The most important decision a leader makes is who does what, according to the late Peter Drucker. I believe him – do you? Does the rigor of your selection process support the priority of getting the right people on the team? Today’s Challenge: How do you select the right people?

The process for selecting great people will vary depending on the role you are selecting for. The process for an airline pilot, a surgeon, an accountant and a retail worker will be different. However, there are some practices that, when modified to be role specific, can be extremely helpful.

Four years ago, I wrote a post about this issue. I’ll recap some of those thoughts and add a new idea or two. The good news, neither the core principles nor the practices have changed…

First, be crystal clear on what you are looking for. A job description may be helpful but is not essential. What is non-negotiable is for you to know what are the critical few attributes that will enable the candidate to be successful. Or, stated more bluntly, if the candidate doesn’t possess these two or three qualities, you know they are destined to fail. You must know this if you want to select the right people.

Multiple, behavioral based interviews are essential to a good selection. How many interviews? Well, if you and your team are gifted at selection, you may get by with 6 – 8. For these interviews to be as productive as possible, they should focus on the candidates past behaviors. The best indication of future performance is past performance. Always look for specific, tangible examples from the candidate’s past that build your confidence in their ability to perform in the future.

[tweet_box design=”default”]The best indication of future performance is past performance.[/tweet_box]

Allow the candidate to interview the hiring manager. This practice should not be confused with the obligatory, “Do you have any questions for me?” Give the candidate time to prepare and let them ask you the hard questions. By the way, you can tell a lot based on the questions a person asks you. Are their questions thoughtful and purposeful? Are their questions challenging and thought-provoking or predictable? Do their questions reflect any creativity? Are their questions about their benefits – vacation and bonus calculations? Nothing wrong with these questions, but I hope they will have questions concerning the culture, competition and the future of the organization.

Provide the candidate with personal and professional references of the hiring manager. You’re going to check their references; why not let them check you out? If you give them 3- 5 references, be prepared to give them more if they would like. I proactively offer more. Two tips here: Find out if they call the references. If they don’t, you should wonder why. Next, talk to the references they do contact and ask them about their impressions of the candidate. You may learn some things you didn’t already know.

Create a win for the candidate and the organization. In some organizations, the selection process is about creating a win for the company. The best think differently. The interview process should be more about creating a win-win proposition. The worst thing for the candidate is for the organization to make a one-sided decision. What will it take for this person to be satisfied and fulfilled at work? Is the current role one in which the candidate can thrive? Is he or she a great fit? If you can get the fit right, everyone wins!

The key to great retention is great selection. Give the process the attention it deserves – you’ll be glad you did.[GLS_Shield]

Author: Mark Miller

Mark is a business leader, author, communicator, photographer, husband, and father. He spends his time helping leaders grow.