Linking Interviews with Performance

Take out one of your team member’s last performance review or their development plan. Now go ahead and pull out the screening questions and interview questions that you used to hire one of your team members.

Is there ANY linkage whatsoever? Well their should be. Interesting how we tend to measure performance after we hire someone but we tend not to directly ask or measure performance capability during the interview process.

When you hire, you are not only measuring the ability for the candidate to perform against the tasks, you are measuring the gaps they have so you can build a strong development plan for them so they can be a strong performer for your team. That builds a stronger ROI on the hire, and better retention of the employee.

Try Problem Solving as a competence. You know your team should be able to solve problems for business leaders, and create strong solutions for their needs. As such, see if you can list the following:

  • What interview question (and follow up deep dives) would you ask to determine if the potential employee has mastered problem solving?
  • What development tools or techniques would you use to increase the competence of your team member regarding problem solving?
  • How do you measure their ability to problem solve, and will you grade it objectively come performance review?
Of course this linkage needs to be done across dozens of competencies – but its straight forward – and important to the development of strong players and future leaders.

Wasting Leaders as a Resource

The most under utilized resource that recruiters and HR have access to are respected leaders and managers in their business. Period.

We spend so much time trying to figure out what recruiters should be doing – boring. Spend time on what managers and leaders should be doing during the recruiting process. And I don’t mean get leaders to simply interview or review resumes. Try these ideas on for size:

  • Transfer employee referrals to leaders. Switch to leaders marked as high potential, employees in rotational programs, team leaders with great results, or employees who won awards for performance. Name somebody better in your organization who is better to vet someone that was recommended by a fellow employee. Your employee referrals may go down in number, but up in quality.
  • Give your candidate an exercise during the interview, and have a leader sit in and watch them think and perform. Its amazing how people learn about someone when you watch them work. Results are easy to assess, but if you want to know the thought process, you have to see the work getting done.
  • Have a leader who is NOT the hiring manager run the interview debrief session. Recruiting should advocate and prompt here when needed, but get your leaders to take the reins – they will absorb more accountability and hold the hiring manager accountable too. You probably have to prep them before, but sit on your hands during the session – let your leaders challenge each other.


Are you a Recruiting Samurai? Then identify your “Keiretsu culture”…

Great interview this week with the head of US HR for a major Japanese automobile company. We were talking about what makes their business unique, what they look for in leadership, and so on. We got to assessment, and I learned that during their interview processes that every leader in the organization in the California office has to interview the final candidate. All 12 officers.

My response?  I asked her if a Keiretsu-like culture was alive and well in her organization. She said “Absolutely!” Her tone changed after that because she realized I was in on a secret. Keiretsu is a corporate relationship and governance structure that has been used in Japanese business for quite some time. Its not publicized as it was back in the 1980s/90s, and globalization of companies have severely decimated the actual corporate alignment it used – but the cultural aspects associated with that business model can still linger – even here in the States. Its not everywhere in Japan – please don’t make that leap. Lots of books and data on this, but if you think Fedex or Facebook has a culture…you should do some reading on Keiretsu.

She continued to tell me that assessing candidates to fit into their culture is done by making sure that all the players agree that the person belongs. Its a careful sell across the organization top down that allows for support and exposure all at once. Culture is their greatest asset, and its primarily how they invest in their recruiting and assessment efforts.

That is where the lesson is…allocating time to what is important in assessment. They spend over 80% of assessment on ONE THING. But at least they know what that is…culture.

What are the primary drivers in YOUR business? Technology? Innovation? Culture? Leadership? You probably already know, but the question is have you invested your resources in such a way  that you are really vetting against those significant assets?

If its “leadership”, are you asking questions in interviews about leading teams? Developing them? Addressing conflict? Are you presenting cases regarding leadership and having them work out the problems? Are they interviewing with not only the hiring manager but well regarded leaders in the organization? Are the leaders designated certain questions about leading teams, and are they debriefing specifically on those topics? Are you having top individual contributors ask about leadership and management techniques and comment if those candidates can lead people like them?

If you don’t know what makes your company tick – you better ask. If they don’t know – guess. But at least take your assessment resources and strategize how you are really measuring those really important assets.

By the way – retention in this company is tremendous if you think it doesn’t work. And for the record, I don’t have a patent on Recruiting Samurai. I am sure I saw that somewhere else.

200 Words on Execution

Roy Halladay

Pictures of execution, the game tickets, and marking great execution.

I was asked recently how do you stay motivated to do great work when there is so much work to do. I suggest identifying a way to picture “greatness”, and strive for it each day. Find something tangible, easy, and personal for YOU to relate to.

How do I do it? Like a 12 year old kid, I have a hero on my desk. Roy Halladay, the ace pitcher of the Philadelphia Phillies. In 2010, Roy pitched a perfect game on May 29th, and a no hitter on October 26th.

There are 27 outs in a baseball game. A “perfect game” is when the pitcher executes an out for every single batter. 27 for 27. In 135 years, this has been done 20 times. A “no hitter” is when the pitcher executed so no batter could get a hit. There have only been 272 no hitters. He did BOTH in ONE season. Over 578,000 major league baseball games have been played and 0.05% resulted in a no hitter or perfect game.

People know great execution when they see it – and so will you. What vision will motivate you to get that performance out of your work?