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Keys to Hiring People Reside with Executives, But Do They Realize It?

Saturday, April 1, 2006

The Society for the Advancement of Consulting® (SAC®) recently asked its worldwide membership to comment on attracting and hiring outstanding talent. "In an increasingly complex, global, and competitive marketplace," says SAC CEO Alan Weiss, Ph.D., "hiring the right people for the right jobs—at every level—is perhaps the greatest challenge and opportunity for every organization."

SAC member Dr. Maynard Brusman, Consulting Psychologist & Executive Coach, and President of Working Resources in San Francisco, CA, reports:

"Great leaders of successful companies spend half of their time on people: recruiting new talent, picking the right people for positions, grooming young stars, developing global managers, dealing with under-performers, and reviewing the entire talent pool. Hiring can seem like flipping a coin for talent when managers are hired because of his or her ability to interview well; presentation is more important than substance. The candidate is judged on first impressions of his or her personality, social confidence, assertiveness, appearance, extroversion, and verbal skills. Instead, the candidate needs to be assessed for initiative, learning agility, team skills, achieving objectives, technical competence, management and organizational skills, intellect, leadership and emotional intelligence. The use of validated psychological pre-employment instruments and a structured performance-based interview in the selection process can increase the probability of hiring key managers who are a great fit with the company culture and improve retention rates."

Keith McLeod, owner of The Business Center in Tucson, AZ, finds three vital factors:

  1. Collins, in his recent book, "Good to Great" concluded that innate character traits played a much more significant role than education and experience in determining success. Examples of such character traits are work ethic, determination, creativity, intelligence, focus, integrity, vision, and charisma.
     
  2. With modern psychometric methodologies it is possible to study the character traits of highly successful individuals in a profession and in a particular organization, thereby determining empirically what set of character traits form the basis for top performance in a profession, or in a particular organization. Indeed, once a particular executive has been studied, one can understand the set of character traits that would make someone a good fit with that particular executive.
     
  3. Best practices in selection must include psychometric evaluation based on the study of highly successful individuals in the profession and in the particular organization in question.

Lisa Anderson, President of LMA Consulting Group in Claremont, CA finds:

"In order to find the best person for the role, I look to whether the person will deliver results. I've seen many fast-talking interviewees who sound as though they could solve world hunger yet they end up lacking in their ability to execute. So, instead of falling into the trap of evaluating based on how effective they are in communication style only, I look for people who provide answers and examples of delivering results. I find that industry experience and mountains of degrees are irrelevant to who will deliver results; instead, cultural fit, behavioral style and the ability to learn and apply are the key indicators."

"Hiring is not a job for human resources or outsourcing," concludes Weiss, but a key component of every executive's accountabilities. If new hires fail, then the executives are failing and the board should take notice."

 
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