Selecting Difference Makers - A How To Guide


It’s no secret that a major driver of corporate success is putting the right person in the right role the first time. In fact, statistics from the Harvard Business Review and other leading human resources thought leaders indicate that as much as 60%-85% of the retention problems many companies face are directly related to defects in the hiring process. Serving as recruiters and search firms for our clients, it’s our job to help them reverse this trend. Recruiters and search firms in high tech markets are under enormous pressure to deliver more qualified candidates to their clients. We need to help hiring authorities in high touch, high tech markets benchmark the role; that is, to develop a complete understanding of the job itself, and the skills, experience, traits, values and motivations necessary for success. Once complete, we can then deliver a systematic process for behavioral interviewing and talent selection to help them identify, select, on board and retain true difference makers. As true consultants to our clients, this is where we can really ad value.

What is a difference maker?

A difference maker is someone who is willing and able to fill all aspects of the role with confidence, one who consistently delivers on objectives, and who leads her team to peak performance. You’ve interviewed them before, but perhaps a client has passed on them. In many cases a difference maker shakes things up, brings forth change, demands results and at times, is not the most popular person on the team. They hit their targets, and inspire their teams to do the same.

Difference makers are motivated. Difference makers tell the truth, they don’t cover up mistakes, and they are completely accountable for what works and what doesn’t. They take responsibility. Proactive, solution-oriented leaders, difference makers take action. Their values align with those of the organization, and these values drive day to day behaviors that pursue excellence. We need to help clients learn how to uncover these traits in the candidates we send to them.

Stop Sourcing, Start Selecting

In short, the mentality needs to change. We need to help clients understand that it’s not about getting 25 resumes from engineering, sales or leadership candidates. It’s about getting the right resumes and then separating the difference makers from the pretenders.

Helping Clients Find Their Next Difference Maker

In the war for talent, the challenges most organizations face are not limited simply to the unavailability of qualified people. Yes, as recruiters, we find it challenging to identify a qualified candidate pool. But in many cases, the hiring process is not set up to properly identify those that can truly make a difference. Focusing only on the skills and experience that our clients tell us they need, we run the risk of paying too little attention to values, motivations, habits, work styles, behaviors and cognitive abilities. These are often left for the interview to uncover and interpret, and this is where the process breaks down.

To become true consultants to the client, we must deliver a detailed approach to benchmarking the role and identifying the characteristics of likely top performers. Instead of just taking the order, before we should help the client answer some questions before opening that next job requisition, including:

1.What corporate objectives cannot be met without this difference maker?
2.What impact is this role expected to make on the organization in the next 3, 6, 9, and 12 months?
3.What values, motivations, skills, work styles and learning abilities will position the incumbent for success?

Once these and many other questions are answered, we’re in a much better position to help our clients employ a behavioral interviewing & selection process that identifies, engages, and developes difference makers with unprecedented success.

Views: 26

Comment by Donald L. "Skip" Conover on January 6, 2009 at 6:19pm
Thanks for bringing your views and this book to my attention! They're highly relevant to something I'm doing right now! Best regards, Skip

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