The Biggest Predictor of Hiring Effectiveness

I’ve worked with hundreds of organizations to help them build world-class hiring and interviewing practices. Some of the outcomes have been transformative, and (admittedly) some of them have not.  

There is one factor, above all, that determines how good your company can get.  

If this factor is present, teams will be tightly coordinated. New processes will stick. Candidate quality improves. Hiring hit-rates increase, sometimes dramatically. Teams become well-oiled hiring machines. 

When this factor is absent, change is difficult. Individual skill progression is hit-or-miss. Some individuals achieve game-changing results, but many others keep doing what they were doing before.

When I first talk to a prospective client, it’s abundantly clear when this factor is present in their organization. It’s also quite obvious when it is not. I can usually tell in the first conversation. I’ve even declined opportunities when there was no path to getting this factor in place.

What is this all-important factor? 

Full engagement and support from senior leadership.

When I get an inbound from a CEO who wants to build a culture of hiring excellence, and who is eager to take on the work personally, I get that butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling. I know they are going to see incredible results. 

When I talk to a frustrated Chief People Officer who is clearly trying to “push a rope” in their organization, I orient the discussion on how we can collaborate and get the CEO and the rest of the management team fully bought in. 

If you are a founder or CEO, be advised—lip service doesn’t get you there. People look “up” to determine what behaviors are most valued, even in very flat, democratic cultures. If you say the training program is important but don’t show up yourself, you’re sending a very different message.

Change is hard. Getting an organization to do things differently requires effort and engagement. If hiring the “best of the best” is really important to you…take it personally!

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