Why you need a talent selection process

The wrong hire can literally cost your company thousands of dollars in lost productivity, in addition to wrecking your culture.
  1. Know what the heck you actually need to hire for from a functional perspective. It’s critical to understand the skills you need to bring into your company to support your success. Get specific, because this isn’t like choosing a new app for your phone to handle a task. You’re talking about bringing a real-life person into your company and them possibly leaving another role or even moving to join your team.
  2. Understand how to assess the behavioural & cultural fit for your company. A great place to start are with your company values (or leadership principles as we called them at Amazon), so long as they truly represent the behaviours which are valued and recognised within your company. Know what high performance looks like in your company, and develop questions to see if your candidate demonstrates them in their past behaviours. Another simple way can to be ask if the person you’re about to hire is someone you’d admire yourself and from whom you might learn something.
  3. Assemble & organise the right people to gather the right data to make an effective decision. Choosing people across teams and disciplines can be useful to understand how a candidate might interact with their peers. Having people at the right level who can assess decision-making expectations for the candidate’s role is also key — a noob software developer probably can’t judge architecture that a principal engineer would need to build. Divide and conquer and give everyone specific areas to cover. Having 6 people ask the same question wastes everyone’s time. Assess successes AND failures — everyone has some form of the latter and those who don’t are often full of BS.
  4. Create a mechanism for objective decision making. This could be as simple as a hiring meeting where all interviewers share and discuss the candidate’s answers. Interviewers should be able to substantiate their decisions. The Bar Raiser veto at Amazon was also highly effective at maintaining objectivity and preventing overzealous hiring managers from making offers to the wrong candidates.
  5. Don’t compromise and be ready to move on. While it can feel frustrating to get through an onsite interview and feel “close”, listen to your gut unless you can effectively manage the risks. Don’t settle for second best when it comes to your company’s paramount resource. Remember, the costs of a bad hire may not seem evident upfront but they are massive.
  6. Create your own fast-fail mechanisms for when you do mess up. Remember that both your company and the candidate have a lot invested here, so maximise chances for success by introducing onboarding programmes and mentors who can help orient and model what your new employees should strive towards. As a manager be sure to provide regular feedback both on the spot and scheduled at critical points along the first several months to ensure there are no surprises. And of course, be sure to include probation periods for new employees so that there’s always a ripcord to pull in the worst cases.

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