Archive for April 2010

Assess Candidates For All Positions

April 25, 2010

Many hiring managers choose to not administer pre-employement assessments for lower paying jobs – this may be a mistake.  Hiring managers rely on assessments to help them uncover candidate strengths and weaknesses that are not easily recognized in an interview but need to be explored in reference checks and subsequent interviews.  These are the same strengths and weaknesses that can give you a competitive advantage or future headaches.  Wouldn’t you want to know that before making the hire?

Managers sometimes skip investing in an assessment because the investment doesn’t seem to make sense for a lower paying position. When faced with this decision, consider your answers to the following questions:

  • How much impact does this person’s performance make on our organization?  If s/he makes a mistake, how much could it cost me?  If s/he is an awesome addition, how does that impact our profit?  Will this person be in a support role to one of my superstars — what impact could that have on the superstar as well as the work itself?
  • Will this person interact with our customers directly?
  • If s/he is a poor hire, who will need to put in extra time/effort to correct or complete the work?  How much more will that cost me?
  • If performance isn’t as expected, how much additional time will I personally need to spend in coaching through performance issues, and what’s my time worth?

If after asking yourself these questions you still feel comfortable skipping an assessment for a non-key role, consider not doing an assessment but also consider outsourcing the work if it is that insignificant to your organization.

Stay In Touch With Your Future New-Hire After Your Offer Has Been Accepted

April 16, 2010

You just finished following your selection process and you are ready to make an offer to a superstar.  The superstar accepts your offer and commits to starting in two weeks.  Now what do you do?

If you found a superstar, someone else is about to loose one.  Expect the superstar’s current employer to try to keep them from leaving by offering increased pay, more responsibility, or a promotion.  You are at a disadvantage here as the superstar has some allegiance and may have second thoughts.  All your hard work and expense following your selection process may be for naught if the superstar decides to rescind their acceptance.

After your offer is accepted, stay in touch with the future new-hire.  Coach the superstar on how to handle their company’s offer to stay.  Ask them, “What is your current boss likely to offer you to get you to stay?  What are you going to do if you are offered more money to stay?  What are you going to tell your boss if s/he offers you a promotion?”  Give them tips on how to answer.  Simply planting these seeds, will help your chances of not loosing your superstar.  Additionally, regular emails and calls are essential to letting the superstar know you really want them.  Meeting for lunch before s/he starts working for you is a good idea.  Your superstar will be excited after deciding to come work for you; keep that excitement from wearing off and avoid the risk of loosing them.

Empower you future new-hires for success and your career will soar.

Performance Reviews Versus Performance Appraisals

April 9, 2010

What’s the difference between a Performance Review and a Performance Appraisal?  Though there are no formal or official distinctions between a Performance Review and Performance Appraisal, and both terms are frequently used interchangeably, we advise clients to think of Performance Reviews as part of the performance acceleration process and Performance Appraisals as an event.

Performance Appraisals are the formal appraisal document a supervisor delivers to their direct report on the organization’s official Performance Appraisal form.  The event occurs either annually or semi-annually and often encompasses a salary adjustment.  The lengthy form is filed in the employee’s file and rarely referenced again.

Performance Reviews are informal reviews between a supervisor and their direct report as a part of a process in which the direct report’s performance is discussed and adjustments communicated and tracked.  The review should cover perviously communicated topics and take place at least quarterly; lengthly performance forms are not used (blank paper and/or 5×7 cards work best).  In some cases, clients have found doing this quarterly satisfies their Performance Appraisal, but your corporate form need not be abandoned if used during a more formal event.  We suggest Performance Reviews include four simple questions:

  • What did you accomplish last quarter?
  • What are you going to accomplish this quarter?
  • What are you going to do to develop?
  • How did you demonstrate the organization’s core values?

The Performance Reviews should drive the Performance Appraisal event.  Use Performance Appraisals AND Performance Reviews to empower your direct reports for success.

The Best Time To Assess Candidates In The Selection Process

April 5, 2010

We recommend assessing candidates after the phone screen, core values assignment and first interview.  As assessments become easier to administer, we are seeing more-and-more organizations assessing candidates at various points in their selection process.  In some cases, where they are being inserted, and how they are being used might create a legal/moral dilemma.

Legally, no assessment should count for more than 1/3 of the selection process and no assessment should be a go/no-go decision on its own.

There are two other business reasons not to assess too early in the process: 1) you might be investing in an assessment for a candidate you don’t like and could have screened out without the investment; and 2) the assessment might bias your view of the candidate before you meet. Meeting with a candidate before assessing allows you to be open mined about their styles.

A bigger mistake hiring managers make is administering assessments too late in the process.  It is common for managers to assess candidates as the final step “just in case something pops up.”  By the time a candidate gets to this stage of the process, hiring managers have emotionally committed to the candidate and cannot objectively interpret the results.  If hiring managers are deep into the process and committed to a candidate, don’t bother assessing.

Assessing candidates after the first interview allows the hiring manager to confirm their observations and objectively focus on concerns in follow-up behavior-based interviews and behavior-based reference checks.