The Early Bird...

You’ve heard the old saying, “The early bird gets the worm.” The newer version goes like this: “The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.” When it comes to hiring, earlier is better, particularly in our current hiring market.

If you want the “cream of the crop” for your company, give credence to another familiar term:

Hire Slow – Fire Fast. Now is the time to begin your hiring strategies and take the time to hire slow, and here’s why.

The country is flooded with good talent. Top talent that got caught up in the “lay off, let’s cut back, don’t spend anymore money than we have to” frenzy. It’s true that people are often out of jobs due to circumstances they created; but the worm has turned (pun intended) and lots of good talent got caught in the cross fire of today’s circumstances.

Here is a real opportunity for your organization to take the time to look at key positions, benchmark them and match the talent to the job. By taking the time to ensure a good job fit, you’ll be way ahead of the competition as the economy continues its upswing. Waiting for the economy to hit full stride before you begin hiring, or least preparing to hire, will catch you playing catch-up and unable to take advantage of business opportunities that show up when you least expect them. For example, opportunities for a merge to occur and your organization being in a position to grow because you have the right people in the right job at the right time. When you get busy with improved business, the pressure is on, and more hiring mistakes are made which ensures that the turnover revolving door is still operating and eating up your budget.

If you neglect to go after the “tasty cheese morsels” on the job market now, it allows your competition to play the role of the second mouse and guarantees you the role of “the biggest loser.” Wondering where to begin? In a word, benchmarking. How does it work? Here’s a simple, step-by-step process:

Step 1: Identify the positions(s) to be benchmarked.

Step 2: Identify the key subject-matter experts. Remember that this includes people who are directly affected by the positions as well as the incumbent. Here’s a tip: The CEO and/or other C-level executives are not always the best choices.

Step 3: Have the subject matter experts (SMEs) meet to identify and discuss the key accountabilities of each position to be benchmarked.

Step 4: Prioritize the key accountabilities.

Step 5: Match the talent to the job.

Simple? Yes and no. While this IS a simple process, it’s not perfect. With this method, bias creeps in, everyone has a personal agenda for the position, and you may wind up right back where you started.

How do you find the talent to match to the job? Recently I was attending a networking event and this topic came up. A woman in the conversation said that she always got people she knew to refer candidates to her.

While you may have a better chance of hiring a good job match by this method, it too is flawed. We all know we can even live with someone for 20 years and one day discover we’ve been living with a stranger. Plus, this method may harbor bias and poor judgment.

So a better process involves benchmarking by letting the job tell you what it needs. This is accomplished by using scientifically-based instruments, and matching the talent to the job through the use of assessments that match the skills, talents and attributes the job needs for optimal performance. In addition, be sure you’re training your staff in more effective interviewing techniques. Finally, having a strong mentor mentee and leadership development program in place will help guarantee the future of your succession planning goals, encourage organizational growth, and maintain a strong bottom line. This way, you can have your cheese and eat it too.

Thank you for reading this blog. For more information call 404-320-7834 or email Diane at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.