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Recruit for Role & Culture

Updated: Oct 31, 2021

Recruiting is one of the best ways to grow an enterprise by adding fresh talent, capabilities, and perspectives. Optimally the recruiting process should be ongoing and begin before there’s an immediate and acute need because great mid and senior-level talent is not plentiful and the proper relationship-building and vetting process can take a couple of months to a couple of quarters. Most people don’t realize two important factors about successful recruiting:

1. 80% of performance problems can be traced back to bad recruiting and hiring processes.

2. The average cost to replace a white-collar knowledge worker is between 1.5 and 3 times their annual salary. The gravity of recruiting and hiring mistakes falls heavier on smaller organizations than they do larger ones. These mistakes can set an organization back financially and in lost time and opportunity.

Recruiting Should be Systematic and Ongoing

You should think of recruiting as a system designed to get you’re the type of specific professional talent you want and the ability to easily recognize the wrong talent. Like any good system, you take shortcuts at your own expense and risk!

1. Developing a role profile – before you start talking to candidates you must get a granular understanding of the role and what the role requires for superior performance. After all, why would you take a shot if you didn’t know where the bullseye is? To develop a good role profile, get 2-4 people who know the role well in a room or virtually and ask If this role could speak - what would it say is required from a skill, experience, character, and special knowledge perspective for superior performance?

a. Performance Outcomes - Developing a good role profile begins with defining the ideal performance outcomes the role is expected to produce. What is the role designed for and expected to produce?

b. Special Knowledge – The world continues to get more specialized and with it specialized knowledge, licenses, and professional designations can be pre-requisites. Identify any must-have licenses, market, or technology experience required. Professional designations can be a racket so be careful to categorize something as a must-have that isn’t absolutely required.

c. Professional Competencies – to identify the competency profile you must ask the following question: what are the professional competencies required to produce the performance outcomes? A competency is defined as “the ability to do something successfully or efficiently”

d. Soft Skills and Character Qualities – In today’s highly integrated and matrixed organizations, soft skills and character qualities are often the difference between success or failure. To develop this part of the role profile you have to ask: “what are the soft skills and character qualities required to work effectively in our cultural environment to produce the performance outcomes for this role?

2. Develop a pipeline of candidates – as you develop your candidate pipeline, use your role profile to cast a wide net. Share the profile with colleagues and ask them if they have any candidates they can recommend. I believe word of mouth and known candidates eliminate a lot of unknown risks and time, you can also, put the profile out on social media to see what it produces. Don’t hesitate to look at candidates from similar professions. These people can offer fresh perspectives to old problems. The full vetting process will determine if they can succeed in the role, but initially, we’re trying to build a solid pipeline of potential talent.

Welcome to the dance

You must think of recruiting like a courtship, it takes time, patience, and persistence to build the relationship. As you begin to develop relationships with your candidates you need to understand what it takes to get someone over the line and agree to join your business and team. My client’s often ask me about the people and companies who are recruiting them and almost without exception they have six questions they must find answers to before they are willing to leave their current employer and join your firm.

1. Will the new firm help or hurt my short-term and longer-term income potential compared to my current employer?

2. Are they highly operationally functional and will I have less political and bureaucratic bullshit than my current employer?

3. Will the brand of the new company help or hurt my brand?

4. Can I trust the leader I’ll be working for?

5. Will I be working with high-quality professionals and does the new firm have a reputation for getting rid of bad actors and low performers?

6. Will I feel welcome and included?

In your courtship, you will have to overcome the above six concerns and demonstrate to the candidate that they are improving their situation on a broad spectrum of qualitative and quantitative measures.

How to look behind the mask?

A high percentage of job seekers embellish or lie in the interviewing process. In fact, a CNBC study found that 78% of job seekers lied in the interviewing process. Please see: How many job seekers lie on their job application ( So getting to know someone over several encounters can reveal much about your candidate.

Assessments – We use online assessments for hiring and for coaching. These highly validated tools are amazing and give you a wealth of information about your candidates. We combine them with role profiling tools and allow you to put your top candidate's side by side and compare them against the role profile. Once you’ve selected your candidate the assessment is fantastic as an onboarding and coaching tool. Books and Articles – What do they read? how much do they read? When and how do they consume reading material (physical, electronic, audio). Reading reveals a learner’s mindset and gives some insight into their curiosities. Aspirations – What is their professional vision?

Mentors & Heros– Who were they and how did they help or impact you? Major events – Life shapes all of us, big events shape us a lot! Greatest failure or struggle – It’s my experience that struggles and overcoming difficulties teach us more about ourselves than our successes. It can also reveal how comfortable people are in their own skin.

To make someone feel valued, understood, and appreciated as an individual you must know who they are! Getting to know someone will help you make an optimal hiring decision; it will also support the onboarding process.

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