What I liked:
- Lots of details, down to specific questions and language
- Interesting and vivid examples
- Concise and to the point
- Not enough depth, alternatives, and ideas in the section on sourcing candidates
- Not enough information about how to apply and adapt the A method to different industries that may require industry-specific questions (like tech)
- "Who" is more important than "what"
- Lack of clarity on needs
- Lack of candidate flow
- Lack of trust in ability to differentiate candidates
- Letting slip candidates you really want
- "Voodoo" hiring methods are what 90% of people use (gut instinct, non-structured interviews, random rules of thumb, intimidation and games, etc.)
- Finding A players is key
- Hiring wrong is much worse than waiting
- A player definition: someone who has 90% chance of accomplishing what only top 10% could accomplish
- Select (structured interview)
- Blueprint for success
- Must define clearly what you want
- Mission is short exec summary of job
- Don't hire the generalist; hire the specialist
- Outcomes: 3-8 main specific points with numerical targets
- Competencies ensure behavioral fit
- Competencies define how you expect candidate to behave
- Follow-through on commitments
- Intelligence/quick learning
- Analytical skills
- Attention to detail
- Ability to hire A people
- Ability to develop and improve people
- Strategic thinking
- Work ethic
- High standards
- Listening skills
- Openness to criticism
- Use competencies as checklist during interview
- Cultural competencies
- Gather team in room and ask for one-word descriptions of company culture
- Use scorecards after hire and every year to define and track outcomes
- Mission: 1-5 sentences on why position exists
- Outcomes: 2-3 outcomes specific
- Competencies: identify 5-8 for specific job and 5-8 for overall culture
- Test scorecard against business plan and current employees
- Recruiting should be a constant activity
- Identify "who" before they're needed
- Ads are bad for generating good candidates
- Ask for referrals from personal and professional networks
- Source from professional network
- Source from personal network
- Hire an external recruiter
- Hire a recruiting researcher
- Hire an internal recruiter
- Ask everyone you meet: Who are the most talented people you know that I should hire?
- Call new people you get referred every week
- Referrals from employees
- Advisory board that can introduce you to people
- External recruiters: must understand what you do and who you are
- Recruiting researchers: won't conduct interviews but will source candidates
- Sourcing systems: system to track every candidate
- Schedule 30 minutes every week to call top talent
- "Sue said you and I should connect. I understand you are great at what you do and I'm always on the lookout to meet talented people. Even if you are content with what you do, I would love to get the chance to talk."
- At end of call ask, "Now that you know a little about me, who are the most talented people you know who would be a good fit for my company?"
- Make a list of most talented people you know
- Call at least 1 per week and ask them who are the most talented people they know
- Add sourcing as an outcome for your employees; offer referral bonuses to employees
- Offer referral bounty to outsiders
- Use external recruiters and researchers who know your company
- Keep a sourcing tracking system
- Screening interview
- Topgrading interview
- Focused interview
- Reference interview
- Phone call to remove B and C players
- No more than 30 min
- Only structured interview
2. What are you really good at professionally
- Get 8-12 strengths with examples
- Push for real area for development
- If give cookie cutter weakness answer, say, "That sounds like a strength. What are you really not so good at?"
- If need to, say, "If you advance to the next stage of our process, we will want your help in setting up some reference calls with bosses, peers, and subordinates. OK?" And then ask, "How would they answer about your weaknesses?"
- Ask for details and reasons
- Looking for 8-10 rating; 7 is neutral; 6 or lower means screen out
- Give overall plan for interview at beginning: spend 20 minutes getting to know them and then 10 minutes answering questions about the company
- Compare call results to scorecard
- If any hesitation, screen out
- Get curious; start additional questions with "what/how/tell me more"
- Use data and patterns of behavior
- Go through past jobs and ask the following questions
2. What accomplishments are you most proud of?
3. What were some low points during that job?
4. Who were the people you worked with?
- Boss name and spelling
- What was it like working for him?
- What would he say were your strengths and areas of improvement?
- TORC framework: threat of reference check
- How would you rate the team you inherited on an ABC scale?
- What changes did you make?
- Did you hire anyone?
- Did you fire anyone?
- How would you rate the team on an ABC scale when left it?
- A players leave job when they want to grow
- B players nudged out
- Ask these 5 questions for every job in past 10 years
- First divide resume into chapters of 3-5 years
- Ask above questions of each chapter in chronological order
- Topgrading interview takes 60-90 minutes
- Conduct interview with a second interviewer
1. Interrupt the candidate
- Use reflective listening
- Match mood and tone and say, "Wow, that sounds like (insert words they said).... Now, you were just telling me about the (what you want to hear)...."
- Ask for performance compared to previous year
- Ask for performance compared to plan
- Ask for performance compared to peers
- People who perform well pulled to good opportunities
4. Painting a picture
- Go into enough detail so you can actually see picture of how they would behave
- Notice inconsistency between words and body language and when it happens get curious and ask deeper questions
The focused interview: Getting to know more
- Involve other team members in the process
2. What are your biggest accomplishments in this area in your career?
3. What are your insights into the biggest mistakes and lessons learned in this area?
- Like behavioral interview but focused specifically on scorecard outcomes and competencies
- Split up competencies to several interviewers, 30-45 min each focused interview
- At least one cultural fit interview per candidate
- 8:30-8:45: Team meeting (scorecard, resume, responsibilities)
- 8:45-9:00: Greet and orient to day and company
- 9:00-12:00: Topgrading interview (hiring manager and 1 colleague, 90-180 min)
- 12:00-1:30: Lunch (team members not interviewing take to lunch, informal)
- 1:30-4:30: Focused interviews (1-3 team members conduct focused interviews on their assigned portions of the scorecard)
- 4:30-4:45: Host thanks candidate and explains next steps
- 4:45-5:30: Candidate discussion
- Examine strengths and weaknesses on scorecard according to gathered data
- Hiring manager decides whether to proceed with reference calls or terminate process
- Never skip
- Not just the list they give
3. You do 3 interviews of bosses and ask colleagues to do 2 interviews of colleagues/customers and 2 interviews of subordinates
Reference interview questions:
1. In what context did you work with candidate?
2. What were their biggest strengths?
3. What were their biggest weaknesses back then?
4. Rate their performance on a 1-10 scale. Why?
- 6 really means 2
- Look for discrepancy with self-rating
- Need 8-10
- Ask for multiple examples, be curious
- Find out how candidate interacts with much lower subordinates
- Reference who hesitates is bad; get curious and find out why
- Must be an enthusiastic reference to be positive
- Skill: for each scorecard outcome, give an A if has 90% chance of making it
- Will: ABC rating on each scorecard competency
- Does not mention past failures
- Exaggerates answers
- Takes credit for others' work
- Speaks poorly of past bosses
- Cannot explain job moves
- Has never hired or fired
- More interested in comp and benefits
- From the book: What got you here won't get you there
- Winning too much; desire to win more important than results
- Too much about me and my ideas
- Bad mouthing colleagues
- Making excuses
- Excessive need to "just be me," "way I am" (instead of open to adapting and learning)
- If you have no As, go back to step 2 (source)
- If you have an A, hire him/her
- If you have multiple As, rank them and hire the best
5 F's of what candidates care about
- Where we are going
- How you fit in
- Explain how they fit in and what you learned from interviews on their fit
- Explain fit from their perspective on how this fits in their goals
- Helping make job transition as smooth as possible for all involved
- Recruit spouses and personally welcome family
- Autonomy to make own decisions and not be micromanaged
- Left alone to excel
- Stability of company and financial upside
- Rarely the key motivator
- Link bonuses to scorecard performance
- Work environment and personal relationships candidate will make
1. When you source
- Understand where someone's interest in 5 F's is
3. Between offer and acceptance
- Don't leave alone so can "think"
- Celebrate acceptance with gift and balloons
- Early months critical
Installing the A method in your organization
1. Make people the top priority
2. Follow A method yourself
3. Build support in team
4. Pass clear vision to team based on A players
5. Train team on best practices
6. Remove barriers/policies in way
7. Implement new policies and scorecards including recruiting A players
- Every job requisition requires a scorecard
- Every scorecard includes reaching "90% A" language by a certain date
- Every offer preceded by topgrading interview
9. Remove managers who are not on board
10. Celebrate wins and plan for more change
- Do not reject on basis of irrelevant info
3. Standardize language used
4. Avoid specific discrimination questions that are illegal