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Guerilla Interview Tactics for finding Eagles and Trimming Turkeys

Goals, vision and strategy, as
important as they are to any organization,
are irrelevant without the
right people executing them. In
fact, a great dream with the wrong
team is a nightmare. There is nothing
a leader can do that brings a
bigger return than finding and
developing the right people. What
follows are nine points that make
up the centerpiece of any effective
recruiting, interviewing and hiring

Highly developed leaders should
do the hiring. The Law of Attraction states that you attract into
your business what you are, what you want.
On a scale of one to 10, if you have 4s conducting
interviews, they will attract 2s and 3s. Lower level managers won’t
bring anyone on board they see as a threat.
They are looking for the easy-to-control, compliant canditate. Netscape Cofounder Marc Andreessen’s Law of Crappy People
says that bad managers tend to hire very bad employees because people
anywhere close to their own abilities
intimidate them.

Dig deep into track record. Look hard
at former accomplishments in and out
of the workplace because the greatest
predictor of future performance is past
performance. Past performance is not a
guarantee, but it is the most telling indicator
of what someone will do because
winners tend to stay as winners unless
the job or environment changes dramatically
The reverse of this is that losers
tend to stay as losers unless the job or
environment changes drastically, And
don’t wear yourself out looking for the
exception to this rule. If someone was
average in his past two or three jobs,
they’re probably not going to change in
the U-Haul on the way to your place.

Don’t confuse interview performance
with job performance. Keep emotions
out of the interview and hiring process.
A short phone interview before the in person
interview will help eliminate the
visual impact of the first impression.
When you get blown away by personalities,
stereotypes and appearance, you
stop assessing the candidate. You magnify
their strengths, minimize their
weaknesses and start selling the job too
soon. There’s a significant difference
between interview performance and job
performance. Focus on hiring candidates
who are good at doing the job, not just good at getting it. Some have had
plenty of practice with the latter.

Use prestructured interview questions. Ask prestructured, behavioral based questions that delve into their past
accomplishments, then follow up their
answers by digging for specifics. This
will weed out fluff and exaggeration.
Stick to your questions and resist the
temptation to talk too much. The candidate
is on trial, not you. An interview
should be a fact finding expedition, not
a casual conversation. Raise the caution
flag when you feel yourself enjoying the
interview process because it means your
emotions are getting involved and you’re
losing objectivity.

Build your team around individual
excellence, not harmony. While harmony
and camaraderie are important to
every team, they should not be the first
things you look for in a candidate. Great
teams are built around individual excellence.
You must have the talented peo-ple
in place first. With a good coach at
the helm and the right people on board,
you’ll start winning. Harmony and
camaraderie will be an extension of that
success. After all, what good does it do
you to have a bunch of harmonious 3s
and 4s on your team who can’t get the
job done? While the ship is sinking, they
may join hands and sing “Kumbaya,” but they won’t have what
it takes to save the ship.

Hire people wired for the work. You can teach skills and knowledge,
but you can’t teach talent; you have to hire it in. If you
could teach talent there would be hundreds of Michael Jordans,
Eric Claptons and Robert De Niros. Training the job skills and
knowledge to someone void of talent is simply a form of damage
control. You’ll get the person to the point where he won’t
hurt you too bad, but he’ll never be excellent at his job because
excellence is impossible without talent. Use predictive testing
that gauge competencies not preferences to determine if
someone has a talent for the job. These tests are no guarantee,
but there is extensive research showing they are three times more
likely to identify a talented candidate than when you hire without
using them. While talent is a great head start, keep in mind
it is only potential. There are plenty of talented people who never
use their gifts. This is why you must dig into their track record
to determine what they’ve done with their talent throughout
their life.

Make it tough to get on board. The easier you make it for some
one to join your company, the easier it is for them to leave it when they decide the grass is greener elsewhere. What people gain to easily, they esteem too lightly. On the other hand, when you conduct a rigorous and serious interview,
the candidate appreciates the job more
and is more likely to work hard to validate your confidence.
The Marines are the only service branch that exceeds their recruitment quotas every year, and
they do so with a fraction of the budget
other branches use. How? They sell
exclusivity. Not everyone can be one of
them. You don’t join them strictly for
what you get; you enlist because of what
you have an opportunity to become.
Find ways to sell exclusivity in your

Be proactive. There is no shortage of talented
people in any city or marketplace.
The world didn’t all of a sudden stop
churning out talented people. It’s just
that the most talented people already
have jobs. Thus, develop a proactive
strategy that markets to passive job candidates,
those already gainfully employed
elsewhere. Your Web site should
be a recruitment post that allows people
to apply online. It should display testimonials
from happy workers and compelling
job descriptions. Everyone in
your organization should be rewarded
for referring and recruiting people into
your workplace. You must lose the mentality
that you’re “all filled up” because
you’ll never build a pipeline of talent if
the only time you recruit, interview and
hire is when you need someone. Being
proactive keeps you out of situations
where you panic-hire the wrong person
just to fill a hole. Remember, as desperation
rises, standards fall.

If in doubt, keep looking. It is nearly
incalculable to determine the cost
inflicted on your organization when you
bring the wrong person on board. Not
only the cost in missed sales or production,
but also the cost of broken
momentum, lower morale, misuse of
resources and your own diminished
credibility. When in doubt, keep looking.
A bird in the hand is not better than
two in the bush if it’s the wrong bird.
People are not your greatest asset; the
right people are. Don’t settle too early,
too cheaply.

About the Author

Dave Anderson is the author of the
book No-Nonsense Leadership. He is a
peak performance author, trainer, speaker
and an expert on leadership and sales.
For More Information
Call (650) 941-1493, or go to

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