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Acquiring Talent - Step 3: Matching/Selection

So here it is.... The moment of truth. Throughout the recruiting process you and your team have spent the time, effort and energy (and money) required to put your organization in a position to choose the right fit candidate. There have been job ads posted, countless phone interviews, face to face interviews, debriefing sessions and now it's time to make a decision about which candidate to offer the job to.

How do you use your evaluation process to help you make the hiring decision?

In a previous post, I mentioned that there are two key elements in the evaluation process. A structured interview (supported by an interview scorecard) and an interview team. A great site for an example of a high quality interview scorecard is: If you used a scorecard then compare scores of your top 2-3 candidates. This is best done in a group setting during a debrief session with the interview team. Go around the room and ask for each interview team members' impression of the candidate and a brief summary of the interview. Ask everyone to hold their "yes or no" vote until the end of the meeting. Once everyone has provide their feedback. Go back to the group with a simple question: "Would you hire him/her for this role? Yes or No?" Its important that the hiring manager goes last so that others aren't swayed by his or her answer.

Do you need consensus on the hire?

While helpful, consensus is not necessary; ultimately it is the hiring manager's decision. The interviews, the inputs from the interview team, etc. are all data points in support of the manager making an informed decision. The hiring manager is accountable for the hiring decision and will be held accountable for the new hire's performance. Ultimately, he or she is responsible for who is hired, for that individual's development and therefore, the decision must rest with the hiring manager.

Shouldn't you go with your gut?

I always cringe when I hear hiring managers say they "hire with their gut". I cringe because it means they are willing to ignore the evidence in front of them, the counsel of others and simply go with the candidate they like the most. If "going with your gut" were a foolproof methodology, then there would be no bad hires, relationships, marriages, partnerships, etc. We all know that the reality of things is very different. The issue with going with your gut is that it plays into biases and magnifies blind-spots. Don't completely discount instinct/gut (since I believe instinct is often a function of experience); I am simply suggesting that your instinct/gut is merely another data point in the hiring equation and shouldn't be the sole factor that is relied upon. If your "gut" is telling you that something is off with a particular candidate, spend the time to dig deeper. If your "gut" is telling you that you should hire one candidate over another, test some of your assumptions or ask a colleague to challenge your rationale for the hire. In this way, you will less inclined to allow biases to enter into the equation.

What's the best way to make the offer?

Ideally, this should go smoothly. It is just a matter of validating different terms that you have already discussed throughout the interview process. If you have had continuing discussions with your candidate throughout the process, you and the candidate should feel comfortable finalizing the deal. In most cases, the candidates expectations around compensation should stay the same or decrease from the first time you spoke with him or her. If the candidate's expectations for compensation increase dramatically, it's a good time to have a discussion as to why. It's really important that while your offer covers the "nuts and bolts", your discussion should also surround expectations for day one and beyond so that the new employee has a smooth transition into his/her new role. After this is complete, you will transition to the onboarding process (the subject of the next post).

Final Thoughts

Having a disciplined plan and approach to the final selection of your candidate is important to ensuring that all of the work done leading up to this point yielding the best possible decision. The next stage is focused on "making it stick" which is to say that onboarding of the new hire is an extension of the recruiting process. A well coordinated onboarding process will serve to reassure the new hire of their decision and help them assimilate more quickly into the company culture leading to a happier, more productive new employee.

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