LinkedIn is a remarkable tool for identify great people, but it takes remarkable recruiters and fully-engaged hiring managers to get them hired.
I recently spent a late October week with over 3,000 corporate talent leaders and their recruiters at LinkedIn's Talent Connect in San Francisco. This was the recruiting industry's event of the year, and LinkedIn didn't leave anyone down.
From a recruiting standpoint, I walked away with some old ideas refined and redefined--and some new ways for hiring great people.
Here's the best of the lot:
1. Teaching people to swim is a better management tool than showing them how to fish.
Trish Lukasik, a senior VP with PepsiCo, summed up the best management development technique in the world: throw people into jobs over their heads and give them just enough of a lifeline to make sure they don't sink. The way I see it, we should hire people the same way. Unfortunately, too many managers hire people who only know how to fish in exactly the same places they've always fished. Here's a guide for hiring people who have learned to swim in some pretty challenging waters and want to dive into even deeper ones.
2. Define the work before defining the person doing the work.
It's better to say, "Build a team to implement the new order entry system by Q2," than "Must have 5+ years in accounting, a strong systems background, a 'can do' attitude and excellent people skills." Even better, use the Performance-based Interview to spot people who can swim in water that's 10 to 15% over their heads.
3. Job branding is more important than employer branding.
Laszlo Block, the SVP of People at Google, stressed the importance of connecting each job to an important company initiative. I call this job branding. By creating a performance-based job description you'll be better able to make the connection between the job and the company strategy or project. Job branding is how you make each job more important and how any company can attract the best talent regardless of its size.
4. The best people accept jobs from managers who are in their own image.
While managers might offer jobs to those in their own image, the best people want to work for managers who are fully engaged in the hiring process, understand real job needs, and are willing to support and develop them. Companies are now investing in their hiring managers and training them on what they need to do to recruit great people. This trouble shooting guide will help get them started.
5. Bs can hire As as long as long as you don't let hiring managers make the hiring decision.
This was a common theme: most hiring managers are too focused on their short term needs; few were promoted based on their ability to hire and develop people; and too many overvalue skills, experience and personality to determine whom to hire. To hire for the long term and ensure better fit companies are now giving others veto power to override a hiring manager's decision. Another idea for hiring stronger people for the long term: As part of their performance review formally measure hiring managers on their track record of hiring A-level talent.
6. The ROI of hiring the top-third is at least 500%.
During my speaking session I asked 750+ talent leaders and their recruiters if improving Quality of Hire (QoH) was an important objective. The roar was heard in San Jose. Yet the silence was deafening when I asked who knew how to measure it. I then interviewed the whole group using The Only Interview Question that Matters and demonstrated how to rank their performance using this QoH Talent Scorecard. The point demonstrated was that to measure pre-hire QoH you need to measure the quality of the person's past accomplishments in comparison to the performance expectations of the job.
While every manager and company leader professes the importance of hiring top talent, few actually do anything about it. If hiring the best is not part of a company's culture; if it's not part of how managers are measured and promoted; and if there aren't systems in place to ensure the best people are being found, recruited and hired; company's will continue to hire people just like they've always hired. LinkedIn is a remarkable tool for identify great people, but it takes remarkable recruiters and fully-engaged hiring managers to get them hired. That was my biggest takeaway from Talent Connect.