Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The 7 Biggest People Mistakes - #4: Not Using a Topgrading Interview Format

You might be thinking when you read this one - "What does he mean by a 'topgrading' interview format?" Perfect place to start!

When we talk about 'Topgrading', the goal is to hire people in the top 25% of ALL employees in the given role. That means using tools and resources to find out if you're talking to a 25%'er.
When it comes to interviewing questions, we're not talking about the age-old questions - "Give me an example of how you overcame a large obstacle in your job?" Or the reverse: "What was a time when you couldn't overcome a large obstacle in your job?" These questions are major softballs, right?

We're talking about taking a candidate through every one of their jobs and detailing their titles, salaries, job expectations, major responsibilities, major challenges, failures/mistakes, reasons for leaving, who their boss was (by name and contact information & permission to contact) and what they would say about you. Also if they lead people - what talent they inherited and how they coached or increased the talent on the team. By going in chronological order through each job and both documenting and possibly verifying any detail that seems inconsistent, you easily double your chances of success in hiring a world-class person.

Don't think you have time to take say, 3 hours in an interview? Suppose mis-hires cost you $300,000 per person, which isn't too uncommon given the time and opportunity costs spent. Let's also say you had 3 sales reps to keep it simple. That's $900k lost and probably over 300 hours spent if you took the time of 100hrs per person. So....we're talking about 3 hours in an interview? A 1% investment to get a major league caliber hire?

There are many resources to get templates which are already built. A great Topgrading interview guide can be found in the book - 'Topgrading', by Brad Smart. If you've not read this book or popped on his website, I urge you to use this one, its excellent!