
  • Aggressiveness. Moves quickly and takes a forceful stand without being overly abrasive.
  • Follow-through on commitments. Lives up to verbal and written agreements, regardless of personal cost.
  • Intelligence. Learns quickly. Demonstrates ability to quickly and proficiently understand and absorb new information.
  • Analytical skills. Able to structure and process qualitative or quantitative data and draw insightful conclusions from it. Exhibits a probing mind and achieves penetrating insights.
  • Attention to detail. Does not let important details slip through the cracks or derail a project.
  • Persistence. Demonstrates tenacity and willingness to go the distance to get something done.
  • Proactivity. Acts without being told what to do. Brings new ideas to the company.

In addition, you might want to consider some of the following competencies. These are in unprioritized order:

  • Ability to hire A Players (for managers). Sources, selects, and sells A Players to join a company.
  • Ability to develop people (for managers). Coaches people in their current roles to improve performance, and prepares them for future roles.
  • Flexibility/adaptability. Adjusts quickly to changing priorities and conditions. Copes effectively with complexity and change.
  • Calm under pressure. Maintains stable performance when under heavy pressure or stress.
  • Strategic thinking/visioning. Able to see and communicate the big picture in an inspiring way. Determines opportunities and threats through comprehensive analysis of current and future trends.
  • Creativity/innovation. Generates new and innovative approaches to problems.
  • Enthusiasm. Exhibits passion and excitement over work. Has a can-do attitude.
  • Work ethic. Possesses a strong willingness to work hard and sometimes long hours to get the job done. Has a track record of working hard.
  • High standards. Expects personal performance and team performance to be nothing short of the best.
  • Listening skills. Lets others speak and seeks to understand their viewpoints.
  • Openness to criticism and ideas. Often solicits feedback and reacts calmly to criticism or negative feedback.
  • Communication. Speaks and writes clearly and articulately without being overly verbose or talkative. Maintains this standard in all forms of written communication, including e-mail.
  • Teamwork. Reaches out to peers and cooperates with supervisors to establish an overall collaborative working relationship.
  • Persuasion. Able to convince others to pursue a course of action.
  • Both lists highlight competencies to consider as you build a scorecard, but they are starter suggestions only. Because every job has different requirements and every scorecard different outcomes, every set of competencies needs to be tailored to the position in question and the peculiar nature of the hiring institution
  • In practice, people can achieve the same outcome using two different approaches, so we recommend that you do not create too narrow a competency list
  • We use the competencies section of our scorecards as a checklist during the interview process, but we encourage clients to personalize it to fit their individual needs

Johnson's list

  1. Chemistry is always important for both the individual and the company,” Johnson said. “If I don’t have good chemistry with you, and you don’t have good chemistry with me, then skip it. Connecting with them personally is important. That becomes obvious in my initial conversations with a candidate.
  2. “Number two is commitment. Theirs to you and yours to them. That is a difficult thing to assess, but it really matters. I want people who are committed.
  3. “Third, are they coachable? I underestimated this earlier in my career. You can pass on learning and shortcut their development if they are.
  4. “Number four is, do they have their ego under control? Are they prepared to address the problem? If they are thinking about the next job, they will fail. They must be focused on the job they have.
  5. “Number five, do they have the requisite intellect?

CULTURAL COMPETENCIES: ENSURING ORGANIZATIONAL FIT

  • Competencies work at two levels. They define the skills and behaviors required for a job, and they reflect the broader demands of your organizational culture. Job competencies are generally easier to list, but cultural fit is just as important
  • Not evaluating cultural fit was one of the biggest reasons for hiring mistakes. People who don’t fit fail on the job, even when they are perfectly talented in all other respects
  • Evaluating cultural fit obviously begins with evaluating your company’s culture. Try gathering your leadership team in a room and asking this simple question: “What adjectives would you use to describe our culture?” Jot down their responses on a flip chart or whiteboard. It won’t take long before a picture emerges.
  • Evaluating culture sometimes means removing people who are not a fit. The best salesperson in the world is the wrong hire if you value respect for others and he is openly disrespectful. Who cares how well he can sell if he is going to demoralize the rest of your team?
  • By translating your culture and values into a series of competencies that matter for every job, you can avoid making the mistake of not evaluating candidates for the cultural fits that are absolutely crucial to your enterprise.
  • Scorecards are the guardians of your culture. They encapsulate on paper the unwritten dynamics that make your company what it is, and they ensure you think about those things with every hiring decision. That’s time very well spent

FROM SCORECARD TO STRATEGY

  • The beauty of scorecards is that they are not just documents used in hiring. They become the blueprint that links the theory of strategy to the reality of execution. Scorecards translate your business plans into role-by-role outcomes and create alignment among your team, and they unify your culture and ensure people understand your expectations
  • “How many of you have in place written objectives for all of your direct reports?” Only 10 percent raised their hands. One in ten! How are people supposed to know what to focus on or how hard to push if you don’t identify their objectives? How can you know if your people are performing as well as they should?
  • Scorecards solve that problem and ensure not just that you have A Players but that the A Players are delivering A performances
  • A good scorecard process translates the objectives of the strategy into clear outcomes for the CEO and senior leadership team. The senior team then translates their outcomes to the scorecards of those below them, and so on. Everybody in the organization ends up with a set of outcomes that support the strategy, and competencies that support the outcomes and culture.
  • Sure, we all want our employees to be great at everything, but in fact few are, and those who are may well demand higher salaries that make us pay for “features” that we don’t need. Remember, it’s all about the specific skill set you need, when you need it.
  • A scorecard forces the manager to make choices and be consistent with those choices.

HOW TO CREATE A SCORECARD

1. MISSION. Develop a short statement of one to five sentences that describes why a role exists. For example, “The mission for the customer service representative is to help customers resolve their questions and complaints with the highest level of courtesy possible.”

2. OUTCOMES. Develop three to eight specific, objective outcomes that a person must accomplish to achieve an A performance. For example, “Improve customer satisfaction on a ten-point scale from 7.1 to 9.0 by December 31.”

3. COMPETENCIES. Identify as many role-based competencies as you think appropriate to describe the behaviors someone must demonstrate to achieve the outcomes. Next, identify five to eight competencies that describe your culture and place those on every scorecard. For example, “Competencies include efficiency, honesty, high standards, and a customer service mentality.”

4. ENSURE ALIGNMENT AND COMMUNICATE. Pressure-test your scorecard by comparing it with the business plan and scorecards of the people who will interface with the role. Ensure that there is consistency and alignment. Then share the scorecard with relevant parties, including peers and recruiters.

3. Source: Generating a Flow of A Players

  • The CEOs of billion-dollar companies that we interviewed for this book recognize recruitment as one of their most important jobs. They consider themselves chief recruiting officers and expect all of their managers to view their jobs the same way.
  • These successful executives don’t allow recruiting to become a one-time event, or something they have to do only every now and then. They are always sourcing, always on the lookout for new talent, always identifying the who before a new hire is really needed.
  • We all know that talent pools grow stagnant. Like tidal pools far from the ocean’s edge, talent pools rarely contain the most vital and energetic candidates. In fact, these traditional talent sources are so overworked that most of the people left in them are not the ones you would want to hire.
  • We observe that many managers source candidates by placing advertisements in one form or another. The overwhelming evidence from our field interviews is that ads are a good way to generate a tidal wave of resumes, but a lousy way to generate the right flow of candidates
  • Of all the ways to source candidates, the number one method is to ask for referrals from your personal and professional networks. This approach may feel scary and timeconsuming, but it is the single most effective way to find potential A Players

REFERRALS FROM YOUR PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL NETWORKS

  • The industry leaders we interviewed didn’t speak with one voice on every topic, but on the subject of sourcing new talent through referrals they were nearly unanimous. Without any prompting from us, a full 77 percent of them cited referrals as their top technique for generating a flow of the right candidates for their businesses. Yet among average managers, it is the least often practiced approach to sourcing.
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  • Ryan’s approach is among the easiest we have seen. Whenever he meets somebody new, he asks this simple, powerful question: “Who are the most talented people you know that I should hire?”
  • Talented people know talented people, and they’re almost always glad to pass along one another’s names. Ryan captures those names on a list, and he makes a point of calling a few new people from his list every week. Then he stays in touch with those who seem to have the most promise.
  • People you interact with every day are the most powerful sources of talent you will ever find. Ask your customers for the names of the most talented salespeople who call on them. Ask your business partners who they think are the most effective business developers. Do the same with your suppliers to identify their strongest purchasing agents. Join professional organizations and ask the people you meet through events.
  • We suspect that one of the first questions you get asked when you meet someone new is “What do you do?” Next time you answer that question (probably in the next week or two if our experience is any guide), follow up with “Say, now that I have told you what I do, who are the most talented people you know who could be a good fit for my company?” Do that, and you will turn a common social question into a sourcing opportunity.

REFERRALS FROM EMPLOYEES

  • As valuable as outside referrals are, in-house ones often provide better-targeted sourcing. After all, who knows your needs and culture better than the people who are already working for you?
  • “Our employees became our number-one recruiting technique,” he said. “We told the employees, ‘If you spot somebody like us, at a customer, at a supplier, or at a competitor, we want to hire them.’ That became very successful. People would say there is a great person there; let’s go after them. Employees referred 85 percent of our new hires!”
  • At ghSMART, we’ve made in-house referrals a key part not only of our staffing policies but also of promotions. Principals have to source three candidates who can pass a phone screen by our CEO to earn eligibility for a promotion to partner
  • Any size organization can achieve much the same effect by building internal sourcing into their employee scorecards. Try including something along the lines of “Source [number] A Player candidates per year,” then reward the effort by providing a financial or other incentive such as extra vacation time for those who achieve and exceed the goal
  • Hold employees accountable for sourcing people through their networks, and everyone will benefit when talent flows into the business.

DEPUTIZING FRIENDS OF THE FIRM

  • One company we know offers recruiting bonuses to its deputies—rewards of up to $5,000 if the company hires somebody the deputy sourced, depending on the level of the hire. Other companies provide incentives to their deputies and turn them into unofficial recruiters with gift certificates, iPods, and other valuable items.
  • Many early-stage companies set up an advisory board. These advisors neither involve themselves with governance of the company nor take on fiduciary responsibility. Their reason for being is to offer advice and make introductions. In return, the company rewards them with a small amount of stock or modest cash compensation.
  • Deputizing friends of the firm will create new, accelerated sources of talent, but you still need to pay attention to process, and you have to be disciplined. Make sure that the deputies are reporting in on a regular basis, and whatever incentive you choose, check and double-check that it’s sufficient so that busy people will participate.

HIRING EXTERNAL RECRUITERS

  • Recruiters remain a key source for executive talent, but they can do only so much if you don’t expose them to the inner culture and workings of your business
  • You have to treat them like partners. Give them enough of a peek under the kimono so they really understand who you are as a firm and as a person. Recruiters who do not understand who you are will be counterproductive
  • Great recruiters are unlikely to accept an assignment from you unless they have an opportunity to get that view. Even if they do sign on, they might force you to explore different candidates and perspectives as a way for them to peek under the kimono.

HIRING RECRUITING RESEARCHERS

  • External recruiting firms often contract with recruiting researchers to explore a market, identify sources of talent, and feed names back to the recruiting firm
  • Researchers won’t conduct interviews themselves. Instead, they’ll identify names for your internal recruiting team or managers to pursue
  • For minimal cost, companies get a pipeline that taps into a rich source of talent. Even better, hiring the researchers on a contract basis helps maintain a variable cost structure
  • The downside with researchers is that they won’t qualify candidates as thoroughly as you might like
  • You can help tailor the flow of candidates to your needs by taking time at the front end to orient recruiting researchers to your culture, business needs, and even management style and preferences

SOURCING SYSTEMS

  • Sourcing talent through these proven practices is easy. The challenge is less a matter of knowing what to do than of putting a system in place to manage the process—and having the discipline to follow through
  • One executive we know uses index cards, and he is methodical in the extreme. Along with their name, he writes down a few snippets he learned, such as a spouse’s name or a hobby or a topic of discussion. He routinely revisits these cards and follows up with the people on them. Those who know him marvel at how well he remembers details about their lives.
  • Don’t be lulled into inattention by the technology, though. The most high-tech tracking system in the world won’t do you any good if you don’t use it on a systematic basis.
  • The final step in the sourcing process, the one that matters more than anything else you can do, is scheduling thirty minutes on your calendar every week to identify and nurture A Players. A standing meeting on Monday or Friday will keep you honest by forcing you to call the top talent on your radar screen
  • Close the door to your office or go into a conference room. Pull out your list of potential A Players and sort the list by priority. Now, start making calls until you have at least one live conversation
  • Most people will be thrilled to chat. Done well, you will find you can connect with forty or more new people per year. That’s a quick way to build an impressive network.

HOW TO SOURCE

1. REFERRALS FROM YOUR PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL NETWORKS. Create a list of the ten most talented people you know and commit to speaking with at least one of them per week for the next ten weeks. At the end of each conversation, ask, “Who are the most talented people you know?” Continue to build your list and continue to talk with at least one person per week.

2. REFERRALS FROM YOUR EMPLOYEES.Add sourcing as an outcome on every scorecard for your team. For example, “Source five A Players per year who pass our phone screen.” Encourage your employees to ask people in their networks, “Who are the most talented people you know whom we should hire?” Offer a referral bonus.

3. DEPUTIZING FRIENDS OF THE FIRM.Consider offering a referral bounty to select friends of the firm. It could be as inexpensive as a gift certificate or as expensive as a significant cash bonus.

4. HIRING RECRUITERS. Use the method described in this book to identity and hire A Player recruiters. Build a scorecard for your recruiting needs, and hold the recruiters you hire accountable for the items on that scorecard. Invest time to ensure the recruiters understand your business and culture.

5. HIRING RESEARCHERS. Identify recruiting researchers whom you can hire on contract, using a scorecard to specify your requirements. Ensure they understand your business and culture.

6. SOURCING SYSTEMS. Create a system that (1) captures the names and contact information on everybody you source and (2) schedules weekly time on your calendar to follow up. Your solution can be as simple as a spreadsheet or as complex as a candidate tracking system integrated with your calendar

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Take the time to hire and educate the right recruiter. Make sure she understands your needs and culture, and don’t miss the opportunity to learn from her.

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Source from everywhere you can, including the board’s network.

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And stay engaged: If you don’t own the process, no one will. Talent is what you need. Focus and commitment will get you there.

4. Select: The Four Interviews for Spotting A Players

  • According to the four thousand studies and meta-analyses we’ve examined, traditional interviewing is simply not predictive of job performance
  • The A Players you want will be those who have a track record that matches your needs, competencies that align with your culture and the role, and plenty of passion to do the job you envision
  • To be a great interviewer, you must get out of the habit of passively witnessing how somebody acts during an interview. That puts you back in the realm of voodoo hiring methods, where you end up basing your decision on how somebody acts during a few minutes of a certain day. The time span is too limited to reliably predict anything useful.
  • Instead, the four interviews use the time to collect facts and data about somebody’s performance track record that spans decades. The four interviews are:
    • The screening interview
    • The Who Interview®
    • The focused interview
    • The reference interview

THE SCREENING INTERVIEW: CULLING THE LIST

  • The screening interview is a short, phone-based interview designed to clear out B and C Players from your roster of candidates
  • The goal here is to save time by eliminating people who are inappropriate for the position as quickly as possible. We recommend that you conduct the screening interview by phone and that you take no more than thirty minutes
  • Four essential questions will help you build a comprehensive fact base for weeding out clear B and C Players in a screening interview.
    • What are your career goals?
    • What are you really good at professionally?
    • What are you not good at or not interested in doing professionally?
    • Who were your last five bosses, and how will they each rate your performance on a 1–10 scale when we talk to them?
  • The screening interview will allow you to quickly narrow the list of candidates to a small handful that you want to pursue further. Once you have your narrowed list of two to five candidates, you can wheel out the heavy interviewing artillery.

Before the interview

  • Review the scorecard before the call to refresh your memory.
  • Then begin the call by setting expectations, saying something like this: “I am really looking forward to our time together. Here’s what I’d like to do. I’d like to spend the first twenty minutes of our call getting to know you. After that, I am happy to answer any questions you have so you can get to know us. Sound good?”
  • Candidates will almost always agree to that plan. If they are interested enough in the job to talk with you, they’ll go with whatever you propose

1) What are your career goals?

  • This first question is powerful because it allows you to hear about a candidate’s goals and passions before you taint the discussion with your own comments. You give the candidate the first word, rather than telling the person about the company so he or she can parrot back what you just said
  • Ideally, a candidate will share career goals that match your company’s needs. If he or she lacks goals or sounds like an echo of your own Web site, screen the person out
  • Talented people know what they want to do and are not afraid to tell you about it.
  • You also want to hear the candidate speak with passion and energy about topics that are aligned with the role
  • No matter how talented or qualified a candidate might be, someone who wants to be a manager is not going to be happy if you are trying to hire an individual contributor. Pass the name along to one of your colleagues if some other role in the company seems right for an able candidate, but don’t waste any more time considering him or her for the original position.

2) What are you really good at professionally?

  • We suggest you push candidates to tell you eight to twelve positives so you can build a complete picture of their professional aptitude.
  • Ask them to give you examples that will put their strengths into context. If they say they are decisive, press for an example of a time when this trait served them well, and remember, you are listening for strengths that match the job at hand.
  • If you see a major gap between someone’s strengths and your scorecard, screen that person out.

3) What are you not good at or not interested in doing professionally?

  • You could ask for weaknesses outright, but too often that approach yields cookie-cutter, self-serving answers like “I am impatient for results” or “I work too hard.” Instead, let the candidates answer as they will. Then if you’re not satisfied, push them for a real weakness or a real area for development.
  • If you hear these cookie-cutter answers, simply say, “That sounds like a strength to me. What are you really not good at or not interested in doing?” Talented people will catch the hint and reconsider their responses
  • If you still find yourself struggling, we recommend that you put the fear of the reference check into the person. You say, “If you advance to the next step in our process, we will ask for your help in setting up some references with bosses, peers, and subordinates. Okay?” The candidate will say, “Okay.” Then you say, “So I’m curious. What do you think they will say are some things you are not good at, or not interested in?” Now you’ll get an honest and full answer. The thought that you will be talking to references and verifying the candidate’s answers compels the candidate to be much more truthful and complete than usual. You will be amazed how much of a truth serum this technique can be at this stage of the screening interview.
  • Your balance sheet on a candidate will be incomplete if you can’t identify at least five to eight areas where a person falls short, lacks interest, or doesn’t want to operate. If you come up woefully short, if the weaknesses are all strengths in disguise, or if you see any deal killers relative to your scorecard, then screen the candidate out.

4) Who were your last five bosses, and how will they each rate your performance on a 1–10 scale when we talk to them?

  • Notice the language used in the question: “How will they rate you when we talk to them?” Not “if we talk to them.” When. Candidates will be thinking, “Uh-oh, I’d better be honest. I can’t say my boss would give me a 10 when I really think he’ll say 4. Maybe I can get away with saying 5, but that is about it.” In our experience, that slight nuance to the question is key to unlocking the truth.
  • Ask candidates to list each boss and offer a rating for each. Follow up by pressing for details. What makes them think their boss would rate them a 7?
  • You are looking for lots of 8’s, 9’s, and 10’s in the ratings. Consider 7’s neutral; 6’s and below are actually bad. We have found that people who give themselves a rating of 6 or lower are really saying 2.
  • If you hear too many 6’s and below, screen them out, but be sure to really listen to what is being said

During the interview

  • If you don’t like what you are hearing, simply collapse the call by accelerating your questions. We regularly finish calls in fifteen to twenty minutes if the initial responses aren’t positive.
  • On the other hand, if you hear a strong potential match to your scorecard, you can always ask the candidate if he or she has more time or is willing to schedule more.
  • Remember, you own the process: you can expand or contract the time you allot based on how well the data you gathered in the call fit the scorecard
  • While you don’t want to waste time with the wrong people, you want to make all the time necessary for the right ones

GETTING CURIOUS: WHAT, HOW, TELL ME MORE

  • The screening interview questions are simple to remember and easy to administer. But unless you follow up on the four primary questions, you won’t get all the answers you need.
  • There are literally thousands of additional questions you could ask.
  • After a candidate answers one of the primary questions above, get curious about the answer by asking a follow-up question that begins with “What,” “How,” or “Tell me more.” Keep using this framework until you are clear about what the person is really saying.
Example

For example, suppose you just asked someone the third screening interview question—“What are you not good at or not interested in doing professionally?”—and the candidate replied, “I am not great at dealing with conflict.”

The fact is, not dealing with conflict can mean a lot of different things. Does the candidate cower when under attack? Does he run for the hills? Or does he live in the hills so that he never gets attacked? Here’s a chance to get curious using the “What? How? Tell me more” framework. Let’s see how this particular conversation might play out.

What do you mean?” you ask.

“I mean I am conflict-avoidant.”

How so?” you ask again.

“Well, I guess I avoid situations where I know people are going to get upset.”

What is an example of that?”

“There was this one time where I had two employees who were not getting along. One guy had a habit of yelling at this woman. I had a hard time dealing with that.”

How did you deal with it?” you ask.

“I finally pulled him aside and told him that he had to stop. He didn’t, so I pulled him aside again and told him I would have to fire him if he did it again.”

What happened?”

“He did it again.”

“Tell me more.”

“He blew up at this poor woman for not shipping the right product to a key customer. I felt really bad for her.”

What did you do?”

“I pulled him aside again and repeated my threat to fire him.”

How did that feel?”

“Terrible. I didn’t sleep for a week leading up to the conversation. I felt like I was getting an ulcer.”

What happened next?”

“Nothing. He calmed down on his own. Then I was transferred out of the department a month later, so I got lucky. I didn’t have to deal with it.”

Notice how simple these questions are. None of them is longer than six words. They all begin with “What,” “How,” or “Tell me more.” They all play off the previous statement the candidate made. And look at what we learned about this poor fellow. Would you hire him for a key management job where a lot of change was needed?

  • The “What? How? Tell me more” framework is completely open-ended when it comes to asking follow-up questions. Sample questions include:
    • What do you mean?
    • What did that look like?
    • What happened?
    • What is a good example of that?
    • What was your role?
    • What did you do?
    • What did your boss say?
    • What were the results?
    • What else?
    • How did you do that?
    • How did that go?
    • How did you feel?
    • How much money did you save?
    • How did you deal with that?
  • Sure, it can seem like you are probing a lot, but this is a key step in an important who decision that can affect your entire company. You should be pushing candidates to be as clear and precise as possible by asking “what” and “how” questions.
  • When you have no idea what else to ask, just say, “Tell me more.” They will keep talking. We promise.

After the interview

  • Conclude the call by offering the candidate an opportunity to ask questions of you.
  • You’ll be in a better position to sell the candidate on the virtues of your firm based on what you learned in the first twenty minutes of the call, assuming you liked what you heard
  • After conducting the interview, ask yourself, “Do this person’s strengths match my scorecard? Are the weaknesses manageable? Am I thrilled about bringing this person in for a series of interviews based on the data I have?” You want to be excited about that possibility. You want to have the feeling that you have found the one. 
  • If you have any hesitation, or if you find yourself thinking you want to bring candidates in just to test them a little more, then screen them out. Only invite in those whose profile appears to be a strong match for your scorecard.
  • Too many managers make the costly mistake of lingering with candidates who are a bad match. Some are simply avoiding confrontation. Others think, “If I have my colleagues Janet, Rick, and Charlotte interview this person, they’ll see something I don’t.” That might sound collegial, but you are just wasting everybody’s time. Better to miss out on a potential A Player than to waste precious hours on a borderline case that turns out to be a B or C Player.

THE WHO INTERVIEW: THE POWER OF PATTERNS FOR CHOOSING WHO

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  • Screening interviews separate the wheat from the chaff, but they are not precise enough to ensure a 90 percent or better hiring success rate. To be more confident and accurate in your selection, you will want to conduct a Who Interview
  • Boards make mistakes when they don’t take the time to learn the story of the person. Everybody has strengths and weaknesses. If you want to enhance your predictive capabilities, you have to really understand their story and their patterns.
  • So what is the Who Interview? It’s a chronological walk-through of a person’s career. You begin by asking about the highs and lows of a person’s educational experience to gain insight into his or her background. Then you ask five simple questions, for each job in the past fifteen years, beginning with the earliest and working your way forward to the present day.
  • These five questions are so straightforward that the discussion they generate seems more like a conversation than an interview
    • What were you hired to do?
    • What accomplishments are you most proud of?
    • What were some low points during that job?
    • Who were the people you worked with?
      • What was your boss's name and how do you spell that? What was it like working with him/her? What will he/she tell me were your biggest strengths and areas of improvement?
      • How would you rate the team you inherited on A, B, C scale? What changes did you make? Did you hire anybody? Fire anybody? How would you rate the team when you left it on an A, B, C scale?
    • Why did you leave that job?
  • People being interviewed enjoy it because they feel like they are just telling their story. And everybody likes talking about their favorite subject (themselves) for as long as they have a willing listener! What you are really doing, though, is gathering an immense amount of decision data points.
  • To put the Who Interview into practice, divide a person’s career “story” into the equivalent of “chapters.” Each chapter could be a single job, or a group of jobs that span three to five years
  • The Who Interview takes three hours on average to conduct. It might take five hours for CEOs of multibillion-dollar companies, or ninety minutes for entry-level positions. The ultimate time depends on the length of a person’s career and the number of chapters you create.
  • The length of the interview will help you in two ways initially. First, it will encourage you to get really good at the screening interview so you are able to spend most of your time with the best candidates. Second, it will enable you to reduce your hiring failure rate by such a wide margin that you will never hire another person again without using this methodology
  • For every hour you spend in the Who Interview, you’ll save hundreds of hours by not dealing with C Players. The return on your time is staggeringly high
  • You, the hiring manager (or board member if you are hiring a CEO), will want to conduct the Who Interview yourself. You own the hire. Your career and job happiness depend on finding A Players. And you want to be in the room when a candidate reveals the hundreds of data points that will enable you to make a great decision.
  • We also recommend that you conduct the Who Interview with a colleague—perhaps someone from HR, another manager or member of your team, or simply someone who wants to learn the method by observing you. This tandem approach makes it easier to run the interview. One person can ask the questions while the other takes notes, or you can both do a little of each

Before the interview

  • Kick off the interview by setting expectations. Candidates are likely to feel a bit anxious because you will have told them that this interview is going to be different from what they have done in the past, but they won’t quite know how it will be different.
  • Here’s a simple script that you can use to set the stage.
  • Thank you for taking the time to visit us today. As we have already discussed, we are going to do a chronological interview to walk through each job you have held. For each job I am going to ask you five core questions: What were you hired to do? What accomplishments are you most proud of? What were some low points during that job? Who were the people you worked with? Why did you leave that job?

    At the end of the interview we will discuss your career goals and aspirations, and you will have a chance to ask me questions.

    Eighty percent of the process is in this room, but if we mutually decide to continue, we will conduct reference calls to complete the process.

    Finally, while this sounds like a lengthy interview, it will go remarkably fast. I want to make sure you have the opportunity to share your full story, so it is my job to guide the pace of the discussion. Sometimes, we’ll go into more depth in a period of your career. Other times, I will ask that we move on to the next topic. I’ll try to make sure we leave plenty of time to cover your most recent, and frankly, most relevant jobs.

    Do you have any questions about the process?

  • Setting expectations will put the candidate at ease and enable you to launch into the first chapter of his or her career with minimal confusion or intimidation.

1) What were you hired to do?

  • This first question is a clear window into candidates’ goals and targets for a specific job. In a way, you are trying to discover what their scorecard might have been if they had had one.
  • They might not know off the top of their head, so coach them by asking how they thought their success was measured in the role.
  • Build a mental image of what their scorecard should have been. What were their mission and key outcomes? What competencies might have mattered?

2) What accomplishments are you most proud of?

  • Question number two generates wonderful discussions about the peaks of a person’s career. This is where you will hear the stories behind the polished statements on a resume. In our experience, most candidates naturally focus on what really mattered to them at that time in their career rather than regurgitate what they put on their resume.
  • Ideally, candidates will tell you about accomplishments that match the job outcomes they just described to you. Even better, those accomplishments will match the scorecard for the position you are trying to fill.
  • On the flip side, we are always wary when a candidate’s accomplishments seem to lack any correlation to the expectations of the job. Be sure to listen for that clue.
  • A Players tend to talk about outcomes linked to expectations. B and C Players talk generally about events, people they met, or aspects of the job they liked without ever getting into results.

3) What were some low points during that job?

  • People can be hesitant to share their lows at first, opting instead to say something like, “I didn’t have any lows. Those were good years! Yup, those were good years, I tell you!” The disclaimers are understandable, but there isn’t a person alive who can seriously make this claim. Everybody, and we mean everybody, has work lows.
  • Our recommendation is to reframe the question over and over until the candidate gets the message. “What went really wrong? What was your biggest mistake? What would you have done differently? What part of the job did you not like? In what ways were your peers stronger than you?”
  • Don’t let the candidate off the hook. Keep pushing until the candidate shares the lows.

4) Who were the people you worked with?

  • Question four builds on the fourth question of the screening interview. Brad Smart calls the first part TORC, or threat of reference check. This is one part of the Who Interview where the precision and order of the questions really matter. To get the best results, follow the questions exactly
  1. Begin by asking candidates for their boss’s name. Ask them to spell it for you, and make a point to show them you are writing it down. “John Smith, you say? That is S, M, I, T, H, right?” Forcing candidates to spell the name out no matter how common it might be sends a powerful message: you are going to call, so they should tell the truth.
  2. Next, ask what they thought it was like working with John Smith.
    • At the positive extreme, you will hear people offer high praise for their bosses and how they received mentoring and coaching from them over the years.
    • A neutral answer will sound somewhat more reserved without being particularly positive or negative.
    • At the negative extreme, people tell you that one boss was useless, the next was a jerk, and the third a complete moron. Oddly, some candidates fail to make the connection that they are talking to their potential new boss—you. What colorful name will you earn if you hire this person? Being called a moron might be the least of your problems.
  3. Now ask, “What will Mr. Smith say were your biggest strengths and areas for improvement?” Be sure to say will, not would. 
    1. By asking “What will Mr. Smith say?” you are again signaling that this isn’t a hypothetical question. You mean business. Candidates quickly realize they have to tell you the truth because you are going to learn it from your reference calls anyway.
    2. The candidate has just spent two minutes telling you about John Smith with perfect clarity. Now he owes you two minutes on what Mr. Smith will say about him. The human brain wants to balance out the equation, so the adjectives that describe the strengths and weaknesses will spill out of your candidate’s mouth as he steps into Mr. Smith’s shoes.
    3. Nothing, of course, works every time. Some candidates will insist that they don’t know what the boss will say. Our advice is to keep reframing the question until you get an answer
    4. Example

      ghSMART consultant Christian Zabbal once had a particularly stubborn candidate who pushed Zabbal’s reframing skills to the limit. Zabbal asked him what his boss was going to say when he spoke with him, and the candidate said he didn’t know. So Zabbal reframed the question.

      “What is your best guess for what he will say?” he asked again.

      “I don’t know,” the candidate replied.

      “What kind of feedback did he give you on your reviews?” Zabbal tried again.

      “He never gave me any reviews,” he said flatly.

      “What about informally? What did he tell you in passing?”

      “He never told me anything. He never came out of his office long enough to give me any feedback.”

      “Well, what do you think he told others when he talked about you behind your back in his office, maybe to the board?” Zabbal was exhausting his repertoire of follow-up questions.

      The candidate paused for a moment after this last question, then said, “You know what, that is a good question. My buddies and I got so tired of not knowing what he was doing in that office of his that we finally snuck in one night and bugged it. We knew he was going to have a meeting the next day to talk about us with the board. We listened to the whole conversation.”

      Zabbal was in shock at what he had just heard, but he wanted to keep the candidate talking. He put on the straightest face he could muster and asked, “So what did he say about you?”

      We rest our case. There is always a better answer than “I don’t know.” Sometimes it might really surprise you! TORC has a way of uncovering a mother lode of data about a person.

  4. The second part of the fourth question—“How would you rate the team you inherited?”—is applicable to managers. The focus here is on how candidates approach building a strong team
    • Do they accept the hand they have been dealt when they inherit a new team, or do they make changes to get a better hand?
    • What changes do they make?
    • How long does it take?
    • You can ask, “When we speak with members of your team, what will they say were your biggest strengths and weaknesses as a manager?”

5) Why did you leave that job?

  • The final question of this vital Who Interview can be one of the most insight-producing questions you ask.
  • Were the candidates for your position promoted, recruited, or fired from each job along their career progression? Were they taking the next step in their career or running from something? How did they feel about it? How did their boss react to the news?
  • A Players are highly valued by their bosses. B and C Players often are not. It is an important piece of the puzzle to figure out if somebody decided to leave a job after being successful (an A Player clue) or whether he or she was pushed out of a job by a boss who did not value their contribution (a B or C Player clue).
  • A Players perform well, and bosses express disappointment when they quit. B and C Players perform less well and are nudged out of their jobs or forcefully pushed out by their bosses.
  • Don’t accept vague answers like “My boss and I didn’t connect.” That’s a non-answer. Get curious. Find out why, and stick with it until you have clear picture of what actually happened.
  • After you ask, “Why did you leave that job?” you will hear one of two answers:
  • 1. Push. “It was mutual.” “It was time for me to leave.” “My boss and I were not getting along.” “Judy got promoted and I did not.” “My role shrank.” “I missed my number and was told I was on thin ice.” “I slapped the CEO so hard that I lost my $3 million severance package.”

    2. Pull. “My biggest client hired me.” “My old boss recruited me to a bigger job.” “The CEO asked me to take a double promotion.” “A former peer went to a competitor and referred me to his boss.”

Example

We encountered a particularly striking example of the power of this last question when we were interviewing a former VP of sales on behalf of a group of investors who were considering him for a CEO position. In the course of running through a list of his previous jobs, we asked, “Why did you leave that job?”

He replied, “I had a philosophical disagreement with my boss.”

That sparked our “What? How? Tell me more” curiosity. “What happened?” we asked.

“Well,” he replied, “I guess it came down to this one board meeting. I was there with my CEO, and the board was giving him a hard time because we had fallen short on our sales numbers.”

“What were the numbers?” we asked the former VP of sales.

“We were off our goal by 25 percent. The board was not happy. They really had my CEO squirming with all of their questions. He finally cracked under the pressure and said to the board, ‘If we do not achieve our target this next quarter, we’ll have to get a new VP of sales—meaning my job!’”

“What did you do?” we asked, sensing this was about to get interesting.

“Well,” he said, “I looked him right in the eye and said, ‘You know what? Your mother had a lot of foresight when she named you.’”

Our minds started whirring with the possibilities. There were so many questions we wanted to explore. “What was his name?” we finally asked.

“Well, his given name was Richard, but he went by the common nickname for Richard.”

Once again, we fought hard to maintain a straight face. This guy had just insulted his boss, the CEO, in front of the board of directors! “What happened next?” we prodded.

“The board thought it was hysterical, but Richard didn’t. He adjourned the meeting for fifteen minutes and called me into his office. That was when he fired me.”

Aha! Now we were getting somewhere. But we were still curious. This story was too strange to pass up. “What did you say when he fired you?”

“I said, ‘You know what your problem is? Nobody has ever put you in your place.’ Then the CEO said to me, ‘Who do you think is going to put me in my place? You?’”

A smile crept across our candidate’s face. It was a loaded smile because we had learned earlier in his interview that he was most proud of leading his high school hockey team in penalty minutes.

“So what did you do?” we pushed.

“I hit him!”

Now our curiosity was killing us. We couldn’t stop ourselves. “How did you hit him, exactly?” we asked.

“It was sort of an open-handed slap across the face, but I hit him pretty hard!”

“What happened then?” We were on the edge of our seats.

“That’s when he terminated me with cause. My wife and I like to call it my $3 million slap.”

“How so?”

“I had options worth $3 million, which I lost the minute that I, um, er, slapped the CEO.”

Ouch.

There wasn’t much more we could ask our candidate at this point. What began as a philosophical difference with his boss had ended with a $3 million slap. And the most amazing part of this story is not just what happened but the fact that the VP of sales, the slapper himself, revealed it during our interview.

Master Tactics

Master Tactic #1: Interrupting

  • You have to interrupt the candidate. There is no avoiding it. You have to interrupt the candidate. If you don’t, he or she might talk for ten hours straight about things that are not at all relevant. It may feel rude to interrupt somebody who is enthusiastically telling you a story about that smelly pig farm in Kentucky that was right next to the corporate offices. However, we think it is rude to let somebody ramble. It hurts their chance of having time to cover important events in their career. So interrupt the person once you think they are going off course. You will have to interrupt the candidate at least once every three or four minutes, so get ready.
  • There is a bad way and a good way to interrupt somebody during an interview.
    • The bad way to interrupt somebody is to put up your hand like a stop sign gesture and say, “Wait, wait, wait. Let me stop you there. Can we get back on track?” This shames the candidate, implies that they have done something wrong, and makes them clam up for good. You will really struggle to get the person to open up after that.
    • The good way to interrupt somebody is to smile broadly, match their enthusiasm level, and use reflective listening to get them to stop talking without demoralizing them. You say, “Wow! It sounds like that pig farm next to the corporate office smelled horrible!” The candidate nods and says “Yes!” and appreciates your empathy and respect. Then you immediately say, “You were just telling me about launching that direct mail campaign. I’d loveto hear what was that like? How well did it go?”
  • It is through maintaining very high rapport that you get the most valuable data, and polite interrupting can build that rapport.

Master Tactic #2: The Three P’s

  • How do you know if an accomplishment a person tells you about is great, good, okay, or lousy? Use the three P’s. The three P’s are questions you can use to clarify how valuable an accomplishment was in any context. The questions are:
  • 1. How did your performance compare to the previous year’s performance? (For example, this person achieved sales of $2 million and the previous year’s sales were only $150,000.)

    2. How did your performance compare to the plan? (For example, this person sold $2 million and the plan was $1.2 million.)

    3. How did your performance compare to that of peers? (For example, this person sold $2 million and was ranked first among thirty peers; the next-best performer sold only $750,000.)

Master Tactic #3: Push Versus Pull

  • People who perform well are generally pulled to greater opportunities. People who perform poorly are often pushed out of their jobs.
  • Do not hire anybody who has been pushed out of 20 percent or more of their jobs.
  • After you ask, “Why did you leave that job?” you will hear one of two answers:
  • 1. Push. “It was mutual.” “It was time for me to leave.” “My boss and I were not getting along.” “Judy got promoted and I did not.” “My role shrank.” “I missed my number and was told I was on thin ice.” “I slapped the CEO so hard that I lost my $3 million severance package.”

    2. Pull. “My biggest client hired me.” “My old boss recruited me to a bigger job.” “The CEO asked me to take a double promotion.” “A former peer went to a competitor and referred me to his boss.”

Master Tactic #4: Painting a Picture

  • You’ll know you understand what a candidate is saying when you can literally see a picture of it in your mind
  • You always try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. What happened in the last job? Why did that not work out? You are trying to put yourself in their shoes to understand how and why they are making decisions and handling problems
  • For example, a candidate might say she is an excellent communicator. Don’t assume you know what that means. Get curious to truly understand. You might learn (1) that she is an exceptional business writer who works on all of her company’s newsletters and marketing collateral but (2) that she is also a terrible presenter. Both of these answers offer far more insight into the candidate than a general statement about being a good communicator.

Master Tactic #5: Stopping at the Stop Signs

  • One of the advantages of conducting the Who Interview in person is that you can watch for shifts in body language and other inconsistencies
  • If someone says, “We did great in that role,” while shifting in his chair, looking down, and covering his mouth, that is a stop sign. When you see that, slam on the brakes, get curious, and see just how “great” he actually did.
  • The idea isn’t to gather dirt. That’s never the point of the Who Interview. If you come off like an investigative reporter or, worse, a gossip columnist, you need to seriously refine your approach. Think of yourself instead as a biographer interviewing a subject. You want both the details and the broad pattern, the facts and texture. That’s how you make an informed who decision

THE FOCUSED INTERVIEW: GETTING TO KNOW MORE

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  • Focused interviews allow you to gather additional, specific information about your candidate.
  • These interviews also offer a chance to involve other team members directly in the hiring process
  • Be sure to emphasize to your team that this is not meant to be another Who Interview. One time through a candidate’s full story is enough.
  • Stress, too, that everyone is to follow the script. Otherwise, some of your colleagues might fall back on their favorite voodoo hiring methods. That’s the last thing you need at this point.
  • he focused interview is similar to the commonly used behavioral interview with one major difference: it is focused on the outcomes and competencies of the scorecard, not some vaguely defined job description or manager’s intuition
  • As with all of the interviews we present in this book, get curious after every answer by using the “What? How? Tell me more” framework, and keep asking until you understand what the person did and how he or she did it.
  • Focused Interview questions
    • The purpose of this interview is to talk about ____ (outcome or competency)
    • What are your biggest accomplishments in this area during your career?
    • What are your insights into your biggest mistakes and lessons learned in this area?
Example

For example, let’s say you are hiring a VP of sales. The scorecard you created has four outcomes on it:

1. Grow domestic sales from $500 million to $600 million by December 31, and continue growing them by 20 percent per year for the next five years.

2. Maintain at least a 45 percent gross margin across the portfolio of products annually.

3. Who the sales organization, ensuring 90 percent or more of all new hires are A Players as defined by the sales scorecards. Achieve a 90 percent or better ratio of A Players across the team within three years through hiring and coaching. Remove all chronic C Players within ninety days of identification.

4. Create a sales strategy that the CEO approves during the annual planning cycle.

In addition, let’s say you have identified six competencies that define success in the job:

1. Aggressive

2. Persistent

3. Hires A Players

4. Holds people accountable

5. Follows through on commitments

6. Open to criticism and feedback

Try assigning three members of your team to perform focused interviews based on this scorecard. The first interviewer takes the first two outcomes and the first two competencies because they all have to do with growing sales and managing costs, and the behaviors that support both. The second interviewer has responsibility for the outcome related to Who and the two competencies having to do with how the candidate builds the team. That leaves everything else for the third interviewer.

Each interview should take forty-five minutes to one hour, depending on how many outcomes and competencies you assign to each interviewer. Regardless of the time spent, each interviewer will bring supplemental data to your decision-making process.

DOUBLE-CHECKING THE CULTURAL FIT

  • Focused interviews also give you a final gauge on the cultural fit that so many of our CEOs and other business leaders cited as critical to the hiring process
  • Be sure to include competencies and outcomes that go beyond the specifics of the job to embrace the larger values of your company.

TYPICAL INTERVIEW DAY

8:30 A.M.–8:45 A.M. Team meeting. Bring the interview team together for fifteen minutes at the beginning of the day (or the night before) to review the scorecard, the candidate’s resume, notes from the screening interview, and roles and responsibilities for the day.

8:45 A.M.–9:00 A.M. Have a team member greet the candidate on arrival and spend a few minutes orienting him or her to the day, and possibly to the company.

9:00 A.M.–12:00 P.M. Who Interview. The hiring manager and one other colleague conduct a tandem interview that lasts one and a half to three hours, depending on the length of the candidate’s career.

12:00 P.M.–1:30 P.M. Lunch. A few team members, preferably not involved in the interview process, take the candidate to lunch. We like to keep this informal—this is a pressure-packed day as it is—but if you or the candidate is pressed for time, you can continue interviewing while you eat.

1:30 P.M.–4:30 P.M. Focused interviews. One to three team members conduct focused interviews based on their assigned portions of the scorecard. (Note: Some companies conduct focused interviews as a second round of interviews only after a candidate passes the Who Interview in an earlier round. This enables them to save time if a candidate does not pass the Who Interview, but it does force them to schedule multiple interview days. Other companies do it all in one day.)

4:30 P.M.–4:45 P.M. Host thanks the candidate and explains next steps.

4:45 P.M.–5:30 P.M. Candidate discussion. Interview team convenes for thirty to sixty minutes at the end of the day to rate the scorecard and develop a list of the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses based on the actual data gathered during the day. The hiring manager makes a go/no-go decision at the end of the meeting regarding whether to conduct reference calls or terminate the process.

THE REFERENCE INTERVIEW: TESTING WHAT YOU LEARNED

  • Don’t skip the references!
  • Without having a chance to do reference calls, you lose 25 percent of the information you should know.
  • 64 percent of the business moguls we interviewed conduct reference calls for every hire, not just the ones at the top.
  • There are three things you have to do to have successful reference interviews.
    • First, pick the right references. Review your notes from the Who Interview and pick the bosses, peers, and subordinates with whom you would like to speak. Don’t just use the reference list the candidate gives you.
    • Second, ask the candidate to contact the references to set up the calls. Some companies have a policy that prevents employees from serving as references. You may hit that brick wall if you call a reference directly, but we have found that you will have twice the chance of actually getting to talk to a reference if you ask the candidate to set up the interview—whether it is during business hours or after hours at home.
    • Third, conduct the right number of reference interviews. We recommend that you personally do about four and ask your colleagues to do three, for a total of seven reference interviews. Interview three past bosses, two peers or customers, and two subordinates.
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  • 5 questions of the reference interview:
    • In what context did you work with the person?
      • The first question is really a conversation starter and memory jogger. You already know the answer based on your Who Interview, but the people you are calling might need a minute to remember the work they did with the candidate before they can get into the details.
    • What were the person's biggest strengths?
      • The next two questions are exactly the same as the screening interview ones. In both cases, ask for multiple examples to help you put strengths and development areas into context. And, once again, don’t forget to get curious by using the “What? How? Tell me more” framework to clarify responses.
    • What were the person's biggest areas for improvement back then?
      • The third question is even more powerful when you add the phrase “back then” to the end of the question: “What were the person’s biggest areas for improvement back then?” These two words liberate a reference to talk about weaknesses that existed in the past. Surely, they might assume, the person has corrected those weaknesses. At the very least, they can tell themselves that they aren’t being critical of the candidate in the present tense. In truth, we believe, people don’t change that much. People aren’t mutual funds. Past performance really is an indicator of future performance.
    • How would you rate his/her overall performance in that job on a 1-10 scale? What about his or her performance causes you to give that rating?
      • How does the rating compare to what the candidate said in the screening interview?
      • Wide discrepancies are alarming.
      • In the end, you are looking for people who consistently get ratings of 8, 9, and 10 across your reference calls. Anything lower than that is a warning flag and should be examined more closely.
      • One 6 need not be a deal breaker if other interviewers offer higher scores. Just take the time to understand why a discrepancy exists.
    • The person mentioned that he/she struggled with ___ in that job. Can you tell me more about that?
      • Test something the candidate told you by framing it as a question for the reference. For example, “The person mentioned that you might say he was disorganized. Can you tell me more about that?”
      • Again, the phrasing is important. “You might say” suggests to the reference that she has permission to talk about the subject because the candidate raised it.

Avoid accepting a candidate’s reference list at face value

  • The best way to learn about a CEO is not to talk to their bosses, but to their subordinates.
  • If you want to find out about a football team, the last person you talk to is the head coach. Don’t believe the coach. You talk to the players and the trainer and the managers
  • References from your own network offer yet another avenue for gathering objective, unbiased data

Hearing or understanding the code for risky candidates

  • You can still get poor information from a reference call if you fail to read between the lines
  • People don’t like to give a negative reference. They want to help their former colleagues, not hurt them. They want to avoid conflict, not walk right into it. Just as important, they want to feel good about themselves
  • Nobody will come back to you to say that somebody is awful. But if they just confirm dates of employment, that is a bad sign. If somebody really thinks that a person is good, they’re going to do more than that.
  • Your best defense is to pay very close attention to what people say and how they say it.
  • When you hear "if... then" statements about the candidate, pull out your decoder ring and get curious about what’s really being said.
  • Um’s and er’s are another code for unspoken problems. Robert Hurst described this as “the reference who hesitates with the tough question.” When you ask, “How did so-and-so do?” you want to hear tremendous enthusiasm, not um’s and er’s and carefully chosen words. A reference who hesitates is typically trying hard not to say something that will condemn your candidate or put him- or herself at legal risk. Time for your decoder ring again. What is the reference not saying?
  • A truly positive reference, by contrast, should brim with tremendous enthusiasm and obvious admiration. It will lack hesitation and hedging

DECIDE WHO TO HIRE

THE SKILL-WILL BULL’S-EYE

  • The goal of the “Select” step of the A Method is to gather the facts you need to decide if somebody’s skill (what they can do) and will (what they want to do) match your scorecard. This is a person’s skill-will profile
  • When a candidate’s skill-will profile matches up perfectly with the requirements outlined on your scorecard, your candidate hits the skill-will bull’s-eye.
  • Rate each outcome as A, B, or C
    • Begin by examining skill. Skill has to do with a candidate’s ability to achieve the individual outcomes on your scorecard. When you believe there is a 90 percent or better chance the candidate can achieve an outcome based on the data you gathered during the interview, rate him or her an A for that outcome. When the data does not support that conclusion, give the candidate a lower rating for that outcome, such as a B or C. Repeat this process for each outcome.
  • Rate each competency as A, B, or C.
    • Next, evaluate will. Will has to do with the motivations and competencies a candidate brings to the table. For each competency, ask yourself the same question as before. Does the data suggest there is a 90 percent or better chance that the candidate will display that competency? If so, rate him or her an A for that particular competency. Otherwise, give the candidate a B or C. Repeat the process for each competency.
  • An A Player is someone whose skill and will match your scorecard. Anything less is a B or C, no matter the experience or seeming talent level.
  • How will you know when you have hit the skill-will bull’s eye? When (1) you are 90 percent or more confident that a candidate can get the job done because his or her skills match the outcomes on you scorecard, and (2) you are 90 percent or more confident that the candidate will be a good fit because his or her will matches the mission and competencies of the role.
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RED FLAGS: WHEN TO DIVE BENEATH THE SURFACE

  • Some behavioral clues emerge during the hiring process that can indicate potential risks. Think of these as red flags. The flags themselves are not the deal killers, but they are likely to signal that there is something worth exploring beneath the surface
  • The major flags during the hiring process include:
    • Candidate does not mention past failures.
    • Candidate exaggerates his or her answers.
    • Candidate takes credit for the work of others.
    • Candidate speaks poorly of past bosses.
    • Candidate cannot explain job moves.
    • People most important to candidate are unsupportive of change.
    • For managerial hires, candidate has never had to hire or fire anybody.
    • Candidate seems more interested in compensation and benefits than in the job itself.
    • Candidate tries too hard to look like an expert.
    • Candidate is self-absorbed.

BEHAVIORAL WARNING SIGNS

  • Winning too much. I would look out for people in the hiring process who boast about winning battles that do not matter that much. For example, a friend of mine was boasting about how he bought a toy and then found somebody else across town who was selling it for half the price. So he told me about how he returned it, drove across town, and bought the cheaper one. He won all right. But he spent two hours of his time to save $10. So his need to win in that way makes him do stupid things. You should beware of candidates who need to win to an unhealthy extent because they will be battling you and your colleagues over petty things.
  • Adding too much value is easy to look for. If you are talking and you throw out an idea, does the candidate try to add too many of his own ideas to yours? If so, it implies that your idea was not sufficiently good on its own. It is a small indicator of ego gone awry.
  • Starting a sentence with ‘no,’ ‘but,’ or ‘however’during the interview process. ‘Yes, that is a great idea’ is the right answer. ‘No, I agree with you but’ is the symptom of somebody with an overactive ego who might be challenging to work with.
  • Telling the world how smart we are. The unhealthy display is taking excessive credit, especially for a leadership role. For the leader, being all about me is bad.
  • Making destructive comments about previous colleagues is a huge red flag. Because once this person works for you, he or she will make the same needless sarcastic comments about you!
  • Passing the buck. Blaming is always bad. Winners don’t blame.
  • Making excuses. Ask people what their challenges were. If they say that their biggest challenges were not their fault but other people’s fault, that shows they do not take responsibility for their performance.
  • The excessive need to ‘be me.’ Listen for comments like ‘That’s just me, I’m not organized.’ ‘That’s just me, I’m impatient.’ ‘That’s just me, I don’t include other people in decisions. That’s just the way I am.’ Beware. Somebody who has an excessive need to ‘be me’ is telling you that they are not open to adapt their style to fit your culture or your company and should not be hired.”

DECIDE WHO TO HIRE

1. Take out your scorecards that you have completed on each candidate.

2. Make sure you have rated all of the candidates on the scorecard. If you have not given each candidate an overall A, B, or C grade, do so now. Make any updates you need to based on the reference interviews. Look at the data, consider the opinions and observations of the interview team, and give a final grade.

3. If you have no A’s, then restart your process at the second step: source.

4. If you have one A, decide to hire that person.

5. If you have multiple A’s, then rank them and decide to hire the best A from among them.

SUMMARY: HOW TO SELECT AN A PLAYER

1. SCREENING INTERVIEW: Conduct a twenty- to thirty-minute screening interview, using the four key questions. Probe for more information by using the “What? How? Tell me more” framework. Filter out obvious B and C Players from your hiring pipeline.

2. WHO INTERVIEW: Conduct a Who Interview of one and a half to three hours by walking chronologically through a candidate’s career, using the same five questions for each job or chapter in the person’s work history. The hiring manager and one other colleague should conduct the interview in tandem.

3. FOCUSED INVERVIEW(S): Involve others in the hiring process by assigning team members to conduct interviews that focus on the outcomes and/or competencies on the scorecard.

4. CANDIDATE DISCUSSION: Following each day of interviews, grade the scorecard using the skill-will framework. Advance those whose skill (what they are fundamentally good at doing) and will (what they want to do, and in what type of culture) match the mission, outcomes, and competencies on your scorecard. Look for people whom you would rate an A on the critical outcomes and key competencies. Nobody is perfect, but seek those who are strong in the most important places of your scorecard.

5. REFERENCE INTERVIEW: Conduct seven reference calls with people you choose from the Who Interview. Ask the candidate to set up the calls to break through the gatekeepers while minimizing your own effort.

6. FINAL DECISION: Repeat your analysis of the skill-will profile to ensure you still have a bull’s-eye.

ghSMART hiring framework:

Develop a role scorecard (mission, outcomes, competencies) → Source candidates → Conduct Screening Interview → Conduct Topgrading Interview → Conduct Focused Interview → Conduct Reference Interviews → Rate each candidate by the scorecard → Analyze the warning signs → Decide who to hire

5. Sell: The Top Five Ways to Seal the Deal

  • Have you heard the riddle about the five frogs on a log? It goes like this: Five frogs are on a log and one decides to jump off. How many are left? If you answered “five,” you are correct. Deciding to do something and actually doing it are two different things.
  • Most managers fail to sell a candidate.
  • The key to successfully selling your candidate to join your company is putting yourself in his or her shoes. Care about what they care about
  • It turns out that candidates tend to care about five things, so make sure that you address each of these five areas until you get the person to sign on the dotted line. The five areas, which we call the five F’s of selling, are: fit, family, freedom, fortune, and fun.
    • Fit ties together the company’s vision, needs, and culture with the candidate’s goals, strengths, and values. “Here is where we are going as a company. Here is how you fit in.”
    • Family takes into account the broader trauma of changing jobs. “What can we do to make this change as easy as possible for your family?”
    • Freedom is the autonomy the candidate will have to make his or her own decisions. “I will give you ample freedom to make decisions, and I will not micromanage you.”
    • Fortune reflects the stability of your company and the overall financial upside. “If you accomplish your objectives, you will likely make [compensation amount] over the next five years.”
    • Fun describes the work environment and personal relationships the candidate will make. “We like to have a lot of fun around here. I think you will find this is a culture you will really enjoy.”

SELLING FIT

  • Fit is by far the most important point to sell. Just as you are looking for a person who can be an A Player in a role, so the best candidates are looking for roles where they can be A Players
  • Fit means showing the candidate how his or her goals, talents, and values fit into your vision, strategy, and culture.
  • People want to make an impact in the world. They want to be needed. They want to be part of something that feels right
  • They have to understand my vision. They have to become part of the formula. We are all in the same boat. We make money the same way, and we go forward the same way. I don’t just hire people and say, ‘This is the position.’ We are going to succeed as a team and make money together.
  • Show that you are as concerned with the fit for them as you are in the fit for you. Ninety-nine percent of your competitors are not doing that. It is a key differentiator. You will be the one who cares enough to see if there is something for them here. Everybody else is concerned with just finding out if there is a match for us here.
  • Nobody who is worth anything is going to go into a company where they don’t see real potential with the company and a strong fit with their goals and abilities. The most valuable commodity they have is their time. If they are truly an A Player, they are going to value the potential of the company

SELLING FAMILY

  • We have a whole part of our process that is dedicated to showing the families around, sightseeing, and having dinners—really making them feel at home
  • Time and again, we have seen A Players from managers to CEOs showered with gifts and attention only to drop out of the process at the eleventh hour because their families were not on board.
  • Understanding the social and family environment an executive lives in is key to their agreeing to accept a position. If you fail to understand that, you will have an executive who drops out at the last stage of the search process
  • When hiring for small companies, the person who needs to be sold is never the candidate. The candidate would not be there if he were not sold. Focus on selling the spouse, children, parents, and friends of the candidate
  • Be sincere. The five F’s aren’t tools for manipulating people. They are areas on which you will want to focus deep and honest attention now that you have come to the end of the recruiting process.
  • Once you are sold on a candidate, you have to sell him or her—and all the people who come along with him or her, from kids to parents—on you. So bring them to town and show them around. Hire a real-estate broker to give them a tour of possible neighborhoods and schools. Take them to dinner. Introduce them to the other awesome families of your teammates. And when the kids are in bed, drink some tequila together.

SELLING FREEDOM

  • A Players have never liked being micromanaged. That’s even more true of Gen-X and Gen-Y A Players. Nothing will scare them off faster than the prospect of working for an overly directive boss or board
  • The problem is that offering the sort of freedom A Players demand and expect scares some executives because it makes them feel like they are giving up control. This is one of the great paradoxes of management. In reality, great leaders gain more control by ceding control to their A Players
  • The role of the CEO is to inspire people, and you cannot inspire people unless you get to know them and them you. Don’t cut corners on that. It takes energy. CEOs are sometimes afraid to be real people. If you want to extract as much value as possible out of somebody in an organization, you have to let them be themselves
  • Nothing sells freedom more than giving candidates free access to the people around you so they can ask whatever they want about your style.
  • Freedom matters to today’s workforce, and especially to the most valuable among them
  • Show them that both you personally and your organizational culture will support their need for freedom, and you’ll go a long way toward sealing the deal

SELLING FORTUNE

  • If nothing else seems to be working, you can always throw money at a hire you are trying to land, right? Actually, wrong.
  • Research shows that while money can be a disincentive if it is too low or not linked to performance, it rarely is the key motivator
  • Compensation will enter the equation eventually, and you can take advantage of that fact by demonstrating how a candidate would be rewarded if he or she joined your company
  • You can’t try to steal them because they will want to go somewhere else. And you can’t throw too much money at them because other people will find out and that will make them mad
  • Pay people on a performance basis. Link variable compensation to an employee’s performance against the scorecard. Scorecards define A performance and provide objective metrics for monitoring it. Linking bonuses to scorecard attainment ensures you pay top compensation only when you get A performance.

SELLING FUN

  • We spend more than a third of our time, and probably better than half our waking time, at work. We might as well have fun while we are doing it.
  • What “fun” means, of course, is closely tied to corporate culture.

FIVE WAVES OF SELLING

  • Selling is something you should be doing throughout the entire process. Like sourcing, selling requires constant attention.
  • Think of these as waves to overcome. If you don’t increase your sales energy, you won’t get your candidate over the crest of the wave to the next phase. The waves are:
  • 1. When you source

    2. When you interview

    3. The time between your offer and the candidate’s acceptance

    4. The time between the candidate’s acceptance and his or her first day

    5. The new hire’s first one hundred days on the job

Sell during sourcing

  • The emphasis on interest and talents during the sourcing process provides the first opportunity for you to gauge which of the five F’s are going to matter to the candidate
  • You sell from the moment you start the whole hiring process. It all starts with understanding where somebody is with their interests. It helps you spot where their hooks are, but to spot the hooks, you have to listen. ‘Where are you today? What is it you are really seeking?
  • People will let down their guard earlier. You get a faster and richer view of who they are and what they want. Then you can sell this as clearly the right next move for them

Sell during interview

  • Selling during the interview process typically happens toward the end of each interview. The question time at the end is when you put on your sales hat, assuming you still see potential in the candidate
Example

Let’s say, for example, you’re interviewing a candidate for a curator’s job at an art museum, and at the end, she asks whether the museum fully funds continuing education for its employees. Now you know two things: (1) she is interested in improving her weak spots and enhancing her expertise, and (2) the more attractive your continuing education opportunities—not just degree programs, say, but travel as well—the better the likelihood she will say yes if you ultimately decide to extend an offer. If that is the case, then sell that point.

Sell between offer and acceptance

  • The third opportunity to sell falls between your offer and their acceptance. Too often, managers back away at this point, on the mistaken notion that prospective hires “need time to think about it.” They might well need time, but this is likely to have been a prolonged courtship
  • Instead of putting people in the deep freeze, assume they have received an attractive counteroffer from their current employer and are considering other options at the same time. These are A Players, after all. Silence is your worst enemy at this stage.
  • Stay in touch with them on a regular basis. Pinpoint their concerns using the five F’s as your guide. Show them how much they will fit with and contribute to the company. Woo their families. Commit to giving them freedom and autonomy to do their job. Address financial concerns. And involve them in the fun your employees are already having

Sell between acceptance and first day

  • We suggest celebrating their acceptance by sending something meaningful, such as flowers, balloons, or a gift certificate. Make a splash. Continue to stay in touch. Keep listening for concerns related to the five F’s and address them as soon as they come up.

Sell during first 100 days on the job

  • Research shows an alarming failure rate among new hires in the first one hundred days. People get buyer’s remorse during these early months and are tempted to cut their losses. You can mitigate that risk by investing in a strong on-boarding program
  • You, the hiring manager or board member, have to make sure your new A Player has every opportunity to succeed.

PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF

  • Great leaders are persistent. They don’t take the first no for an answer. They keep positive pressure on the A Players they want until they get them. From the first sourcing call to the last sales call, they never let up.
Example

Robert Hurst told us a story that illustrates this point. “If you find somebody you want, go after them. In the case of a public insurance company we owned, we were looking for a number-two executive and not the number-one. Some of us on the board knew the number-one should go, but the number-one did not know that. We found a great hire. He said he would not take the number-two spot and wait several years to become number-one. So I would call him every couple of weeks and say, ‘I think there is a chance to be number-one right away.’

“We ultimately asked the CEO to leave, and we put in the new man as the CEO right away. He would have done something else if we had not gone after him in a very aggressive way. That process went on for four to five months, and we got him. He did a great job. The company needed an A Player. And we got one, and the stock went up five times over a couple of years.”

John Howard, the CEO of BSMB, told his own story about a famous deal maker who purchased a consumer products company. It is another wonderful illustration of how the persistent pursuit of A Players can pay off.

Howard began by describing how the deal maker approached a newly acquired property that was quickly going downhill—a disaster. “He knew he had to change management and tried to figure out how to get the best guy in the industry. He had identified the number-two guy in a good competitor. He romanced him by flying down to meet him one-on-one. He got personal with him. He built a relationship. He wanted him because he was someone who had grown up in the business and the deal maker knew he could turn around the business quickly. He was the man.

“But the question was how to get the guy. The deal maker has a house near where the guy lived, so every time he flew down, he would meet with him. The candidate was making, like, $175K—I don’t know if that is exactly right—and the deal maker kept offering more and more and more money. He had offered more than double what the candidate was making before, but the guy was still reticent. He was a small-town guy and was intimidated by New York. While he’d never graduated from high school, he was the smartest guy I have ever met. The deal maker kept after him, and more and more the guy’s wife came up as the reason for not coming on board, but it was not clear if it was real or an excuse.

“The deal maker finally asked him to come to New York with his wife. By this time, the deal maker had offered three or four times the guy’s present salary. He flies him up in his private plane. He takes them to a fancy co-op overlooking the river. He has this penthouse on top, and he took them up and said, ‘This is where you would live, care of the company. This would be taken care of.’ Everything was windows all around, and all you are seeing is New York. Everything is glowing. It’s possible that the deal maker waited until night to make the view even better than during the day.

“Then they go downstairs, and there is a Porsche 911. He said, ‘This would be your car if you came to this company.’

“Then they go out to dinner at the fanciest French restaurant the deal maker could find, which he knew they would like because he knew the CEO candidate and his wife were foodies. He has this big box on the table and says to the CEO candidate’s wife, ‘I know you are concerned about New York and how it can be cold in the winter.’ He takes a chinchilla coat out of the box and says, ‘You can keep this. Whatever you decide, this is my gift to you.’

“He finally got up to like $850K in salary, plus the apartment and car and coat, and the candidate accepted. Within one year, he had totally turned around the company.

“The reason I know this was because we bought the company from the deal maker a few years later and delivered him a great return. We also made a great return on our investment. We held the company for four years and made twenty times our money in that time.”

The moral of the story, Howard told us, is this: “You’ve got to do whatever it takes when you are sure you have identified the right person. You do whatever you can.” You might not be hiring at a level that justifies a penthouse apartment or a new car. But at any level, persistence pays off.

  • You’ve got to do whatever it takes when you are sure you have identified the right person. You do whatever you can.

SUMMARY: HOW TO SELL A PLAYERS

1. Identify which of the five F’s really matter to the candidate: fit, family, freedom, fortune, or fun.

2. Create and execute a plan to address the relevant F’s during the five waves of selling: during sourcing, during interviews, between offer and acceptance, between acceptance and the first day, and during the first one hundred days on the job.

3. Be persistent. Don’t give up until you have your A Player on board.

6. Your Greatest Opportunity

  • We asked these leaders what factors contributed the most to business success. They told us that “management talent” was over half the equation.
  • The only other category to draw even 20 percent of the vote was execution. Strategy finished below that, at 17 percent, and external factors—interest rates, for example—still further back at 11 percent.
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  • Get the talent side of the equation wrong, and you will always face rough waters. You’ll spend all of your time dealing with an endless torrent of what issues. Get it right, and you’ll have clear skies, smooth seas, and easy sailing. The right who will take care of all of those issues.

HOW TO INSTALL THE A METHOD FOR HIRING IN YOUR COMPANY

You have to do ten things if you want to install the AMethod for Hiring in your business:

1. Make people a top priority. The leaders we interviewed for this book told us they spend as much as 60 percent of their time thinking about people. By making it one of your top three priorities and communicating the urgency of addressing it, you can prevent your team from thinking it is just another flavor of the month that they can wait out.

2. Follow the A Method yourself. Great leaders don’t tell people what to do. They lead by example. That gives them the right to expect others to follow.

3. Build support among your executive team or peers. Leaders gain momentum by engaging everybody on their executive team to follow the A Method. They use their personal relationships to garner support, hand out books such as this one to promote the idea, and even hold off-sites and workshops to supercharge the topic.

4. Cast a clear vision for the organization and reinforce it through every communication with the broader team. Try a message like “We are going to win with A Players,” “We will succeed because we have an A Player in every role,” or “Our people will serve our customers far better than the competition because our people are all A Players.” Then back up these words with actions to show how the vision is transforming the team.

5. Train your team on best practices. Leaders ensure every manager on the team has the skills required to execute the A Method by helping them learn each step. A hands-on workshop demystifies the process and puts the simple tools in their hands.

6. Remove barriers that impede success. Leaders who want to be A Players in charge of teams full of other A Players work with HR to eliminate any policy, standard, or practice that gets in the way of successfully implementing the A Method. They remove any possibility for excuses based on an outdated approach.

7. Implement new policies that support the change. Leaders know that all of the communication in the world won’t motivate some members of the team, so they put a few simple policies in place to provide a backstop for wayward colleagues:

  • They place the following outcome on every manager’s scorecard: “Achieve a hiring success rate of 90 percent or greater. Build and retain a team composed of 90 percent or more A Players by a certain date.”
  • They require a scorecard for every job requisition. No scorecard, no requisition. Managers who want help from the company’s recruiting team need to provide a scorecard to get support.
  • They require a Who Interview and rated scorecard before an offer can be made. The human resource group serves as a gatekeeper to ensure this actually happens. No Who Interview, no hire.

8. Recognize and reward those who use the method and achieve results. Captains of industry are always on the lookout for evidence that people are using the A Method, and they publicly recognize those who do. They also reward managers who achieve a 90 percent or better hiring success rate by linking a substantial portion of their bonus to that particular outcome. They know that bonuses pay for themselves through substantially increased productivity.

9. Remove managers who are not on board.Captains short-circuit any potential for mutiny by removing those who refuse to build a better team using the method. Of course, they give people every opportunity to succeed before they make this decision, but they do not hesitate once it becomes clear that someone is not going to cooperate.

10. Celebrate wins and plan for more change. The best leaders celebrate their team’s success by offering tangible rewards, such as a fancy dinner, a team event, or even a nice gift. They use the goodwill generated by this recognition to inspire more action in the next year. Never satisfied, they seek new and better ways to achieve the results they desire and go back to step one to implement those changes.

  • You don’t have to be the CEO to implement the A Method. You can do it in your function, department, or business unit just as easily. You can make a difference wherever you sit. Make the A Method and A Players a priority in your sphere of influence and encourage your team to follow your lead. Your group will benefit, and others will notice. The example you set will serve as a beacon for the rest of the company to follow.

LEGAL TRAPS TO AVOID

  • Please make sure you are in compliance with all relevant employment laws at the federal or central, provincial or state, and local levels, wherever in the world you are hiring. Work with your HR people and employment legal team to gain a thorough understanding of all the issues to be aware of, and stay in the green zone with respect to your hiring practices.
  • The ghSMART A Method for Hiring is legal and fair. The consistency of the process and focus on gathering data actually make it far more legal and fair than the ad hoc hiring practices commonly used by businesspeople
  • To stay well within the law, we suggest you respect these four areas of caution:
  • 1. Relevance. Do not reject candidates for reasons that are not relevant to the job. One tremendous benefit of the scorecard is that it will force you to define the outcomes and competencies required in a job before you start interviewing people. That explicit definition will keep you honest during your evaluation. Stick to the facts. Exclude issues or feelings that are irrelevant to the successful attainment of the scorecard.

    2. Standardization of hiring process. Use the same process for all candidates regardless of their demographic group. Managers get into trouble when they consciously or inadvertently put different groups through different processes. A standard process ensures fairness across all groups.

    3. Use nondiscriminatory language during interviews and in written forms. Saying “he or she” or “they” is better than assuming a role should be performed by a man or woman. Obviously, never use language that is derogatory toward anyone.

    4. Avoid asking candidates illegal questions.Certain questions cannot be asked in an interview. In the United States, these questions include anything to do with marital status, intention to have children, whether or not candidates are pregnant, when they were born, where they were born, medical condition (unless specifically relevant to the performance of the job), race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, or physical or mental handicaps (again, unless directly relevant to the performance of the job). The questions to avoid vary somewhat in other nations, so please check with your local HR and legal team to understand a specific country’s laws before interviewing there. An ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure.

  • The bottom line is this: don’t discriminate. Select people based on whether they are likely to be able to perform a job or not

THOUGHTS ON BUILDING YOUR TEAM

  • Managers don’t need just one A Player. They need to build an entire team of A Players. The team drives the business forward, not just a single person
  • Remember, an A Player is not an all-around athlete. An A Player is someone who accomplishes the goals on the scorecard, which only the top 10 percent of the people in the relevant labor pool could accomplish. And you get to define the scorecard. You determine what a job holder must accomplish. You set competencies and values consistent with your culture. So an A Player is someone who accomplishes the outcomes you define in a manner consistent with your culture and values.
  • If teamwork is a core value in your company, then a star athlete who wants the spotlight is not an A Player. We don’t care how productive he or she might be
  • A Players get the job done while embracing the culture because the scorecard ensures they fit the culture.
  • A Players can and do work well together because each understands and is selected for a unique role in the broader context of the team. They don’t get in one another’s way because they are specialists who are particularly good at what they do
  • It is not only possible but also highly desirable to build an entire team of A Players.

RIDING THE RISING TIDE

  • “A rising tide lifts all boats.” So it is with A Players. The right hire in the right position at the right time with the right cultural alignment echoes throughout an organization. Productivity, goals, desires, and enthusiasm all benefit when you bring in the exact person your division or unit or company needs
  • What you need to keep in mind, though, is that not every tide rises the same way. Some surge. Some creep slowly and steadily. While the A Players you bring in need to be attuned to your culture, the culture needs enough elasticity to embrace the A Players who can challenge you in areas where you need to be challenged.

WHAT TYPES OF CEOS MAKE MONEY FOR INVESTORS?

  • The proper answer is, It depends on the scorecard. Different situations call for different scorecards.
  • But are there some general qualities about CEOs that tend to predict success or failure? — The answer is yes.
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Lambs

  • Boards and investors have a tendency to invest in CEOs who demonstrate openness to feedback, possess great listening skills, and treat people with respect. These are executives who have mastered the soft skills. We call them “Lambs” because these CEOs tend to graze in circles, feeding on the feedback and direction of others.
  • Boards love Lambs because they are so easy to work with, and in fact, in our study Lambs were successful 57 percent of the time. That is not a bad success rate. A batter who hit .570 over a career could walk backward into the Hall of Fame.

Cheetahs

  • The second dominant profile that emerged from our analysis was of CEOs who move quickly, act aggressively, work hard, demonstrate persistence, and set high standards and hold people accountable to them. We call these CEOs “Cheetahs” because they are fast and focused.
  • Cheetahs in our study were successful 100 percent of the time. This is not a rounding error. Every single one of them created significant value for their investors
  • Conventional wisdom holds that the sort of emotional intelligence Lambs show is the critically important leadership quality. In fact, our analysis argues otherwise. Emotional intelligence is important, but only when matched with the propensity to get things done. 
  • Too many executives have fallen into the trap of accentuating their Lamb skills at the expense of their Cheetah qualities. They work hard to stay in tune with their employees. They’re well liked on the shop floor and in the boardroom. There’s only one problem: they don’t produce value at anywhere near the rate Cheetahs do.
  • This isn’t to say that Cheetahs lack soft skills. To the contrary, they are talented people whose soft skills played a critical role in their ascent to the top job. The difference, though, is that Cheetahs know when it is time to stop asking for feedback and to attack a target to achieve key outcomes that move a company forward
  • Should you always want to be a Cheetah, or do you always want to hire a Cheetah? No. But if you have the choice to be or hire somebody who errs on the side of being too fast and focused versus being slow and extremely collaborative, we recommend going with the fast and focused option. In this fast-paced age of business in which we all exist, it appears that speed and focus really count when it comes to delivering great financial results

YOU CAN DO IT

  • I want you to pause for a moment and think about the very best person you have working for you. Now I want you to think about the second-best person you have working for you. Now I would like you to think about where your organization would be without them. You would be terrified if you lost them. And you would love to have ten more like them. That is how I feel about the importance of hiring, promoting, and keeping the right people.
  • The A Method propels your career forward. It allows you to achieve more career, financial, and even personal success than you ever thought possible. Seeing it all come together is truly a beautiful thing
  • Implementing the A Method for Hiring will not only answer that all-important who question. It will give you a who lens through which to view your entire business.
  • Suddenly you’ll find yourself outperforming bigger and more established competitors.
  • To figure out the scorecard for what matters in a job, just think about what success looks like for the role and how you could measure it through metrics or observation.
  • To source the talent you need, use the tactics we described from some of the most successful managers in the world. Tap into your networks for referrals and get A Players flowing toward your business. Use recruiters when necessary. Build capabilities within your internal recruiting team.
  • Select people by going through the rigorous interview process we taught you. Use the skill-will bull’s-eye to match A Players to your scorecard with an astounding degree of accuracy.
  • And sell A Players to take the positions you need them to fill by remembering the five F’s of selling to seal the deal.