HIRING

How to Tell A-Employees From C-Employees When Hiring

Did that A-player you thought you hired turn out to be disappointing? How to weed out the C-players in the hiring process.
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I don't know of a single CEO who doesn't complain about the lack of talent available in the job market. You put out an ad and get lots of resumes, but these days resumes almost all look alike and really don't give the whole picture.

The interview process can provide additional insights, but many people sound good in an interview. Sure you can weed out the real losers, but how do you really know the A-players from the B-players before you hire them and waste time energy and money?

My own approach is to test them. I find that the biggest difference with those who really excel is their ability to demonstrate strong desire for the position. So I create obstacles. I assign them tasks that are challenging and difficult. The tasks reflect the sort of process they would do if hired. A-players will engage in the challenge excitedly and enjoy it. Less motivated and talented prospects will take a half-hearted approach and find excuses for their poor effort and results. Trust me, it won't get better after you hire them.

Here are additional insights from my Inc. colleagues.

1. Forget the resume and doubt the interview.

I don't put a lot of weight into a resume or an interview.  Instead I encourage anyone looking for a job to "stalk" me--and I stalk them. After quickly reviewing a resume, I look to see what I can find out about the individual via social media and on other websites.  I use the information I find as talking points for the interview and I expect the candidate to use what they find about me to do the same. To separate one candidate from another, it's always helpful if I know them through some part of my existing network or if someone I know in my network vouches for them. A unique follow-up, and some persistence in doing so, puts one candidate above the others when I am making a final decision. Eric Holtzclaw--Lean Forward

Want to read more from Eric? Click here.

2. Make it hard.

I once had to recruit an assistant to work for a famous author. Wanting to open the process, I ran advertisements and gave media interviews. Result? Thousands more well-qualified applicants than I could handle.

I learned. These days, I run a ghostwriting business, and I need to recruit smart writers who can make decisions. So, I ask questions designed to force tough choices. Example: "Describe something you are not interested to learn about." If they can't answer effectively, they're unlikely to be good fits. Thanks to that kind of question, I was able to cut nearly 350 out of 450 applicants I received for a recent job. Making things a bit harder for applicants reveals the ones who really want to work with you. Bill Murphy Jr.--DC Bill

Want to read more from Bill? Click here.

3. Make them reveal.

Here are my two favorite interview challenges: Ask the candidate to describe their ideal co-worker. Listen carefully because your candidate will list his or her own strengths. I also like to ask about their pet peeves. One of my clients recently asked this question in an interview and the candidate said that she hates germs. My client is a doctor. Marla Tabaka--The Successful Soloist

Want to read more from Marla? Click here.

4. Topgrade.

In my experience, the best approach for ensuring you consistently hire the best of the best is Brad Smart's Topgrading system. In short, you run your candidates through a rigorous set of in-depth interviews, separating them into A, B, and C players, with A players being your highest potentials and C players being your lowest. Once you've organized the candidates into their proper categories, it's an easy matter to cherry pick the very best from your pool of A-players. Peter Economy--The Management Guy

Want to read more from Peter? Click here.

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Last updated: Jan 29, 2014

KEVIN DAUM | Columnist

An Inc. 500 entrepreneur with a more than $1 billion sales and marketing track record, Kevin Daum is the best-selling author of Video Marketing for Dummies and the executive producer of Amilya! on 77WABC New York. Sign up here and never miss out on Kevin's thoughts and humor.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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