Archive for July 2010

It’s Never Too Early For A Succession Plan

July 24, 2010

It may seem strange to think about succession on your direct report’s first day but there may be no better time.  In this case, I’m talking about the part of succession that makes certain you have the critical aspects of your direct report’s job functions documented sufficiently enough for someone else to be able to know HOW to do that aspect of the job.

From the first day your new hire, as a matter of survival, will be carefully documenting how to perform their job duties for their own use so that steps are not missed and repetitive questions can be avoided.  After your direct report has successfully completed these functions based on their own notes, simply take those notes and formalize them into a succession plan for the job.

This documentation can then be used for cross-training and development purposes of co-workers who may be groomed for performing those very tasks at a later date.  You also communicate to the new direct report, that you anticipate their continued growth in the organization; preparing for someone at a later date to perform those tasks will allow for time and opportunity to learn new tasks of their own.

If you wait until someone is well ensconced in a role, the detail with which they document tasks may not be of sufficient detail to allow others to complete the tasks without personal observation or some trial and error.

Empower your direct reports for their own development by ensuring the documentation of critical tasks which may be done by others in (or outside of) your organization.

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Don’t Forget The Email Screen In Your Selection Process

July 19, 2010

Most hiring managers have some sort of process they follow when filling an open position. Common processes include job definition, phone screens, behavior based interviewing, behavioral assessments, reference checking, and on-boarding.  Adding an email screen to your process is also beneficial.

The email screen should be done after the phone screen but before the first interview.  There are three objectives of the email screen:

  1. insure the candidate is email savvy,
  2. assess the candidate’s writing abilities,
  3. assess the candidate’s ability to follow directions and meet time commitments.

We recommend hiring managers ask candidates to describe in an email how they have demonstrated one or some or the company’s core values in their prior job(s).  This provides additional insight into how well the candidate may fit into your culture.  For example, “Here at ABC Company, one of our core values is ‘find a way to say yes;’ give me an example of a time when you had a difficult customer and you had to find a creative way to say ‘yes’.  Respond to this email as if you were replying to your boss.”

You’ll be amazed at the responses you get.  Email screens provide insight difficult to get from interviews.  Best of all – they are free and require little of your time.

Empower your hiring managers with email screens and your new hires will be even more successful.

Prepare For Interviews

July 11, 2010

All good processes begin with some pre-planning and never is that more true than in a selection process.  We suggest getting crystal clear about what you’re looking for in advance to prepare for your interviews.

The most important preparation is identifying the critical activities for that job and how they should be done — giving careful consideration to the traits that will increase the likelihood of an individual’s success in that job.  Here’s the key: you’re identifying the key traits for THAT JOB.

Without careful planning, we may fall into the “I’ll know it when I see it” trap looking for traits we generally admire in people even if they may be detrimental or counterintuitive for the job.  For example, selecting a candidate who is outgoing with an ease for chatting up any topic in the interview may make sense for a sales position, but may be indicative of lacking the focus, attention to detail, and thorough consideration for a quality assurance position.

Empower your interviewers by agreeing in advance on the accountabilities and traits critical to the job for which they are interviewing.  As interviewers, the likelihood of them selecting the best candidate for the position increases significantly as does their buy-in and support of the new employee once selected.