A new year is upon us.  What will change from last year?

Outstanding executives and key personnel will be as hard as ever to attract and retain.  As a result, recruiting exceptional leaders requires digging deeper to identify candidates.  The business world increasingly demands more than just experience to be successful.

The failure rate of executive hires remains high, mainly due to two factors:  not understanding who the ideal candidate is and inadequately assessing candidates.  However, that failure can be corrected with appropriate preparation.  Take these steps to reduce your risk of recruiting.

Know who you want to recruit

Some time ago, we discussed the difference between Need and Want in recruiting.  How well candidates fit depends on the situation.  Therefore, knowing what you expect the new hire to accomplish in the longer term defines the type of candidates you should recruit, making it the first step in a successful recruiting process.  This decision also determines the most appropriate approach to take to identify ideal candidates.

The individual you need has the ability to do what is required to be successful in the role.  On the other hand, you sometimes want someone who can have a much greater impact on your organization.  It takes a more rigorous approach to identify and attract them.  In other words, a much “deeper dive” is required.  Targeted research can identify individuals with specific experience along with traits that fit your organization, culture and vision.

Having a recruiting process that identifies a broad range of candidates is the starting point.  Thoroughness is a must!  A “quick and easy” approach can find people, but likely will not identify candidates who will truly make an impact.

Assess candidate’s fit

Success in every recruiting effort depends on determining who best fits the role and the organization.  It takes skills, experience and commitment to do this well.  Although it is easy to assume someone will succeed because they have been successful in a similar role, that’s not necessarily true.  Neither is it logical to automatically accept that those with the desired knowledge, skills and experience will be outstanding in the role. Once again, digging deeper provides invaluable insight into candidates.

A number of things must be considered when assessing someone’s potential.  However, in its most basic terms, the determination must answer only these three questions that George Bradt, of PrimeGenesis, noted in a Forbes article in 2011:

  • Can you do the job?
  • Will you love the job?
  • Can we tolerate working with you?

Ask interview questions that evaluates the candidate in these terms.  At the same time, listen carefully to understand what’s behind the candidate’s responses.  “Why they said that” gives a great deal of insight into the candidate, and goes a long way in determining the “right candidate.”

Ask the most important question

The next step, the “secret sauce” for recruiting outstanding leaders, is understanding how the role fits their passion.  In other words. realize what motivates them.  Questions that result in candidates explaining how the role helps them achieve their goals are powerful.  Consequently, you have a better understanding of how well they really fit.  In the January 2 issue of Forbes, Bradt suggests a simple question, “Why would you want this job?”

Making 2019 successful in most organizations requires acknowledging Talent as a key contributing factor.  Plan every recruiting project before you launch it, including describing your ideal candidate.  Likewise, assess each candidate’s not only by determining how well they fit the organization, but also by understanding what the job means to them.  This approach goes a long way in ensuring the individual selected will be the right hire.