What it Takes to Build the Team of Your Dreams

Have you ever thought you hired the workplace version of John Wayne, only to find out you’ve been duped and ended up with a Woody Allen? Poor hiring decisions are costly mistakes that can range from 150 percent to 300 percent of an employee’s base salary. Financial losses include expenses associated with hiring and training, low employee morale and decreased productivity. Plus, poor hiring choices frequently lead to infraction of client relationships, loss of new business and business in general, unemployment,
and more. The bottom line is that bad hiring decisions can make or break a business.



The two most common hiring traps are hiring in a hurry and hiring the resume rather than the person. Companies that don’t have succession plans in place or that fail to practice cross-training often rush to relieve the pain of the empty chair. Businesses that ignore the hiring process in the interest of
expediting it are far more susceptible to missing important clues that could otherwise prevent a poor hiring decision. For example, studies on the behaviors of job applicants report that more than 65% of all candidates do not prepare their own resumes. Even more unsettling for prospective employers are the findings that more than 45% misrepresent the credentials on their resumes with one or more “tall tales.” From reporting academic degrees never achieved and embellishing roles, to listing completely fictitious
positions, many of today’s job seekers will do whatever they can to appear qualified.

A third and very common hiring trap is to hire based on a job description. These typically list a subjective interpretation of required job skills and experience. By highlighting only hard skills, they leave out the most critical elements such as key performance objectives, behaviors, values, character traits, and soft competencies –the defining criteria that lead to effective performance.

With the war on talent in full force, there is tremendous pressure on hiring managers to keep their organizations fully-staffed and productive. But, how does one meet these demands without falling into hiring traps? With more than two decades as a recruiter, staffing agency owner, and leader of the
KeenHire™ strategic hiring and retention initiative, I’ve developed an entire arsenal of practical tips and “insider” tools that empower business owners and HR executives alike with the ability to make informed and wise decisions about their most important resource – their people. Today, I share these with
you in a simple, step-by-step format.


If you hire someone you don’t really know, for a position you have not thoroughly defined – chances are neither the person, nor the position will deliver. Hiring the right people right from the start requires implementation of a comprehensive internal hiring process that selects the best and eliminates
the rest. And, it all starts with benchmarking. Whether benchmarking the role, the top performers in that role, or benchmarking key traits of the best performers in the company as a whole, the first step is creating the model of what right looks like. Companies that take the time and effort to do so fully
understand -- not only who they need, but why they need them. These are the companies that excel in the employee selection process and the capacity to build a “dream team.”


Before you evaluate your immediate needs, evaluate the company and team. This is called the Internal Human Capital Inventory & Assessment and involves:

1. Evaluating your core culture:

Acknowledge your core (prorate) values.
Assess the character quotient of your company.
Identify the non-negotiable character traits or core values for your company.

2. Evaluating your current team:

Identify your key players and what innate abilities and traits make them successful.
Identify what’s working on the team and what isn’t.
Identify what elements are missing on the team that, if present, would make a positive difference.

3. Implementing a system for evaluating and selecting new hires and internal promotions:

Establish and cross-train to hiring protocol.
Create company wide candidate-screening ground rules.
Create a Comprehensive Position Requirement (CPR) for every role.
Validate, select and utilize the right assessment tools.
Create behavioral-based interview models for each role in the company.
Establish a decision-making matrix.


With a tree top down view of your company and a foundation in place to grow from, it’s time to look at each role on a tree trunk level. Focus on the needs of the business and how each role in the company is attached to the key performance indicators of the company as a whole. When you are clear on
the performance objectives for each role in the company and how those affect the big picture of service, sales, retention, and profitability, it is much easier to determine who the best person is for these roles. To help you get started, here are some specific holistic hiring techniques:

1. Hire right the first time:
Thoroughly define each role in your company.
Define specific success outcomes that are expected in the role.
Isolate the CAN DO (Intellectual Quotient).
Isolate the WILL DO (Emotional Quotient).
Isolate the FIT IN (Character Quotient).

2. Follow the hiring protocol:
Train each hiring manager on the CPR for their positions.
Conduct a preplanned behavioral-based telephone screening.
Employ a cursory pre-interview assessment.

In Review, looking at Best Practices, Talent Acquisition can be summed up in three overarching elements.

1.Conscious hiring-
Managers interview following an established position specific interviewing guide and hiring decisions are made according to the predetermined hiring matrix.

2. Commitment to Excellence
Company sets up effective ramp-up process that validates and secures hiring choice. Employee has opportunity to bond with new firm through socialization, on-boarding and development programs.

3. Accountability Culture
New employees are aware and awake to their new role and to what is expected.

With established hiring procedures adhered to consistently, your company will leap over dangerous hiring traps, turn the tables on the mishaps of poor hiring and reap the benefits that come with having the right people in the right roles.

Views: 90

Comment by Jason Bonesteel on October 2, 2008 at 2:13pm
excellent article...we could use this in staffing our own recruiting firm


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