Do You Have A Tim Tebow OR Tiger Woods In Your Talent Pool?
Okay...let's give a shout out to Tim Tebow who led the Broncos to a round 2 playoff blowout loss vs. Tom Brady and the Patsies. By now you either love Tebow OR hate him based on what the media tells you. But, do you know Tim Tebow? I mean really know him. Like see him at the gym everyday and talk about stuff. Doubt it. I could go on about others, circa Tiger Woods in 2009?? But that's why we have media. To tell us what we want to hear so they can make money.
Wouldn't it be nice if you had an ESPN or CNN channel that could highlight the talent coming into your company. You could see how competitive Joe the sales guy is at the Friday 5AM non-company sponsored pick up basketball game. Or maybe you could find that Lupita in operations is like the Mother Teresa in her bario. I'm dreaming here, but my point is that it's damn hard to find out about someone in a one hour interview. Below is what I propose before your next hire:
- Find 3-5 people in your organization who are damn good at assessing talent and have them interview the person. No more than 5 people because it will just slow down the process. Besides if you found the right 5 people, you do not need to add anymore to the list.
- Research the candidate. I'm not talking about the standard legally scripted phone call background check that some 3rd party company does to see if they are a crook. Look them up on line. Find out where they spend their time and who they spend their time with. If you know people they know, find out more about them. This step takes time and can be risky. But you will sleep better knowing you made the right decision versus wondering if you made the wrong decision.
- Find an internal or external recruiter you can trust. Your recruiter should only bring you people that they have had recent and regular conversations with. Your recruiter should know more about what you need in your organization than you do. They should come to you and say, "Hey I found Gertrude in marketing at blue chip company ABC and she possesses the strategic thinking and digital marketing capabilities that will take your organization to the next level". Bam. Your recruiter knows what you need and you can trust he/she is not just trying to earn a paycheck by passing you a warm body.
In short, until you know someone from first hand knowledge or observation you can't have an opinion about them as a person or performer in their job. This is tough to do when it comes to hiring people or assessing talent. They are plenty of good methods of behavioral interviewing out there (e.g., DDI), but bottom line is you have to find out more about the person than what they can offer in a 60 minute interview.
One more thing about assessing talent. Often times, executives get in a room to talk about the potential talent in the organization. Your mental image of this scene might be scary enough. But the scariest part is that many of the executives probably don't even know the talent. By know them, I mean they could walk into their office on any given day and sit down to shoot the sh$%. During their meeting with the other execs, they may act like they know them to impress their boss in the room, but often times their information is based on 3rd party stories OR some shallow interaction they had in a meeting 7 months ago.
The type of behavior described above will ruin your talent assessment process. Someone (HR guy or you) must tell them they can only talk about people if they know them or have worked with them. This will make the meeting more awkward than it already is because less words will be shared. But in the long run you will have more quality conversations about your people and make the right decisions based on what colleagues can or can't do to move the company forward.
What about the executives who don't have much to say? Find out why. If it's because they do not know the talent, then they need to get out of their office and develop real relationships with people. Don't invite them to the meeting again until they learn who the talent is. They should be able to come back and tell you that yes, Tim Tebow is an awesome QB because I have seen him do XYZ OR I am concerned about Tiger Woods ability to win more championships because he has no confidence on the golf course. They should be able to say the same thing about the people in the company. Okay...I'm off to go interview some candidates to see if they are worth further research....have a good week!