High Performance Hiring

High performance hiring has the goal of having top performers at every level of your organization. It is based on the work of Brad Smart and his book: Topgrading: How Leading Companies Win by Hiring, Coaching, and Keeping the Best People.

High performance hiring assumes that everyone has unique talents and interests but that these talents and interests differ substantially from person to person.

High performance hiring further assumes that for every position in the organization there are individuals who are ideally suited to excel in the position, just as there are many individuals who are ill-suited for the position.

Leaders in any organization are in a pivotal position to work toward hiring top performers. It is arguable that no other process improvement or technological improvement comes close to returning as much on investment, than the time spent investing in the strategies of high performance hiring.

The Strategies:

  1. Always be on the lookout for top performers. Attributes such as intelligence, creativity, passion, integrity, and tenacity are difficult to develop. Attributes such as experience, presenting well, and level of education are comparatively easy to develop.
  2. Understand the competencies required to perform well in particular positions.
  3. Understand the economic value to the organization of each particular position and how to measure the contribution a given individual makes (the economic value contributed and what he/she is accountable for).
  4. Use screening interviews and assessment tools to reduce your candidate pool down to a manageable number of candidates to interview.
  5. Use interviews with candidates to focus on competencies, the candidate’s experience in areas he/she will be accountable for, performance patterns, and recent performance.
  6. Use interviews with current/former bosses and peers to assess performance as well as attributes such as how coachable the person is, how they contribute to team efforts, and how they get along with others.
  7. Prioritize the ongoing process of developing and retaining your top performers.
  8. Prioritize the ongoing process of realigning, redeploying, or releasing less than top performers.

The High Performance Hiring Steps:

  1. Analyze behavioral competencies of the position and define the tasks and results the position is accountable for.
  2. Develop a scorecard for the position that is a summary of the accountabilities and competencies required for the position.
  3. Develop a screening interview to filter out candidates based on the scorecard.
  4. Develop a screening assessment battery (on-line tests that include, for example, assessments of personality, motivation, and critical thinking ability and examine key competencies) to further narrow the candidate pool.
  5. Develop an in-depth interview process for candidates who have passed the screening steps. Probe for experience delivering on expected accountabilities and evidence of competencies. Use “hands-on” skill assessments if possible.
  6. Develop an in-depth interview process of past bosses and peers for candidates who have made it past step 5. Validate experience delivering on expected accountabilities and competencies.
  7. Use the results of the screening assessment battery, the interview, and reference checks to decide on which individual to select.

Additional High Performance Steps:

  1. Apply behavioral competencies and accountabilities analysis to all positions.
  2. Use the results of this position analysis to inform performance reviews.
  3. Develop, realign, redeploy, or release individuals based on performance reviews.
  4. Develop (coach) individuals, particularly high performing individuals in areas where development is indicated.