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Attracting the Right People System

Attracting the `Right` People and Keeping Them!

The `right` People = Performance = Productivity = Profit

First step in the process is `Developing a System`:


Staffing System
: Few areas have more immediate and lasting impact on organisations than recruiting and selecting employees. If you do not get the `right` people in the `right` jobs, you cannot accomplish your organisational goals and objectives.

The key to employing effectively is to have a staffing system that provides a template, a model and a process for those who recruit, screen, interview and employ new employees. When properly designed and implemented a staffing system takes much of the risk and uncertainty out of the process by providing a standard approach that ensures that everyone in the company employs in a consistent manner. Having a staffing system will not guarantee success every time. But it will dramatically increase your odds of getting the `right` person in the job.

Building an effective staffing system consists of five essential steps:

1) Painting a picture of the successful person
2) Developing a cadre of qualified candidates
3) Screening the candidates
4) Interviewing the candidates and checking references
5) Making the decision to employ

Because the personnel selection affects the entire organisation, the impetus to put a staffing system in place must come from the top. CEO`s cannot get involved in every employment decision. Also, they may or may not want to get involved in the operational details of setting up a staffing system. But if the CEO wants to improve the quality of people at all levels of the organisation, he or she must make staffing a strategic priority and take full responsibility for the system that makes those employ people for their organisation.

To make consistently great people throughout the organisation, I recommend the following best practices:

* Build your staffing system upon performance-based criteria.
Most employment decisions are riddled with emotion, opinion and personal bias. A staffing system built around performance-based criteria allows you to eliminate personal bias, inject a healthy dose of objectivity into the process and make better employment decisions.

* Use a structured interview process. A structured interview process, removes subjectivity by forcing you to focus on past job performance. More important, it elicits information that allows you to compare candidates against the performance-based criteria rather than each other.
* Develop a staffing plan. An effective staffing system includes a forward-looking staffing plan that allows you to hire in a proactive manner and maximise the organisation’s resources. I believe a staffing plan should cover:
- How many new employees will be needed
during the coming year
- Why those employees will be needed
- When they will be needed
- How much it will cost the company to employ them
- What value they will bring to customers and the organisation
* Train your managers on how to use the system.

In order to make consistently high-quality employment decisions, all managers must understand the process and use it in a consistent manner.

A properly designed system:

* Significantly increases your odds of employing the right people
* Creates consistency in employment decisions throughout the organisation
* Supports management development
* Helps improve benchmarking throughout the organisation
* Reduces the cost of the employment process

You cannot make immediate wholesale changes in the quality of your people, but by implementing a staffing system; you establish behavioural benchmarks and standards for each position in your company. As people leave, you start employing to those standards and gradually improve the level of talent. Over time, you will see a dramatic improvement in the quality of your talent pool.


The Performance-Based Job Profile

The absolute bedrock of every effective employment system, say staffing experts, is a performance -- based job profile, an objective set of criteria that spells out the essential activities a person must accomplish and the outcomes he or she must deliver in order to get the job done.

The job profile paints a picture of the ideal candidate and sets the standard by which all employment decisions are made. It sets the tone for the entire process and dictates specific decisions and actions at each step of the process-from the kind of candidate you seek to the wording of the employment advert to the questions asked during the interview to the final hiring decision.

To use job profiles to maximum effectiveness,

* Use a performance-based job profile for every employment decision. Great employment decisions are always made on the ability to predict job success. The best way to predict future job success is to uncover examples of past performance using a performance-based job profile, `Build each job profile around objective, quantifiable, measurable criteria`. The job profile spells out in specific, quantifiable, measurable terms what success looks like in a particular job. The ideal job profile fits on one page and includes:
- The five to seven most important outcomes
a person needs to deliver in order to get
the job done.
- The qualities and characteristics the person
needs to get the job done, stated in specific
terms of knowledge, skills and abilities.
- Specific short- and long-term performance
criteria that spell success in the job.
* Benchmark job performance against both internal and external standards.

Once you have begun to raise the quality of your talent pool based on internal benchmarks, start researching performance criteria from outside the company, using industry standards and other information to raise the bar for exceptional performance.

* Regularly update job profiles as the organisation grows and jobs evolve.


Review and (if necessary) update job profiles at least once a year. Companies with very rapid growth curves may need to update every three to six months.

Offer the following model to serve as a guide for creating job profiles within your organisation:

Do the research. When researching a profile:
# Use the job description.
# Review past performance appraisals to see
what works and what does in the job.
# Talk to "internal experts," anyone in the company
who can shed some light on what it takes to
succeed in the job.
# Talk to external experts who have different
insights and perspectives on the job.
# Do a qualitative benchmark. Identify the best
person that reports to you and make a list of
what he or she does those causes you to think of
him or her as the best. Do the same with the worst
person who reports to you.
* Define the expected outcomes.

These are the things a person must accomplish in order to succeed on the job. To identify expected outcomes, ask:

# At the end of six months, what must this person
have delivered in order to be considered a
great employee?
# At the end of 18 months, what must this person
have delivered in order to be considered a
great employee?
# At the end of three years, what must this person
have delivered in order to be considered a great
employee?
* Determine the quantitative requirements needed to get the job done.

Quantitative requirements represent the "what" of the job. They are measurable, easily observable and usually task-specific. Quantitative requirements include:

# Knowledge: A familiarity with the information
and processes necessary to skilfully accomplish
the tasks of the job.
# Skills: The ability to apply the knowledge to
successfully accomplish the tasks of the job.
# Ability: The person can handle the job
situations in an appropriate manner.
* Determine the qualitative requirements needed to get the job done.

Qualitative requirements represent the "how" of the job. They are behavioural in nature and indicate how someone needs to go about getting the job done.

Recruiting

The next step in the employment process -- and often the toughest in today's markets -- is finding enough qualified candidates. The real problem, is not a lack of qualified candidates? It's that most companies limit themselves by how they define and go after the labour market.

Do not make the mistake of thinking of your labour pool as only those people who do not have a job. Your labour pool actually consists of the entire population in your given area. Recruiting starts with getting the message out that your company is a great place to work and making it easy for the people in your community to reach you.

I recommend the following recruiting best practices:

* Develop a recruiting culture.

Everyone -- from the CEO on down to the front line workers -- should keep an eye out for potential employees.

* Establish an employee referral program.


Set up a programme whereby employees receive cash bonuses and other rewards for referring talented people.

* Create compelling, opportunity-focused job ads.


The right wording in an employment advert will go a long way toward improving response rates. The best job adverts:

# Focus on what the person needs to do, not what
they need to have
# Describe what the person will become and where
they are going, not where they have been
# Describe an opportunity
# Avoid restrictions
* Use multiple strategies to attract qualified job candidates.

Today's tight labour markets demand a proactive, creative approach to recruiting. I recommend using a mix of the following strategies:

# Employee referrals
# Compelling, opportunity-oriented job adverts
# Head-hunters/search firms –
`Specialists not generalists/Internet
# Temps to perm
# PR articles describing your company as a
reat place to work
# Trade shows and conventions
* Think out of the box.

Recruiting-oriented companies constantly look for new and innovative ways to attract talented people. I suggest the following techniques:

# Offer training sessions so people can learn a
new skill. Use the sessions to evaluate
attendees as potential job candidates.
# Consider short-term consulting contracts
at the senior level.
# Look into outsourcing and job sharing.
# Ask customers, suppliers and vendors for referrals.
# Read the papers for news of layoffs, mergers
and acquisitions and companies where the share
price is declining.
* Never stop recruiting.

Recruit seven days a week, 365 days a year. Never stop recruiting, even when you do not have any job openings.


Screening

An effective staffing system includes a pre-interview screening process that minimises your time investment by bringing in only the best candidates for face-to-face interviews. I recommend the following screening best practices:

* Learn to read résumés properly.


Proper screening of résumés will allow you to narrow the pool of candidates to a manageable size with a minimum of time and effort.

# Read the résumé in proper chronological order,
starting with the first job and working your way
forward to the most recent.
# Look for increasing levels of responsibilities and
accomplishments. In particular, look for
achievements that closely correlate to the
job at hand.
# Use the résumés to screen in rather than screen
out. The last thing you want to do is
inadvertently weed out great candidates.
# Never read more than six or seven résumés at
one time.
# Never make an employment decision based on a résumé.
* Use phone interviews to screen candidates.

Never bring someone in for an interview without an initial phone screen. The 10 to 15 minutes you spend up front with candidates can save hours of time later.

* Ask questions based upon the job profile.

During the phone screen, ask one question related to each criterion on your job profile and listen for specific examples of past performance in that area.


Interviewing

After the job profile, interviewing represents the most critical part of the employment process. I believe that every job interview should answer three questions:

* Can the person do the job?
* Will the person do the job?
* Does the person fit the job and the company?


The sole purpose of an employment interview is to predict success on the job. In order to do that, you have to be able to answer these three questions. Uncovering that kind of information requires structured interviews that focus on eliciting information about past job behaviour specifically related to the job at hand.

I recommend the following interviewing best practices:

* Prepare for each and every interview.

You can' not "wing it" and expect to make good employment decisions. Prior to each interview, review the following:

# The résumé and job application
# The notes from the phone interview
# The job profile
# Your list of prepared questions
* Use a structured interview process for each candidate.

A structured interview uses a prepared list of questions designed to surface information related to the job profile. This process will:

# Keep you focused on gathering examples of
past performance.
# Keep the candidate from taking control of
the interview
# Remove subjectivity and personal bias
# Provide an objective, consistent methodology
for evaluating candidates

* Focus on uncovering information about past performance.


The more you can uncover examples of past performance that match the job profile, the more you can make objective hiring decisions.

* Provide regular interview training for all HR managers.

To improve the quality of your company's employment decisions, have your HR managers update their interviewing skills at least once a year.

* Ask only behaviour-based questions.
# During the interview, avoid opinion-, credential-
or experience-based questions. Instead, ask
behaviour-based questions that uncover an
applicant's specific work-related experiences and
allow you to assess job performance.
* Check all references. Reference checks are necessary to:
# Verify information collected from the résumé
and during the interview
# Uncover additional information that might
influence your decision about the candidate
# Provide legal protection

To get the most from your reference checking:

# Ask candidates for the names of people who can
speak to the quantity and quality of their
work experience.
# Have candidates call their references so they
will expect your call.
# Avoid asking questions that call for opinion
or judgement.
# Stick to specific questions related to
the candidate's work.

To improve your interviewing skills:

* Keep in mind that the sole purpose of the job interview is to predict future job success by uncovering examples of past performance.
* Understand that interviewing behaviour (how the candidate acts during the interview) is not a good predictor of job performance.
* Focus on gathering enough information to make a quality decision about whether the applicant will be successful on the job.
* Never interpret a question for the candidate. If necessary, repeat the question, but do not add to it in any way.
* Do not ask about values, chemistry, etc. If you can't define or measure it, do interview for it.
* Avoid snap decisions. Ask all the questions even if you do not immediately like the candidate.
* Use multiple interviews to get a bigger picture of candidates.

With an effective staffing system, making the employment decision becomes the easiest part of the employment process. When you establish job-related criteria, ask behavioural questions that focus on past job performance, interview all candidates in the same way and evaluate them against your standard, the employment decision almost makes itself.

To make the best employment decisions, I recommend the following best practices:

* Evaluate the candidates against the job profile, not against each other.

If none of the candidates meets the job criteria, do not employ any of them. Instead, step back and re-evaluate your job profile to make sure it is realistic. If it is, go back to the recruiting process and start over again.

When evaluating candidates, I recommend rating behavioural examples based on the following criteria:

# Is it an incident of effective behaviour?
# Is the example recent?
# Did the candidate give detail?
# Does the candidate exhibit the behaviour
much of the time?
# Did the candidate give a reference?
Score one point for each "yes" answer, so that each behavioural example will have a score from one to five. Add up all the behavioural examples to get a candidate's total score.

* Use a `scorecard` and `evaluation` form for each candidate.

To properly evaluate candidates against your performance criteria, use an objective scorecard that allows you to rate candidates in the key areas on your job profile. Ratings can be numerical, plus or minus (plus if candidates exhibit the performance, minus if they do not) or by degree (i.e., candidate strongly exhibits this behaviour, candidate moderately exhibits this behaviour, candidate does not exhibit this behaviour). Whichever method you choose, the key is to use a quantifiable, measurable scoring system and evaluate candidates against your standard, not against each other.

To outsource this `specialist area` use a `true specialist` like Harrison Scott Associates who have many years of experience and skills to become the UK`s largest and best Print - Packaging - Paper - Marcomms - Office Products organisation to recruit the `right` people on your behalf. They are the world pioneers of `Veriqual` a specialist system to recruit the best people. Checkout www.harrison-scott.co.uk for powerful information on the way forward for top people.

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Note: About the Author Colin Thompson

Colin is a former successful Managing Director of Transactional/Print Manufacturing Plants, Print Management/Workflow Solutions companies and other organisations, former Group Chairman of the Academy for Chief Executives and Non-Executive Director, helping companies raise their `bottom-line` and `increase cash flow`. Plus, helping individuals to be successful in business and life in general. Author of several publications, research reports, guides, business and educational models on CD-ROM's/Software and over 400 articles published on business and educational subjects worldwide. International Speaker and Visiting University Professor.

Attracting
the Right People System

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