Equip leaders to land top talent


Learning goals for this activity

– Understand why equipping your leaders to land top talent is important to talent optimization. – Be able to list and describe the four steps associated with using a methodical and analytical approach. – Describe best practices for selecting interview team members and preparing them for the interview process. – Recognize recommended people data to collect to help you make the best hire. – Describe how people data can help you objectively prioritize candidates and create targeted interview questions.

Why equipping your leaders to land top talent is important to talent optimization

To win the war for talent, your leaders must be fully invested in driving the hiring process from screening candidates to leading interview teams. When hiring managers place the wrong people in roles, employees are left to languish doing work that’s a poor behavioral or cognitive fit. But when you train your hiring managers to use people data in the hiring process, they’re able to use the resulting strategic insights to make smart and objective hiring decisions. This activity requires taking a methodical and analytical approach, and includes the following four steps:
  1. Assemble the interview team.
  2. Collect objective data about candidates.
  3. Prioritize which candidates to interview.
  4. Conduct candidate interviews.

1. Assemble the interview team.

Think of the interview team members as empowered representatives of your organization, each tasked with evaluating a unique aspect of the applicant’s candidacy. You want a diverse team that’s composed of the hiring manager, people who work closely with this role, maybe someone who currently does the role, and someone who can interview the applicant about culture fit. The hiring manager should create an interview plan that clearly identifies the topics each interview team member should cover to reduce redundancy. This map can be as simple as a Word or Google doc. The goal is to make the interview process as streamlined and organized as possible. The quality of the candidate’s interview experience will greatly influence their decision to accept or reject your offer should you choose to make one.

2. Collect objective data about candidates.

Most organizations ask candidates to supply a resume and work history. But to make the best hire, you need to go beyond that minimum requirement. The data you need to collect from each candidate is:
  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Education
  • Behavioral profile
  • Cognitive ability
  • Values

1 in 5 execs said their company does not have an effective, repeatable process for hiring candidates.

-State of Talent Optimization Report

As discussed previously, measurement options for collecting this people data range from simple questionnaires to robust platform solutions. Choose the collection method that’s the right fit for your needs.

3. Prioritize which candidates to interview.

After you’ve collected your data, rank candidates based on how well they fit the job requirements and your company culture. If a candidate has the required experience but lacks behavioral or cognitive fit, don’t bring them in for an interview. Your goal is to prioritize candidates who are a fit on multiple dimensions. Ranking is objective in nature and helps you avoid wasting precious time with candidates who are a poor fit for the role. When you add people data insights to your hiring process you can narrow a broad candidate pool down to two or three final round candidates, each having a strong likelihood of being your next great team member. If you don’t look at the whole picture, you might unintentionally bring bias into the process, i.e. inviting someone in based on a fancy internship not everyone could afford to take part in. In this way, using people data to create your interview shortlist levels the playing field.

4. Conduct candidate interviews.

In this step, candidate data and job fit can help guide what questions you choose to ask. For example, if the job requires frequent interaction with people inside and outside of the organization, but the candidate’s behavioral profile indicates that communication isn’t a natural strength, asking the right questions can provide clarity: Tell me about a time when the majority of your day was spent talking to other people. In addition to ensuring this type of behavioral fit between the candidate and the job, you need to interview the candidate to determine candidate cultural fit as well. When you go into an interview with a baseline understanding of how the candidate thinks and works, as well as a specific line of questions designed to evaluate any gaps between the candidate and job requirements, it results in a more productive conversation.