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Hire The Right People - A Two Way Street

August 5, 2009

Mr Right, for lack of a better name, had decided it was time to move on to a new job. He had all of the qualifications: education, experience, accomplishments, industry experience and contacts. He was definitely an "A" player in his industry.

So he went about the business of looking, and in short order he had three different companies that were very interested.

Company A interviewed him, set up a second round of interviews with top people directly involved in the position he was being considered for, interviewed him and, after checking references - with his permission, and assessing his fit, made him an offer - albeit a low ball offer to start the process of negotiation. Throughout the process so far he was treated well, with all the steps completed in an organized, efficient manner

Company B contacted him, completed a phone interview with the Hiring Manager and the HR recruiter, and set up an interview schedule with four stakeholder executives for a Saturday, recognizing his commitments to his current employer. The interviews were held, he left feeling good about the position and his own performance. Two weeks later he had not yet had a follow up call or letter, even though he had sent thank you letters to the people he had talked to.

Company C contacted him, asked him to come in as soon as possible, and then took him and his resume to eight different people - all who dropped what they were doing to talk to him - with numerous interruptions - and then he was interviewed by the Hiring Manager who said he had glowing feedback and asked what it would take to get him to come to work for them.

Where do you think Mr Right ended up?

He could have ended up at any one of the three companies, although my bet would be that a Company D, that didn't low ball him, that didn't leave him hanging, that didn't rush to hire, probably would be where a highly sought after, A player, would end up.

My point is that in hiring, the applicant is making a decision at least as critical to them as it is to the company. Top candidates look at all the little signals that tell whether their prospective employer is someone they want to work for - and if they find that company wanting, they keep looking. C players are easy to hire - they will often put up with delays, low ball offers, disorganized process, multiple interviews ( as many as 21 different interviews is the record in my experience) and snap decisions based on getting a "warm one" hired as soon as possible.

That's how companies end up with more than their share of C's, D's and F's.

Suggestion: Take the time to audit your own selection process from the applicant’s point of view. Go so far as to have a "Mystery Applicant" apply with the objective of seeing how things actually work. Chances are there is room for improvement in your process - for selection at every level. Make the changes to give the applicant the best possible view of your organization. As an organization, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. More A players are lost because companies drop the ball in the process of selection than for any other reason - don't let it happen to you.

By Andrew Cox

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