Elevate your hiring outcomes.

Your seven-step professional recruitment process.

We’ve been helping companies make hires for 30 years now, in this framework, we’re sharing with you some of our recruiting/interview techniques and the insight that we’ve gained.

This is optimised for specialist and senior hiring requirements.

You’re looking at our second version of the hiring framework, it remains a work in progress, we’ll have it complete by end of September 2021. But you’ll find is a great tool already.

Introduction and preparation

STEP 1

Job Spec – background/tips

Job Spec – form/template including benchmarking template

STEP 2 Sourcing candidates
STEP 3

Interviewing framework

Competency-based interviewing

First interviews – tips and a template

STEP 4 Second interviews
STEP 5 Third/Panel/Presentation interviews
STEP 6 Benchmarking, References, Summarising and Offer/Accept
STEP 7 First 100 days and Development

WHITE

PAPER

Hiring Senior Execs

 

Introduction and preparation.

Introduction and preparation.

Elevate your hiring outcomes.

When it comes to hiring, the stakes are high.

If you’re new to hiring, here’s what you need to know.

60% of external hires are successful, 40% are unsuccessful.

It’s not very good, is it?

In this framework, you’ll find a combination of what’s accepted as best practice in HR circles, together with some of my insights concerning what I have observed to work best and red flags to look out for.

These guidelines will help you to maximise your chances of making successful hires, minimise your chances of making average or bad hires and how to mitigate your risk.

I’ve interviewed tens of thousands of people, recruited 1,000s of people into major companies like IBM, SAP and salesforce, and into SMBs, scale-up and start-up companies. I’ve headhunted people at all levels of seniority, from CEOs to Specialists, across three continents and numerous functional areas.

I’m proud to say my stick, stay and succeed ratio is over 80%.

Successful hiring isn’t just about someone living through a probation period, making it to the year-end and being seen to fit in.

It’s about sticking beyond probation, staying for several years, not 12 months and being deemed a great hire, performing in the upper quartile.

I’ve recruited leaders who have scaled up companies, sold them off, turned them around, salespeople who have won Billion plus BPO contracts, $200 SaaS deals and people in specialist roles like consultants who’ve taken what companies do to new levels.

So why is my record of achieving more successful outcomes than industry norms? Good news!

I’m now sharing my insights with you, so…

Why not hire people who contribute exceptional results rather than mediocre ones.

Use this framework and elevate your hiring outcomes.

Robert Tearle

 

Job spec – background and tips

Mapping out your hiring challenge…

Consider

What needs to be done? Why does it need to be done? What are the desired outcomes?

Think not just about what you require of someone now but also how what you need someone to do may change. Will, what is required in 12 or 36 months time be the same as what you require now?

What changing dynamics in the workplace, the economy or marketplace do you need to reflect on when determining the job description and person criteria.

If you look to the future what changes can you envisage, for example in these four areas?

Your business’s strengths Your business’s weaknesses
Opportunities available to your business Threats your business may face

Is taking someone on full time the best option? What other alternatives are available? It might be better to outsource the work, take on a contractor or find an interim solution. What is the make-up of your current team? How strong is it? How diverse is it? Are there any gaps or too many common types? And what implications, if any, should be taken into account?

What are the key performance indicators?

Consider the high-level business goals that you want your new hire/ to accomplish in the role such as increasing revenue, increasing profit, increasing percentage market share, improving customer satisfaction ratios, reducing cost, or operational improvement. These should be quantifiable and smart ones….

Specific | Measurable | Attainable | Relevant | Time-bound

You should identify what primary skills, behaviours or characteristics are associated with accomplishing these goals.

Also consider what secondary skills, actions and behaviours contribute to the primary outcomes being realised.

 

You need to measure what counts most.

This applies to both assessing people when interviewing and determining how good a candidate they are, and once you’ve hired them, and their performance in the job.

A common hiring error is to assess candidates against too many criteria, which can result in failing to tune into the attributes most required to perform in a job and/or an unrealistic set of expectations which no candidate is likely to me…

Imaging assessing a candidate against 15-20 criteria!

It would perhaps result in no-hire or a seriously drawn-out hiring outcome.

There are always exceptions in life, and in a small number of circumstances or in job types subject to various regulatory requirements, lengthy criteria may be essential.

Consider prioritising up to 5 key areas of criteria.

You may wish to identify the 5 most critical success factors which will determine whether a candidate succeeds or fails, typically these will include competencies, experience and motivations/values.

One option is to benchmark against your 5 key criteria and look to a broader set of perhaps 15-20 in case one or more of these present a serious red flag.

When it comes to onboarding the hire and looking to work with them, to develop them fully and optimise their performance in the job, the broader list of criteria/capabilities can act as an invaluable point of reference.

It’s not in my job spec!

Often HR professionals when writing job specs will be very general in their description of the role in the hope of giving the employer company both immediate flexibility and flexibility over time, so that changes can be easily accommodated.

This is a positive in respect of allowing scope for change. The downside is that you can fail to state clearly exactly what is required.

A smart manager may wish to have their own addendum which they keep to themselves and use as a point of reference or use with others as a Memo.

Opportunity | Job description | Person spec | Template

The job spec should cover 3 areas: the opportunity, job description and person spec. You should use the job spec as a point of reference not only for hiring but also on an ongoing basis:

Opportunity overview

Managers frequently fail to assess the job opportunity from the candidate’s point of view and don’t make the opportunity appear sufficiently attractive.

This is frequently the case with managers who have limited hiring experience. It manifests itself in two ways, firstly when sourcing candidates (in job ad info, job specs, in briefings to internal or external recruitment professionals) and secondly when interviewing.

People with an average or poor ability level are more inclined to say yes to any job.

Conversely, the best people are more likely to say “no”.

Too many hiring managers focus too much on what they want, their own interests and cross examing candidates, and in doing so fail to sell the opportunity.

Do appreciate that a benefit is only a benefit if it is relevant. What may be a benefit to one person may be a turn off to others.

So you need to tune into a candidate’s interests when interviewing. And remember you should avoid overselling the job to avoid anyone who joins feeling they’ve been sold a pup.

It’s easy to hire “B” and “C” type players.

If you want to land “A” player candidates you need to court them too!

Job specs are invariably vague.

With this in mind you may wish to create a supporting document and perhaps call it something like “additional job information”.

You may wish to include a disclaimer, for example:

Please appreciate that circumstances, priorities, preferences and perspectives change, the information here is intended to give you a fuller understanding of the opportunity however shouldn’t be relied upon in your decision-making process.

However, we’d like to share with you the following information to give you a fuller understanding of the opportunity…


EXAMPLE: Additional job information

Please appreciate that circumstances, priorities, preferences and perspectives change, the information here is intended to give you a fuller understanding of the opportunity however shouldn’t be relied upon in your decision-making process.

I’m pleased to share with you some of the following perspectives on our company, the nature of this job and our culture.

 
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Consider the following points:

  • What kind of applicant will your opportunity appeal to?
  • It is important to show your employer company as a great place to work as well as highlighting the attractions of the job and its future prospects.
  • If you do not wish to disclose the salary package you can simply state: “Competitive Salary” or that “The salary package is wide open for the right candidate”.

 

Writing up the job description:

Checklist….

Determine what you wish to communicate to people:

  • Consider your messaging to those people outside of your business about your organisation and the role (external hires) and…
  • What you may choose to share with internal candidates (those people already employed within your organisation who may be applying or being considered to move jobs within your company).
  • You may wish to share or avoid sharing certain information.

Company information

This should be a positive and proud statement.

The business – its credentials, operations, the environment in which it operates, any significant plans and why it’s a great place to work.

Consider what you choose to make public and what you don’t.

Role information

  • Background to the role becoming available – what has happened to create the vacancy? NB in some cases may not wish to make this public.
  • However often the reason for the opening becoming available will shape the nature of the job as well as the qualities of the person to be hired and may be seen as a positive, for example, we’re expanding, the incumbent just got promoted or the person who was in the role loved it, they’d been with us for 3 years but they’ve emigrated to Australia or Argentina.
  • Where the role sits – organization structure, the team (functionally and physically).
  • The purpose of the role, its scope and its dimensions.
  • The principle accountabilities of the role.
  • Exactly what would you like someone to accomplish in the role and in what timescales?

Additional points you may wish to include:

Key challenges in the role and attractions to it.

Consider the extent to which the role is working independently, perhaps remotely or as part of a team.

Immediate and future plans which the successful candidate may be able to look forward to such as personal development, possibilities/new challenges and for career progression.

Person spec

A person specification should outline clearly the skills and competencies required of the job-holder. Sometimes it will be appropriate to augment this with a likely person profile.

By the time you’ve collated ideas as to what qualities are required of the person, your own ideas, those from HR and other departments with whom the role will interact, you can expect a long – and probably unrealistic – list of what is required. It is common practice therefore to differentiate between “Essentials” and “Nice to haves”.

As stated earlier a common hiring error is to assess candidates against too many criteria.

Differentiate between “Essentials” and “Nice to haves”.

Ideally, when determining the person spec you’ll note down a manageable number of essential qualities (perhaps 5) that you’re looking for.

When reviewing CVs you can compare someones’ background with your criteria.

And importantly at the interview, you can focus on exploring a candidates competencies, experience/credentials and motivations in these areas.

You can then benchmark the candidates by rating them on the most important qualities on a scale of 1-5.

This will enable you to determine not only how well qualified someone is to perform in the job but also to distinguish between one or more seemingly similar candidates on a practical basis.

Your essential/desirable criteria is likely to derive from a list of qualities including competencies, qualifications, experience (track record), knowledge/technical skills and motivations.

Competencies are key!

You should determine which competencies are required in the role and to what extent these may be required.

Achievement Oriented Analytical Ability Communication Skills (Oral, written, presenting) Creativity / Innovation
Decision-Making Skills Integrity / Honesty Flexibility / Adaptability Initiative
Interpersonal skills Leadership Management Skills Persuasion / Influencing
Planning and Organizing Skills Problem-Solving Skills Team Building / Teamwork Time Management

 

On a final note, when writing up the person spec, you may wish to determine or state what an ideal candidate’s background may look like and where /how this kind of person may be found.

Job spec and benchmarking template

View an example job spec as a PDF Create yours in Word

 

Sourcing candidates

Creating your pitch

Whether you’re using an internal recruiting team, recommend a friend scheme, agencies, headhunters, adverts etc – you’ll need to work out what message you’re sending out to the marketplace.

 

Job ad/postings template

The better you make your job sound, the better the response you can expect.

The amount of information you provide is likely to be determined by the media you are using and the space available.

You’ll need to include information such as:

  • Job title
  • Salary and location
  • Introduction to your business, likely to be two to five lines, let the candidate know a little bit more about your business and why you’re a great company to work for. Think of this as a sales pitch; why should the great candidates want to come and work for you?
  • Role and responsibilities Outline the nature of the role to help the candidate understand the role they’ll play, and the contribution they will make within the business, likely to be two to five lines.
  • Key candidate criteria/requirements such as qualifications, skills, specific industry and/or also occupational (job type) experience, and any personality traits.

 

Thanks but no thanks emails.

Do yourself and your company brand a favour…

If someone’s not right simply send them a “thanks but no thanks note”.

Thank you for your recent application for the position of XYZ.

Having reviewed your CV alongside other candidates, I regret to say we won’t be progressing you to an interview stage on this occasion.

Let me wish you all the best in your career going forward.

 

Calling candidates

Here are some ideas for you. NB if the person is employed they may not be able to easily take a call at their place of work, therefore you may wish to text or message them prior to calling them.

Be sure to introduce yourself, and ask if they can talk freely. Questions that you may wish to ask…

Why are you looking and what are you looking for?

Questions arising from the information on their CV or the absence of it, that you need to understand in order to determine if you’d like to interview the person.

You may then wish to ask what their salary expectations are.

If you want to invite them for an interview do so, otherwise, you may wish to say you’ve got more people to speak with before deciding who to interview and that you’ll get back to them.

When dealing with candidates you really do need to get back to them vs Ghost them, they prefer bad news to no news and understand, if their experience with you is a bad one…

They’ll never forget how it makes them feel.

 

Additional ideas to help you…

Key considerations

  1. Position the opportunity very positively to the marketplace
  2. Don’t dress the opportunity up to be something it isn’t
  3. Be clear about the qualities which you’re looking for in a candidate (criteria)
  4. Be clear about the qualities which you don’t want in a hire – you’re probably not going to put them in a job ad or job spec but you may wish to be clear about these when briefing people in HR, Recruitment, functions, agencies and headhunters.
  5. Choose appropriate sourcing channel/s.
  6. Consider the effectiveness of different sourcing methods, the urgency of your hiring need and the costs involved.
  7. Hiring timescales.

Sourcing options

Your internal recruiting team

  • If you’ve got one.
  • You’ll need to brief them properly, it’s not an easy job and you’ll need to be supportive of them.
  • Be aware that sometimes they’re overloaded with more vacancies than anyone could possibly handle.

Advertising

  • Typically a quick option however it’s not guaranteed to work.
  • A large proportion of the people who respond to job ads are unemployed sometimes they’re other peoples failures.
  • Sometimes it can be a good point of PR.

Using Social

  • Another form of advertising however it can be a free one

Leveraging LinkedIn

  • You can of course use it to identify and reach out to people.
  • If you know someone who you wish to get back in touch with it’s a great channel.
  • You may be able to identify people working in equivalent job types or industries or competitive companies and get in touch with them however it can be time-consuming.

Networking

  • This tends to be everyone’s favourite. Everyone likes to hire someone who is a known quantity.
  • There is a big difference between bringing someone into the mix with whom you are familiar and know well in comparison to networking and looking at people who someone may have recommended, or may simply know.
  • If you know them personally having worked with them, they are a known quantity – the opposite applies..
  • Assuming your company is a great brand with pulling power, networking can be a superb way of bringing people in.
  • Otherwise, in many cases, most people have limited people networks and limited time

Recommend a friend/failure

  • It can be free.
  • Done properly it can be a great source.
  • A similar concept of course to networking and it carries a perception that the person is recommended.
  • Some employers have recommend a friend schemes and pay referral fees to employees.
  • This has a flip side to it… What it they recommend a failure?

Agencies

  • No hire, no fee.
  • They may be able to give you immediate access to candidates.
  • You might get some suitable CVs the next day or inside 5 days.
  • The quality of recruitment firms and people working in them is variable.
  • A good one may find you great people, and save you time and money.
  • With fees charged at c. 20%  it can end up being expensive.

Headhunters

  • A very different approach to agencies.
  • Whilst agencies work from a CV database and job ads, headhunting firms are proactive and identify, and reach out to people with specific skills, and of high quality.
  • And unlike agencies headhunting firms tend to tap into the employed market talent!
  • Tend to work best for Senior and Specialist hires.
  • The quality of candidates is expected to be high, you can expect it to take them 3-4 weeks to come back with CVs – what they’d call a shortlist.
  • Also known as a retained search, it involves the payment of a fee upfront followed by completion fees (fees often totalling as much as 33%).

Interviewing framework

Adopt a pragmatic approach.

More than just a gut feeling.

Elevate your hiring outcomes with a structured approach.

Every candidate you offer should meet 3 fundamental criteria:

1) Can they do the job? 2) Do they want the job? 3) Will they fit in?

Beyond these basic rules, you should accurately rate candidates’ skills and abilities against your most important criteria.

And if you have a choice of good people, then you need to be able to assess and benchmark one person against another properly. You need an interviewing framework that enables you to properly identify key skills and achieve consistency when interviewing different people – so that your efforts become focused on predictable hires rather than based on a gut feeling.

How many interview stages?

The level of seniority or complexity of the role should determine how many interview stages you choose to have.

For senior/specialist hires you’ll need three or more, one of which should be a presentation or role-play scenario. This framework is based on three stages.

In addition to undertaking F2F or video-based interviews, there’ll be times when you may wish to speak with candidates on the phone in addition to interviews, which might be a pre-screening exercise or to clarify outstanding issues not covered in meetings.

You need to connect with them.

Throughout the interview process, you need to be cognizant to build rapport and this will ideally develop over several stages so that you end up with a positive relationship… it’s no use getting to the end of your recruitment process having perhaps displayed a neutral or lukewarm manner to someone, and then to offer them and expect them to accept!

If someone is an “A” player they probably don’t need your job, they’re probably well regarded in their existing employment and if they are open to a move, maybe highly sought after.

You need to connect with them. They need to connect with you. This is a two-way responsibility.

Prepare an opening statement.

When interviewing, you should assume control of the interview from the outset.

Thank them for coming in to see you. Tell them, that what you’d like to cover is:

  • A little bit of insight into the company and the role.
  • Then to find out more about them.
  • Then to discuss the opportunity in more detail and cover additional questions.

Your first question to the candidate.

Rather than proceed to tell them about your company and the job as you may have just told the candidate (as per the above), instead ask them what they know about your company and the job they are interviewing for. “Rather than me tell you things you may already know – why don’t you tell me what you know about our company and what your understanding of the job opportunity is”.

This is a great way to get a quick view of the candidate’s qualities and see how prepared the candidates are and, if they have not had the time to research – how quickly they can think on their feet.

If the answer gives you confidence – you will be happy to proceed with a full interview; conversely, if you are unimpressed, you will be better placed to think about keeping the interview short.

Interview with a consistent question bank

You should ask each candidate a common set of crucial questions, and make sure you have properly understood their response and be able to assess their credentials in each questioning area, and record or rate accordingly.

For example, a rating of 5 representing excellent and 1 unacceptable.

If you would like to find out more, simply download our FREE white paper ‘Interviewing framework’.

 

Competency-based interviewing

Generic examples Creative Customer services
Consultancy / Management Consultancy Executive Leadership Finance & accounting
Governance, Risk & Compliance HR IT
Lawyers / Legal Management Manufacturing, operations and logistics
Marketing Procurement Project Management
R&D Sales  

Competency-based interviewing is has been proven to be the best method to ensuring hiring success.*

It works on the basis that the past is a predictor of future.

In other words, if someone has done it before, they can do it again and at its most simplistic is based on previous competence i.e. proven ability.

Another approach is rather than ask about what someone did in the past, ask how they would approach a task (future/hypothetical).

To find examples of competency-based interview questions for the particular job type, you’re hiring into, simply click on the job type in the table above which best describes the role you’re recruiting into to find out more.

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First interviews

Prepare an opening statement.

When interviewing, you should assume control of the interview from the outset.

Thank them for coming in to see you. Tell them, that what you’d like to cover is:

A little bit of insight into the company and the role.

Then to find out more about them.

Then to discuss the opportunity in more detail and cover additional questions.

Your first question to the candidate.

Rather than proceed to tell them about your company and the job as you may have just told the candidate (as per the above), instead ask them what they know about your company and the job they are interviewing for.

“Rather than me tell you things you may already know – why don’t you tell me what you know about our company and what your understanding of the job opportunity is”.

This is a great way to get a quick view of the candidate’s qualities and see how prepared the candidates are. If they have not had the time to research, it’s likely to give you an indication as to how well they can think on their feet.

If the answer gives you confidence, you will be happy to proceed with a full interview; conversely, if you are unimpressed, you will be better placed to think about keeping the interview short.

Either way, asking this question ordinarily will give you some valuable insight at the onset of the interview.

Critical questions

Determine in advance your critical questions.

These will relate to the job and whether the person is capable of doing it, and how well they may be expected to do it. The following may help guide your thought process.

How do you go approach your job/key task? (Critical question 1)

What results have you had? (Critical question 2)

How have you performed against expectations over the last 5 years (Critical question 3)

Misc

At some point, you’ll need to and want to know someone’s salary information, expectations etc

So, you’ll need to decide at what point in time you capture this info.

Most people interviewing do not want to hear a candidate’s life story, particularly when interviewing people who are mid or mature career in their career lifecycle, so be firm when probing about the past.

If someone is say 40+, instead of looking to understand their entire career history, you may wish to simply tune into the reason why they pursued a career the vocation they have pursued, what it is that they like that keeps them in it, and instead of talking about their last 20 years perhaps say I’d like to understand more about your last 10 years experience e.g.

“I don’t want to cover your entire career history, I’m most interested in the last ten years. However, I am keen to understand how and why you have chosen the career path you have followed.”

Check that the questions you are going to ask, are ones that will allow you to assess a candidate against your benchmarking criteria.

Click here for a first interview template doc (Word)

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Third/Panel/Presentation interviews

Introductions

Recap and any questions arising from previous interviews or remaining outstanding/yet to be covered.

Query area/s

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Role-play, case study or presentation scenarios

Use of role plays. Any role play or case study scenario really should be focused on what you’d consider being the most challenging aspect of the job i.e. if they can do XYZ, it’s a good indicator towards success.

For senior/professional type roles it may be appropriate to ask the candidate to give a presentation:

“How would you approach your first 100 days in the role” OR “How would you go about undertaking a particular task”.

In the latter case, the most useful will be that task that will most greatly determine their success or failure in the role.

Working on the basis of a 20 min presentation or role-play followed by a Q&A works well.

You must be consistent in how you describe the task. So, it’s best to email the details so that it is clear about what is expected and so they can prepare accordingly.

Your observations of the candidate’s performance of the task!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appropriate questions to ask at this stage would include:

How would your colleagues describe you?

What would your boss say about you, and what takeaways from reviews?

How do you feel about this opportunity?

—         —         —         —         —         —         —         —         —         —         —         —

Assuming you are interested in the candidate, and they’re interested in your opportunity…

Then if you’ve not already taken up a sounding/reference, then consider doing so prior to making any offer.

If the candidate is employed you may wish to ask them if they’d be happy for you to take up an informal reference (phone call) with one of their former employers, if unemployed ask about doing so with their most recent employer.

 

Misc interviewers comments:

 

 

 

 

 

 

StrengthsFinder

If you work for a big company, your HR dept will have all sorts of recruitment and people development and assessment tools otherwise you’ll be unlikely to have such resources.

There is a low cost (c $20 per person), easy, fun, very practical and affordable tool that you can take advantage of to get an understanding of someone’s strengths, how their mind works and in doing so, give you clues as to how their capabilities and importantly how to best manage them.

StrengthsFinder 2.0 is a book, you can buy on Amazon and comes with an access code, enabling you or the user to take an online test.

The book is fairly short, an easy read, quick to reference and compliments the test but what you’re really buying access to is the fantastic online psychometric test.

StrengthsFinder is based on 34 different types of strengths and the test picks out our best 5.

Achiever

Activator

Adaptability

Analytical

Arranger

Belief

Command

Communication

Competition

Connectedness

Consistency

Context

Deliberative

Developer

Discipline

Empathy

Focus

Futuristic

Harmony

Ideation

Includer

Individualisation

Input

Intellection

Learner

Maximizer

Positivity

Relator

Responsibility

Restorative

Self-assurance

Significance

Strategic

Winning others over

 

 

You may wish to ask your potential new hire to take the test.

 

Click here to access the third interview doc template (Word)

 

 

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Benchmarking, References, Summarising and Offer/Accept

Benchmarking candidates

Candidate name: Position:
Interviewed by: Date:

 

Rating:

5) Excellent: Does the candidate meet all aspects of the characteristic?

4) Good/suitable: The candidate gave suitable responses – meets the standard well.

3) Satisfactory: The candidate gave suitable responses – meets the standard.

2) Poor / some doubts: Not an area of strength – responses lack substance.

1) Unacceptable: Evident weakness – responses did not meet the standard.

Weighting Dimension (competency, experience, track record….) Rating Comments:
  Functional, job type experience    
  Industry experience    
  Specialist factor    
  Proven track record    
  Challenge related    

 

Notes

 
 
 

 

Whether hiring a Chef or CEO, it’s essential to be able to say “yes” to these three questions.

Can they do the job? Do they want the job? Will they fit in?

Qualify the following as appropriate.

Background checks References/soundings. Verify/seek proof of candidates’ salary package. When will the candidate resign?
Qualifications/certifications. Discuss counter-offer? When can the candidate start?

 

 

 

Reference Check

Phone-based

Applicant: Date:
Position applied for: Phone:
References details: Title:
Reference taken up by:

 

Introduction

Introduce yourself…States why you’re calling…to conduct a reference check for <name of applicant>

Your details have been provided to me by <applicant’s name> and I would first like to check if you are prepared to provide a reference?                  Is that OK.

Briefly explain the nature of the job and the key attributes/skills required.30-60 seconds i.e. four to five lines of text.

General questions

What is the nature of your relationship with the applicant?
 
In what capacity is/was the applicant employed by your business?
 
What were the dates of their employment? If not known, you may wish to volunteer dates from the candidate’s CV or LinkedIn profile and ask if they sound right.
From/To
What duties and responsibilities does/did the applicant have?
 
How would you describe the applicant’s overall work performance?
 
What would you say are the applicant’s strengths?
 
What would you say are the applicant’s development areas (e.g. weaknesses)?
 
Have you had any concerns with their performance?
 
Can you comment on the applicant’s: Reliability, punctuality & attendance and professionalism?
 

 

 

 

Reference Check

Job/challenge specific questions

The key challenge/s of this role is likely to be XYZ, how well suited or otherwise do you think the candidate is to be effective in this role.
 
 

 

Closing questions

What is the applicant’s reason for leaving?
 
Would you re-employ the applicant? Why/why not?
 
Do you have any final comments?
 

 

Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback.  If you wish to provide any further information, you can contact me on…

Summary of key info gathered

Your observations

Strengths, shortcomings and any comments
 
 
 
 
 

 

From a reference/s As stated by the referee.

What did you make of XYZ?
The candidate is being considered for a position as follows 2-3 sentences… what do you think?
Strengths, shortcomings and any comments
What do you think are their developmental needs?
Would you re-hire the person?
 

 

How do you like to be managed? As stated by the candidate.

 
 
 

 

What are your developmental needs? As stated by the candidate.

 
 
 

 

How do you like to learn? As stated by the candidate.

 
 
 

 

How do they wish to develop their career? As stated by the candidate.

 
 
 
 
 

 

Their developmental needs? Your notes.

 
 
 
 
 

 

Other peoples observations? Comments made by other people in your organisation who interviewed the candidate.

 
 
 
 
 

 

Thanks but no thanks!

Sending thank you emails to those people you didn’t offer!

You may wish to thank the people who you’ve interviewed for doing so, here’s a possible copy and paste to help you.

I’d like to thank you for spending time with us during our recent interview process.

You’ll be aware that we’ve interviewed several candidates and have found one who meets our expectations particularly well.

Whilst we’re not progressing with you on this occasion, we were impressed with you and would like to wish you all the best in your career going forward.

OR

Whilst we’re not progressing with you on this occasion, we were impressed with you and may have other future openings worth consideration. So, let’s stay on one anothers’ radar/stay in touch/keep your eyes on our job boards.

For now, let me thank you for your time and wish you all the best in your career going forward.

 

Click here for a Benchmarking, reference taking and summarising template doc (Word)

Offer/accept

Points to pay attention to and act on.

Determine what you want to offer?

By the time you get to an offer stage, you should have determined the candidate’s current salary information and what their expectations are.

If you have a good understanding of the strength of the candidate, how they compare with other people externally and your existing employees- then you may have an idea of what they’re worth and how much you want to pay.

You don’t want to pay top dollar for an average candidate. Some people talk about a 10% rule, that people expect a c. 10% increase when they move jobs and few people would take a salary cut.

Also, consider the demand to hire in the employment may influence what you need to pay.

Most people moving jobs will be looking for a salary increase.

You need to use your judgement.

And you may wish to have a band in mind, or options, your first offer and any limit.

Be sure you’re familiar with the perks and any bonuses – and the key parameters of these bonuses prior to making any offer.

 

Prior to making a written offer, talk it over first.

You don’t want to make an offer to someone who won’t accept.

You don’t want to make an offer which someone fails to promptly respond to.

Call the candidate. Do some small talk. Ask them if they’d like the job.

 

Clarify their existing situation e.g.

You’ve said you’re situation is that you’re looking for a move for ABC reason/s and that the type of opportunity you’re looking to take up is XYZ.

We’re interested in hiring you how do you feel about our opportunity, is it one you’d like to take up or do you have other options that you prefer including staying where you are.

Firstname is this an opportunity that you wish to take up assuming the salary package is right.

As I’ve said I’m pleased to say that we’re interested to hire you, what I’d like to do now, is to talk about money/the package and your availability to start in the role.

Firstname, assuming the package is right, would you like to join us?

Discuss their current package and expectations. Before making an offer.

Ask them about these 4 things: 1) their availability to start in the role, 2) what is their notice period, 3) how they’d feel about resigning, and 4) how they’d respond to any counter-offer.

You may now wish to say…

Say some nice things, say some positive things about the offer such as it’s competitive, at the top end of the band, not just a good package we’re offering but a great opportunity or even it represents an XYZ increase!

On the basis of accepting our offer and starting with us within 2/4/8 weeks #1.

What we’re thinking is that the offer would be…… Would you like to accept?

NO respond/progress accordingly.

YES… I’ll get across our offer letter/contract and this is on the proviso of acceptance being made within 24/48 hours #2.

#1 Determined by your (the employer) preferences having already determined their availability to start.

#2 Determined by your (the employer) preferences – you do not want someone sitting on an open offer, waiting to hear back from them and then 7/14/21 days later they say take something else or accept a counteroffer.

Get a commitment – even a tentative one.

They may say they want to think about it, or to see the offer in writing, or to talk it over with a relative/friend.

Say “I completely understand… but may I ask how do you feel about taking up our job and our offer?”

Any hesitation suggests they may turn you down. Consider if you can say or do anything to make an acceptance more likely.

If they are sitting on the fence! Consider saying: “We have 1 or 2 other good candidates, should I tell them the job has been filled”.

Hopefully, you’ll appreciate the importance we’ve made above about establishing the points above #1 and #2.

Re offer letter and contract of employment.

This is something we would expect you to have. The nature of them can vary from one country, industry and job type to another. If you’re yet to make your first hire, consult a lawyer otherwise your accountant may be able to help you.

The first 100 days

HIRED FOR TALENT. FIRED FOR NOT FITTING IN

How professionals and executives can best approach their first 100 days. One of the factors that most determine success or failure is the new hire’s ability to build a people network and forge relationships.

Expectations should be properly aligned.

  • When you ask the question “What is expected of the job holder?” the answers will too often be similar rather than the same.
  • If you asked each party to list the Top 3 objectives and the next 7, you would likely have a big problem if objectives 1-3 are not aligned. And the subsequent 2 or 3 objectives most likely underpin the success or failure of the first 3.
  • At the most senior levels, expectations are at their greatest. The objectives are at their highest, but timescales to make an impact on business outcomes tend to be longer – which means the quicker your new hire gets to work on the right initiatives, the better.

Networking must be a priority.

  • Networking done properly will empower your new hire to succeed.
  • If they fail to network or be properly aligned – the consequences can be, being fired for not fitting in. This issue is critical in BIG firms.
  • With the right people network, your new hire will benefit from your team’s support and be better placed to excel.

Different hiring contexts and levels of seniority should shape the first 100 days.

  • You should agree, what are priorities and positive steps and any off-limits actions.

Acting on developmental needs.

  • Assuming you interviewed your new hire properly, then surely you identified their skills gaps and learning needs.
  • What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • How can you best capitalise on the positives and address any gaps?

About your new hires online social presence.

  • Does your new hire’s online presence compromise or complement your company brand?
  • Google them, browse their LinkedIn profile, Twitter, Facebook etc
  • Have they updated their profile?

47% of sales hires fail, 53% succeed – this is a disappointing high-risk stat!

We’ve got two white papers to help you.

Onboarding and personal development

Checklist

  Action Completed/comments
1. HR… employment contract, payroll, insurance, pension etc  
2. Background check  
3. Devices, equipment, logon and workspace, passes  
4. Familiarising hire with security issues, company policies and any guidelines around behaviour, culture, social media… tour of the company premises  
5. Discuss remit/job spec  
6. Orientation  
7. Training/induction  
8. Assign a peer mentor  
9. New employee announcement and introduction to colleagues, immediate and associate depts  
10. Re-visit process/check the new hire understands how to do their job – help bridge gaps – this is normal, addressing them is positive  
11. Schedule time for onboarding feedback  
12. Set up 30, 60 and 90-day check-in plans, and subsequent 6, 9 and 12-month ones.  

 

Four pillars of support

Mechanics

Outlined in the above checklist

Process/Systems

Develop familiarity, skill up and review

Alignment

Integration, networking, relationship building

Emotional support

 

 

Onboarding… when does it end?

Your choice, your definition it’ll depend on the seniority and complexity of the role.

And whether your definition is simply the first days of arrival or a much broader one, representing the start-up period – the first 100 days, or the first 6, 9 or 12 months.

If you hired a Barista in Starbucks you’d want them to be able to make all types of coffee by the end of the day and be familiar with every in the store by the end of the week.

For senior jobs, you’re more likely for the person to be effective in weeks or months.

On pages x to y, how you may wish to approach onboarding and developing your new hire in the weeks and months ahead.

 

Day 1/Week 1

Discuss the job.

Introduce their peer mentor

Explain any processes. It’s critical that they need to understand the systems, how the organisation works.

Show systems.

Familiarise the hire with the culture and modus operandi of the company – you need to avoid a misfit with the organizational culture.

 

StrengthsFinder

 

First 2-4 Weeks

Check their familiarity with the job.

Weekly review meetings.

Ask for feedback.

Check for inclusion. People fail when they fail to forge alliances with peers.

 

4 Weeks/8 Weeks/12 Weeks

Their success and your success is dependent on the hires ability to build relationships.

This has got to be worked on. Relationship building and networking are critical particularly in senior roles, and in big companies.

Emotional intelligence.

 

3 Months/6 Months/9 Months/12 Months

Don’t stop after 100 days.

The cost of failure and underperformance is huge.

It can represent the difference between your own success and failure, perhaps a 10-20% impact on your own overall performance or ratings.

 

StrengthsFinder

If you haven’t already done so you may wish to ask your new hire to undertake the StrengthsFinder test.

If you work for a big company, your HR dept will have all sorts of recruitment and people development and assessment tools otherwise you’ll be unlikely to have such resources.

There is a low cost (c $20 per person), easy, fun, very practical and affordable tool that you can take advantage of to get an understanding of someone’s strengths, how their mind works and in doing so, give you clues as to how their capabilities and importantly how to best manage them.

StrengthsFinder 2.0 is a book, you can buy on Amazon and comes with an access code, enabling you or the user to take an online test.

The book is fairly short, an easy read, quick to reference and compliments the test but what you’re really buying access to is the fantastic online psychometric test.

StrengthsFinder is based on 34 different types of strengths and the test picks out our best 5.

Achiever Activator Adaptability
Analytical Arranger Belief
Command Communication Competition
Connectedness Consistency Context
Deliberative Developer Discipline
Empathy Focus Futuristic
Harmony Ideation Includer
Individualisation Input Intellection
Learner Maximizer Positivity
Relator Responsibility Restorative
Self-assurance Significance Strategic
Winning others over    

 

Understanding someone’s Strengths will enable you to understand how to best manage and develop them. You should retain this information.

Identifying developmental needs

What is their preferred learning method?

Gathering information

 

Clarifying and acknowledging their career goals.

You should have captured this information when interviewing.

Assuming your new hire is a good one, as time passes by, you’ll need to ensure they are happy… retaining and developing good talent is key to success. This means that you need to be aware of how they wish to develop their career.

When onboarding you may wish to:

  • Be clear with your new hire that what you both need to do, is to make sure they are a success in this role.
  • That you’d like to take the opportunity to clarify their career goals.
  • State that in the fullness of time, we can look to work on your personal and professional development.

 

i.e. you are acknowledging their goals, clarifying their goals and stating that in the here and the now, the objective has got to be to get them up to speed. NB you need to keep a record of these.

 

 

Progress and Performance Review

Assessing skills, bridging gaps and performance improvement

You need to work from the original job spec.

Paying attention to the essential and desirable skill sets, you need to assess current skills against all qualities.

Consider any feedback that you had in the interview process from other people who met with/interviewed the candidate, any valuable insights that you may have gained when taking up a verbal reference/s and of course your own observations.

Once you have gathered this information, you may then wish to ask your new hire to assess their skills against those required in the job.

You could say…

First name we want to support and help you to excel in your new job. And with this in mind, we want to develop a good idea of your strengths and weaknesses, so that we can capitalise on your strengths and address any gaps.

 

Rating your performance/bright-future

You may wish to use or adapt the following rating definitions.

5) Exceptional: Meet all aspects of the characteristic?

Consistently exceeds all expectations. The key characteristics here are “all” and “consistently” together. An exceptional performer should equate with the term “role model” where they far exceed normal job requirements and perhaps when the person brings innovation to the role and company.  When hiring: to be exceptional means that the candidate meets all aspects of your requirements well and has more to offer, for example can expected to be a role model, mentor and mover & shaker, high performer.

4) Good / suitable: Meets the standard well.

Consistently meets expectations and frequently exceeds all relevant standards. Key characteristics here are “consistently meets” and “frequently exceeds”. It means that the job holder performs distinctly better than the requirements of the job.  When hiring: to be good means that the candidate meets your requirements in all of the most important areas well.

3) Satisfactory: Meets the standard.

Meets standards most of the time, rarely exceeds or fails expectations. Skills, ability, behavioural and performance levels all being acceptable. When hiring: to be satisfactory means that the candidate meets most of your requirements in the most important areas and that you are confident you can bridge skills gaps.

2) Poor / some doubts: Not an area of strength.

Sometimes meets the standard, rarely exceeds and often falls short of expectations. When hiring: this is where you would have doubts about a candidate and where you’ve perhaps identified gaps in skills or performance or behaviour and where you may see responses to questions lacking substance. Hiring here may be based on hope rather than good judgement. The only reason to proceed here is if you are confident the candidates’ motivations & competencies align well with the role and that therefore the person can be trained.

1) Unacceptable: Evident weakness – does not meet the standard.

Consistently fails to meet standards and expectations. If the person is a new hire / new to the role this may simply be a matter of training however if the employee has been properly trained and coached, and consistently failed it’s time to show them the door.  When hiring: to be unacceptable means just that. You’ve interviewed someone with evident weaknesses, responses did not meet the standard and there’s little or no reason to think the person can be developed into the role.

 

 

DATED / SIGNED

You need to be authentic.

It’s important for both the employee and employer (manager) to be accurate in assessing competencies.

The employee needs to be realistic otherwise they may over-estimate their abilities in areas in which there still exists scope for improvement or indeed if an employee believes they are competent in an area in which they are not, he or she may choose a job or pathway in which they may, struggle, fail and be unhappy.

The employer (manager) similarly needs to be realistic otherwise they may overestimate the employee’s abilities in areas in which there still exists scope for improvement or alternatively suggest pathways or promotions in which an employee may, struggle, fail and be unhappy. If you take the easy option when reviewing an employees abilities and rate them too highly, the consequence of which is that an individual may not have sufficiently mastered a role and indeed how can you subsequently move them up in the rankings – if they are incorrectly marked up a level.

It is often the easy route for a manager to rate someone well in a competency area rather than discuss with an employee why they are at the level they are at and why they may not be at a higher level.

Of course, if you unfairly score someone down, this is likely to be de-motivating.

Another reason why you need to be accurate in assessing people is that if you move on to a new job and the subsequent manager assesses your employees – then you do not wish to be seen as someone who incorrectly assessed or over-rated people.

An accurate assessment will ordinarily give specific areas for improvement and enable the employee, and therefore organisation to raise performance levels.

How to assess competence – 360 feedback and perspectives

The employee should undertake a self-assessment and be reflective about their competence in key areas appertaining to their current job and future job types they aspire to.

Employer side, the manager should look for appropriate and sufficient evidence beyond their observations of the individual which may include reports, formal and informal feedback, formal testing, scenarios or role plays.

 

Direct

 your own observations

 oral questioning

 role play / scenarios demonstration

Indirect

 examples of work

 previous assessments

 written tests of underpinning knowledge/certifications

Third-Party

 informal feedback

 formal feedback

 team-based contributions, examples

 

 

To assess someone’s competence in an area properly you need to be sure, it is: 1), Relevant, 2) The individuals own work, not someone else’s, 3) Current – it’s up to date, 4) Sufficient – there’s enough of it for you to be confident your assessment is correct

Be careful not to make a holistic assessment, rather than assessing each competency.

A holistic assessment is a process of assessing across competencies rather than drilling down into particular competencies and it is this which is important, in order to be confident of individuals competency in a particular area.

 

 

Personal development

Personal development and career pathways

Reviews.

How they like to be managed.

Their career goals.

Managing people individually

You’ll have your own observations however don’t forget to check back to the persons 5 main strengths as determined by StrengthsFinder

Emotional intelligence – test

Click here to access the onboarding and personal development framework doc (Word)