Can "star talent" readily recognize others with star talent? Not always. Oftentimes our egos or fears of truly finding that genuinely gifted, focused and poised leader can keep us from making the best hiring decision. True star leaders find it exhilarating to recruit, develop and retain exemplary talent, especially those that may be better than themselves. Yet not all managers are prepared to adjust their interviewing concepts to those that are highly prepared, more experienced and interested in interviewing you right back!
Here are some commitments to which you should adhere when looking for an ultra-bright star!
1. Hire for Communication Skills. Communication competence is vital to leadership success. Effective communicators exude positive attitude and work ethic, the cornerstones of professional success. These high level competencies must include an excellence in all facets of communication: verbal, written (including email), nonverbal and developmental.
2. Hire Someone Better Than You. Succession planning is a wise business practice and a legitimate self-serving goal. The most effective leaders know that hiring people better than themselves actually serves them and the organization. If you consider yourself a "9" on a scale of 1-10, than hire a ten. Encourage a "ten" to hire "elevens." If you're a "9," but you hire "8's," and they hire "7's," pretty soon the entire company is being run by a bunch of "2's." When that happens, you no longer attract and keep great employees and good chance the company goes out of business leaving a lot of (mediocre) people unemployed!
3. Read Cover Letters First. When you begin receiving resumes from applicants for a management position, pay close attention to the cover letters. Look for verbiage that is compelling in the value they wish to bring to your organization. They are the first insight into a candidate's communication skill.
4. Personally Call Appropriate Candidates. When calling to schedule that first interview, personally make those calls. Even the tone and content of their answering machine message can be insightful. Should they answer, listen for both the verbal and listening skills of your applicant. Your assessment starts here, so take notes.
5. Leaders Communicate Nonverbally. Poised professionals are appropriately dressed, arrive slightly early, and are prepared with additional copies of their resume, make good eye contact, have a firm handshake and appear confident. All of these traits can be assessed within seconds of meeting your candidate.
6. Ask Behavioral Based Questions. Design behavioral based interview questions around the skills and traits required of the open position. Look for the candidate to supply examples of situations that provide evidence of past and current success with these skills and traits. STAR is an acronym for the process of behavioral based questions. ST stands for situation and/or task, A is for action taken and R for result or response. Ask behavioral based questions that allow for insight into the candidate's ability to excel within the position. Certainly excellent communication skills are required, so a great behavioral based question may be, "Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully communicate with another person, even when that individual may not have personally liked you. What action did you take and what was the outcome?"
7. Do They Have Questions For You? Typically near the end of the first interview, ask the candidate if they have questions for you. If they say, "No, you pretty well covered it all," do not hire this person. Any individual serious about a leadership role, and the commitment it requires, will have many questions at this point. A career at a reputable employer is like a marriage- they should want to know as much as possible about the organization and their accountabilities prior to saying 'I do!.'
8. Did They Send A Thank You Note? Prompt and appropriate follow up is critical to the success of an effective manager.