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The Greatest Challenge to Excellence – The Inability to Hire Talent

Malcolm Gladwell tells Anderson Cooper that his best-selling book “Blink” taught him to “never use your instincts.” As Gladwell explains to Cooper, instincts or snap decisions encouraged him to stay out of his assistant hiring process: “You hire the person with whom you have chemistry, right? Chemistry is not relevant in that situation,” Gladwell said. “So I have my old assistants, they hire their replacement.

Here are a few things you can consider when making the next hire for your organization.

  1. During the interview pose a problem that the employee will solve. First explain why your company exists. What problem does your company solve? For instance, think about the “pain” your company alleviates for its customers and tie in how the right candidate will support those efforts. Then pose a problem that this new hire is going to solve. Be very specific. Explain what issues they will alleviate and have them tell you how they will accomplish that task.
  2. Look for repeated patterns of success.
    Don’t just look for tactical job responsibilities and skills–find the applicants who have repeatedly made a mark and exceeded expectations, time and time again. Drill down in the interview to ask those questions; find out how they measure their own success and whether their employment history tells a story of a superstar.
  3. It’s still about the passive seekers.
    Often the demands of business will place pressure on leaders to hire quickly. Often times the candidates that are right for the job are happily employed at another company. The process of identifying, attracting and hiring passive candidates takes time since they are not currently looking for another opportunity. The energy invested in finding and courting the right hire is worth the time and effort. Hiring the wrong person can set your goals back anywhere from 12-24 months. The reality is, the truly premium talent is still scarce, and always will be. If your bar for talent is high, passive seekers can make or break your search.
  1. Make a compelling offer
    After you’ve found someone you want to hire, it’s time to make a compelling and fair offer. But before you extend that offer, make sure you understand what is important to your top candidate. Is it the base salary? Flexible work schedule? Bonus Potential? Opportunity to do something new or work with leadership?

I’ve seen too many occasions when excellent candidates say “no” after being offered the role. Don’t let yourself be surprised. Great people often have great options, so you need to inspire them to join you.

Not getting a clear picture of these factors can lead to a candidate saying no after months of interviewing. Understanding these key factors can help you make an offer that is within your compensation philosophy and will be appealing to the candidate.

Once the offer is made call them up and congratulate them. Tell them how excited you are to have met them and share your vision for the opportunity they can look forward to. If you see a path for their responsibilities to grow and evolve, share that with them as well.

Following a few of these suggestions can yield great results for you and your team and alleviate months of stalled searching for the right candidate.

© Benton+Bradford Consulting