Tips for Successful Employee Recruitment
Recruiting for Success
I typically know within the first 5-10 minutes of an interview if I am going to hire a candidate for an entry to mid-level position. Perhaps some of that stems from intuition and discernment developed over years of recruiting for similar types of positions. Or perhaps I have learned valuable lessons from past poor hiring decisions. Probably some of each, but the reality is that I have found a way to quickly mentally assess a candidate against the TEC model, developed by MPR, a Chicago-based worldwide consulting firm specializing in productivity improvement through the selection of talented personnel for all positions within their organization.
The company I work for is a business to business sales and marketing consulting firm focused on helping our clients achieve sustainable, profitable growth. We are not a recruiting agency. However, the success of our client operational programs run in-house or at our clients’ site is dependent not only on a solid design and build strategy backed by years of operational management experience amongst our partner team, but also hinges largely on the resources selected to execute the plan. All of the process, standard operating procedures, operational tools, and technology mean little if your resources are not in positions aligned with their skill sets and experience.
So, what is the TEC model and why is it so effective?
In this model, the acronym TEC references three key factors/criteria applied in the most selection and hiring situations.
T = Talent The critical skills and behaviors necessary for success on the job
E = Experience/Education The minimum acceptable levels necessary to perform the job, and the desired levels.
C = Culture/Chemistry The environment within a given company, including management styles and expectations and/or the “chemistry” between the candidate and your firm.
As logic would suggest, an ideal candidate would rank high in each of these areas (TEC) possessing the desired experience, skills and personal attributes. But as reality would suggest, those folks are hard to come by. If you must compromise, what area should you compromise in? The answer is Experience/Education. Surprised? Let me further describe in the table below the potential outcome of each scenario.
Impact of Talent, Experience, and Chemistry on Performance:
High talent, experience & chemistry
· Star Performer
High talent & chemistry; low experience
· Potential to be a star performer
· Likely to be a long-term valuable employee
High experience & chemistry; low talent
· Hidden in large, bureaucratic companies
· Stays a long time
· Low to mediocre performer
High chemistry; low talent & experience
· Likely to be a long-term, low to the mediocre performer
High talent & experience; low chemistry
· Able to perform the job
· Unlikely to fit in organization
· Frequently let go or quits in frustration
High talent; low experience & chemistry
· A high-performing annoyance
· Frequently let go or quits in frustration
High experience; low talent & chemistry
· A common hiring mistake
· Typically very short tenure
Low talent, experience, & chemistry
· An obvious selection error
· Typically leaves during the probation period
To the extent the candidate possesses the right skill set and fits well within your organization’s culture, the rest is somewhat trainable. While some relevant experience is attractive, one could also argue, particularly in the case of entry to mid-level positions that starting with a blank canvas and training people to perform a job function is refreshing. Often people with extensive experience come with pre-conceived ideas, biases, and habits that can be challenging for them to “unlearn”.
So let me further qualify my initial statement. While I typically know relatively quickly in an in-person interview if an offer will ultimately be extended, I admit that by the time I find myself face to face with a candidate, I have confidence that our excellent front-end recruiting team has brought them through several telephone screens including a high-level assessment as well as a more extensive behavioral interview. Reasonably confident by this point that they are able to perform in the job function, I watch and listen carefully for evidence that they are flexible and able to think quickly on their feet. I try to get them talking as much as possible to get a sense for their personality to assess chemistry/culture fit. I mentally compare what I am seeing against the skills and personality attributes I see in our top performers who have been with us for a while.
I encourage you to think outside normal hiring guidelines that might suggest that experience and education are critical and instead discover the positive outcomes associated with finding raw talent and happy employees.