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Hiring the Golden Unicorn Part 4: The Recruiting Process

“The key asset to a business – the only one that provides a sustainable and competitive advantage – is its employees, their skills and their dedication.” 

~ Robert Reich, Former US Labor Secretary.

 

To wrap up this four part series on hiring that person you can trust – your Golden Unicorn – let’s talk about putting all the pieces together into your Golden Unicorn Recruiting Process.

1. Clarity

In part one of this series we discussed how to find your key talent by first having a greater understanding of your personal and your business vision, mission, values, company structure, strengths and weaknesses. You must first understand yourself and what you really need before you can begin the process of finding the person who can fill those needs. I tell my clients consistently – clarity is the first key to success.

2. Components

In part two we discussed the components you need to think about when creating or filling the position, including the competencies, qualifications, and brain style needed for the position. In addition to all the factors listed in the post, another element you should calculate are the costs associated with hiring a new person. Think of the cost of recruiting, training, salary and benefits, workplace integration (buying their office equipment, supplies, bonding with the group, etc.). The “accepted” bottom line is that the “fully-baked” costs of an employee is 1.5 to 3 times their salary. This sounds like a lot! So, compare that higher cost with the cost of the pain you have by not having someone in that role.

3. Questions

In part three we talked about the interview itself and how to ask the questions that require them to show you their thinking process rather than pat answers. Your behavioral based questions are what are called Open-Ended Questions. It enables the person to choose how much and what to tell you. You should also have a few Closed-Ended Questions (those requiring a yes/no, right/wrong, black/white, decisive answers). You want a balance of these so you get a real sense of their thinking patterns and their ability to be decisive and concise as well. Also, be aware of which questions you CAN’T ask as well – nationality, religion, age, marital/family status, gender, etc. Here is an article from HRWorld on 30 Interview Questions You Can’t Ask that may give you some clarity.

4. Champion

Once you’ve developed your job related hiring process; focused on the skills, competencies and behaviors required to succeed; used a job description as your guide; prepared for each interview; used behavioral interviewing – please make sure you follow up by checking their references! This will finalize the hiring you’re your Champion, your Golden Unicorn.

If you haven’t attracted the right candidates using these steps, take a step back and see if you’re the problem. Jeff Haden, an Inc. Magazine Contributing Editor, wrote an article about the 5 Reasons Hiring Processes Never Attract the Best People (Like You). It’s about the obstacles you put in place that are off-putting to those Golden Unicorns.

So, now that you’re the solution (instead of the problem) you know what direction your company is going in; you know what type of talent you really need; you know what type of skills sets they need for the work; you know how much it will cost and have set a budgeting forecast; you have created a workable recruiting process to find the Golden Unicorns – the Ideal Candidates; then you have created your hiring plan.

What is the best part of your current attracting, interviewing, and hiring the right person for the job? Share with us!

Hiring the Golden Unicorn Part 3: Behavioral Interviewing

Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shows their image.

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

 

In part one of this four part series we discussed how to find your key talent by first having a greater understanding of your vision, mission, values, company structure, and your strengths and weaknesses. Last week we discussed the questions you need to think about when creating or filling the position, including the competencies, qualifications, and brain style needed. This week we’ll talk about the interview itself and how to ask the questions that require them to show you their thinking process rather than pat answers.

Finding that right person who will fit into your culture and do the job you need them to do is vital to helping you get to the next level. One of the key components of finding the right person, the key talent, the golden unicorn, is the interview. Asking questions that reveal how the candidates have done things in the past, understanding their thought patterns, and being able to translate that into how they may work in your company or team is very important. To do that, you can conduct behaviorally based interviewing. Behavioral interviewing is based on the premise that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.

Many think that asking people how they would solve a hypothetical problem is useful in interviewing.  It is actually more effective to ask people what they DID (that is, how they behaved) in past situations that are similar to your context.  They should relate specifically to the position and the knowledge, skills, abilities, and competencies needed to be successful in that specific position.

Start with a set up question such as, “This job requires you to … Have you done that in your previous work?” Then move into behavioral based questions such as:

  • Describe how you’ve done that in your career.
  • Describe a success you’ve had in doing that.
  • Describe a situation where a problem came up in doing that.
  • How did you solve the problem?

Or behavioral questions such as these:

  • Accomplishment: Talk about a time when you worked your hardest, went above and beyond the call of duty. What was the project or task? What was your role? What was the outcome? What was the reward?
  • Adaptability/Resiliency: Tell me about how you worked effectively under pressure.
  • Analysis/Problem Solving: Describe when you or a group you were a part of was in danger of missing a deadline. What did you do?
  • Conflict Management/Dealing with Difficult People: Describe a time when you worked with others who did not work well together. How did you deal with it?
  • Customer Service/Client Focused: What is your philosophy of good customer service? Describe a time when you used this customer philosophy to deal with a perplexing problem.

What are the major areas in which you need someone to be successful in this position – customer service (internal or external customers), decision making, planning, time management, teamwork, leadership? Write a question that is a realistic representation of how they would handle a problem or solution in that area. Make sure your questions are relevant to your position and not something you found off the Internet. Absolutely use those as a basis, but ensure that you create your own so the answers you get will help you better translate how the candidate will work in your team or organization.

The whole interview isn’t behaviorally based. You need a mix of good old fashioned questions that get you pertinent information as well. However, have enough behaviorally based questions that you really feel as if you know their thinking process (does it fit with the brain style required for this position), their values (does it fit with your company values and culture), and their confidence (how do they handle stressful situations where they need to problem solve).

Also, make sure you check with Human Resources for the questions you are not allowed to ask. There are definitely interview questions that fall into the illegal realm. You can’t ask about family, age, religion, etc. Enjoy the interview, however, ensure you don’t get so comfortable that you move into some of the illegal questions merely out of curiosity for another human being.

What are the benefits of behavioral interviewing?

For the employer you’ll more likely hire the best person for the position, they’ll be more productive faster because they’ll need less initial training and development, they will see how their work ties into the organizational performance and thus you have a greater chance of retention.

Your candidates will benefit because it is an opportunity to ensure their skills are a good match to the position which leads to greater satisfaction, engagement, and self-confidence. They will immediately see how their contribution is directly related to the organizational goals and can see the organization as a place to build their career.

To listen to me talk about this in the Insider’s Guide to 5-Star Customer Service Telesummit click here. To get a free copy of almost 100 behavioral interview questions by category, click here.

What are your best behavioral interview questions? Share with us!

For information on leadership, Hiring the Golden Unicorns, Emotional Intelligence & Negotiations, Strengthening your Inner Genius, or any of our programs, call us at 682.200.1412 or go to http://www.apexmastery.com/

Hiring the Golden Unicorn Part 2: How Do You Get the Right Ones to Apply?

“Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it . . . ; Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine.”

~ David Ogilvy, widely hailed as the Father of Advertising.

 

Last week we discussed how to find your key talent by first having a great understanding of your vision, mission, values, company structure, and your strengths and weaknesses. This week we’ll discuss the questions you need to think about when creating or filling the position.

I know you may be anxious to just hire someone. However, by remembering you want the golden unicorn and not the next donkey that walks into your place, you can quash your Inner Critics who are screaming at you to just get going. Instead, listen to your Inner Genius who knows you need to attract and woo the golden unicorns instead of the donkeys. And this takes strategy.

So, first, let’s talk about the questions you need to think about when creating or filling the position.

  • What is the job title of the next key person you will hire?
  • What will be the main tasks of this job?

~ Think about your strengths & weaknesses – what weaknesses and/or areas you have outgrown as the leader/owner that you can give to this key talent?

  • What competencies must this person have to perform well?

~ What must this person be able to do that you won’t be training them to do, such as creating spreadsheets or using certain tools?

  • What key qualifications will this person need to have? (Which qualifications are required, which desired?)

~ These might include a college degree, technical accreditation, successful sales experience, and driver’s license.

  • How does their brain need to think for this position?

~ I have my clients look at tools such as DiSC to determine which brain style fits the open position. For example, if you were hiring someone working on your finances, you probably want someone who is more analytical and detail oriented. You wouldn’t want to hire someone who is primarily a big picture thinker. They would not do as well in the job as someone whose brain thinks the way a financial person’s brain thinks and then you would have to find someone else to fill the position. Be clear up front what brain style is most successful in that position.

~ Note, this is not the only tool you can or should use to hire someone. It is, however, a great tool to affirm or not your other interview tools (competency assessments, resume review, referral checks, interview, etc.).

  • Why would a talented person, a golden unicorn, choose to work for you?

~ What do you have to offer someone who is key to your organization? Culture, flexible hours, benefits, autonomy, innovation, etc. Why you and not the same type of company down the road?

Then once you have these questions in place you have a good idea of what you’re looking for and what you want them to do for you. Recognize that the “best” person to hire is the one who is or has the:

  • Most relevant qualifications/
  • Best relevant experience.
  • Best able to demonstrate the key skills, competencies and behaviors required for the position.
  • Most likely to succeed in the specific job or in other positions that might develop.
  • Most consistent with your company’s values, goals and vision.

Now you want to attract the people who fit your golden unicorn profile with the right job description advertisement. You have all the information above that will weed out those who aren’t right for the job and highlight those who are right for the job. Use the language you wrote above and write in the brain style that most attracts that type of person.

For example, if you are hiring a highly technical person, they typically need and want a lot of information. So, make the job description specific, technical, and detailed. For a sales person who needs to be charming, influential, and persevere, make the job description higher level, bullet points, fun, interesting, and short.

Place ads in the places those types of people look – industry websites, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.

Your goal in this section is to really clarify exactly what it is this particular job will do, what brain style most fits the requirements of the job, and how it will help you and the company. Understand what success looks like in this position and what language you need to attract people who have the competencies and qualifications you want.

To listen to me talk about this in the Insider’s Guide to 5-Star Customer Service Telesummit – click here.

This is the second in a four-part series on Hiring the Golden Unicorn. Last week we talked about Finding Key Talent for Your Team and next week we’ll be talking about the best way to interview – with behavioral interviewing questions.

What are your best practices in creating job descriptions in your team or company? Share with us!

For information on leadership, Hiring the Golden Unicorns, Emotional Intelligence & Negotiations, Strengthening your Inner Genius, or any of our programs, call us at 682.200.1412 or go to http://www.apexmastery.com/

Hiring the Golden Unicorn: Finding Key Talent for Your Team

“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not on strategies.”

~ Lawrence Bossidy, former COO of GE.

Congratulations on your quest to find your golden unicorn – that person who is a cultural fit and can do the work you need so your team and company have the key talent necessary to move to the next level.

Before you even get to the interview process, however, what do you need to know first?

  • You must be clear on what your and your company’s vision, mission and values are.
  • You must know how you have the company structured, or how you want it to be structured.
  • You must understand your strengths and weaknesses so you’ll know what you should delegate to the new role.

Why do you need to know all of this? After all, you just need someone to fill the open position, right? If your company is to grow, then you as the leader must step out of being the Go To person for every decision. If you don’t, your company will stagnate at the level of your personal capacity.

The move from being a leader of followers to a leader of leaders is a huge step for anyone – whether they’re in corporate or a business owner. And to be effective, you must have key talent, that “Golden Unicorn,” in place so you can trust them to get the daily tasks completed while you focus on the bigger picture, the strategy necessary to accomplish your dream. So, you’re not just filling an open position, you’re putting someone in place who will help you and your company grow to that next level. They must not only be able to do the work you need them to do, they must also fit into your company culture and be willing to take ownership of (not just buy into) your company’s vision and direction.

So for this week:

  • Look at your vision, mission and values – how clear are they? Do they talk about who you as a company are, where you’re going and what you’re doing now? Do you and your employees easily understand them and can say them from memory?
  • Review your organizational structure for your team or your company. Are you divided into products or services, positions (all the sales people under one area), or some other structure? How will this new person fit into the structure you have created?
  • Write down your strengths and weaknesses. Be honest. Do you have someone on your team whose strengths are your weaknesses? Are they complimentary to your skills, or does everyone have the same strengths you do? How balanced is your team? In addition, write down all the tasks that need to get done. Which of them fall into your strength set and which into your weaknesses? Give your weaknesses to someone else on your team so you can focus on those areas that you can do really well, really quickly, and differentiate your company from others.

Why is this important? Golden Unicorns already have good jobs. So you must be a company that attracts Golden Unicorns to you. Are you a company full of Golden Unicorns or full of donkeys? Golden Unicorns don’t last long at a company full of donkeys. Creating the culture that attracts Golden Unicorns is vital for the success and scalability of your company and team.

To listen to me talk about this in the Insider’s Guide to 5-Star Customer Service Telesummit click here.

This is the first in a four-part series on Hiring the Golden Unicorn. Next week we’ll be talking about the questions you need to think about when creating or filling the position – focusing on the skills, competencies & behaviors required for them to succeed.

What have you done to create the culture you desire in your team or company? Share with us!

For information on leadership, Hiring the Golden Unicorns, Emotional Intelligence & Negotiations, Strengthening your Inner Genius, or any of our programs, call us at 682.200.1412 or go to http://www.apexmastery.com/

Focusing on Your Strengths (& Outsourcing the Rest!)

“The other part of outsourcing is this: it simply says where the work can be done outside better than it can be done inside, we should do it.”

~ Alphonso Jackson, United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (2004–2008).

 

Have you ever felt like sometimes you spend more time at home working on your home (cleaning, cooking, repairing, over and over and over) rather than comfortably living in it with those we love? By spending time and energy working on our homes we lose precious time focusing on the relationships in it.

If you calculated how much time you or your partner spent cleaning, or how much stress it cost to let the mess build up, you would probably hire a housekeeper the very next day.

That’s why outsourcing makes so much sense—we get to do what we do best (and love to do the most), and give the rest to someone who loves to do it, is an expert in it.

And that’s also why businesses of all sizes are recognizing the need to spend more time perfecting their area of specialization and building better relationships with their various stakeholders—and less time on administrative and business processes that are more generic.

Rationale for Outsourcing

Outsourcing can maximize the efficiency of all of your resources—people, time, money and energy—because you and your staff can focus on the primary purpose of your business and use your unique skill sets. In the meantime, other companies with different primary purposes and skill sets (e.g., accounting, human resources or information technology) can do what THEY do best. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

As well, the resulting ability to be laser-focused on your specialization enhances and increases your credibility, and you become more attractive to people who are looking for the precise solution you and your company offer.

An Outsourcing Attitude

Outsourcing requires an attitude shift and a willingness to surrender some control. It can feel uncomfortable at first, and that’s what leaves some people stuck at the same level year after year.

Examine your hesitation; what are your concerns about outsourcing? Here are some common objections:

  • Offshore concerns. A lot of outsourcing is done at the local or national level, but more and more is accomplished on foreign lands. Perhaps you’re concerned about language barriers, health and safety standards, work quality or the impact on the U.S. economy.
  • Reputation. Business owners may worry what their customers, clients, staff and other stakeholders will think about their decision to outsource. You may also be concerned that the outside specialist will make some error that will harm your reputation.
  • Security. Companies may not be sure how to protect their intellectual property and other key data from fraud, tampering and other damage.

With each of these concerns and any others you may have, spend a moment to answer the question, “What’s the worst thing that could happen if we outsourced?” and then ask, “If that happened, then what?”

It can help to express catastrophic worries to see if they’re valid. Many businesses have outsourced successfully and made mistakes you can learn from. Do your research and put your concerns to rest.

How to Start Outsourcing

  • Look at where you are being diverted from the main focus of your business. What’s draining you or your staff? Is it administrative tasks, technical support, accounting, human resources, IT or something else?
  • Start small and grow from there. Test the outsourcing process before launching ahead. Keep in mind that someone still needs to manage the process for the outside specialists. The process may take some time and experimentation to perfect. Initially, it may seem that it’s taking more time than you’re saving. Learn from these early efforts and use them to craft process maps to follow as you grow your outsourcing strategy.
  • Understand what your needs are and communicate them clearly to the outside specialist. Double-check that you understand each other, don’t make any assumptions, and put everything in writing.

Are you ready to do what you do best and outsource the rest? If it’s still a bit scary to you, think of some of the smaller, time-consuming things someone else can do. Check out sites like Fiverr.com, FiverUp.com, GigBucks.com, Zeerk.com, SEOClerks.com, TenBux.com, Dollar3.com, and RoundShelf.com  (note, I’m not advertising for them, nor vouching for their services, simply giving you an idea of what’s available out there that could help you outsource those things that take your time and you don’t enjoy doing!).

The move to outsourcing takes an attitude shift, some preparation and a learning curve, but at the end of it all you will emerge with a stronger focus on the primary purpose of your business. And it might just be the answer to growing your business to the next level.

What are you outsourcing successfully now? Share with us!

 

For information on leadership, EQ Negotiations, stopping your Inner Critics and strengthening your Inner Genius, or any of our programs, call us at 682.200.1412 or Info@ApexLeadershipCoaching.com.