Knowledge: advance your career. Hire more effectively.

Read or listen to articles published in this section and via BartonRock’s Digital Careers podcast series – also featuring interviews with high profile business leaders internationally.

What Impression Are You Creating Through Your Hiring Process?

Your hiring process isn’t a democracy

Goldman Sachs became famous for running incredibly long hiring processes, sometimes stretching to 15 meetings. If one hiring manager said no then it was game over for the candidate. Whilst I don’t doubt Goldmans set the bar very high in terms of calibre and cultural fit, unquestionably some highly qualified people will have slipped through the net. With some companies and sectors feeding back that talent shortages are curtailing growth prospects, this is a missed opportunity. Hiring isn’t a democracy and we shouldn’t be hiring clones of ourselves.

Excessively long hiring processes impact engagement

Achieving momentum in business is very important. I’m also a believer that momentum in hiring processes is equally important. Excessive gaps between meetings or delays in providing feedback are a bad look. It can suggest inefficiency or a lack of commitment to a hiring process. Just like your customer experience directly impacts loyalty, the candidate experience is correlated to candidate engagement. If the hiring process is part of a succession plan then processes will inevitably take longer but this should be clearly communicated from the start. Whilst this is a general rule, there has to be a really compelling reason for more than 5 interviews. Look to streamline your hiring process by having two colleagues meet candidate simultaneously and coordinate with colleagues to avoid asking the same questions time and again.

Don’t just hire on gut feel

Leading on from my point above, we have all hired people we instinctively like or who are similar to ourselves. It’s human nature to do this but it’s a gamble not to deeply assess a candidate’s ability to do the job and fit your culture. Gut feel or intuition only gets you so far. Even if you are a seasoned executive hiring someone from your sector, there is a good chance your interview will only deeply assess what the candidate knows and what they have done. Unless you are a skilled (and trained) interviewer then it’s unlikely you’ll be effectively assessing leadership traits and behaviours other than by your intuition and gut feel. The danger of this is unconscious bias impairing your objectivity.

Sister company NewlandRock can help to eliminate candidates who are not the right fit but importantly challenge a view that a candidate isn’t a fit by providing clear evidence from a behavioural science assessment. The extra layer of qualitative data really can help to decode which candidates can offer the greatest impact to your business.

Can you communicate your EVP in 30 seconds?

 Hiring an executive is a two-way process. Whilst your executive search firm or talent acquisition function may have done a great job of presenting the opportunity, the only way they’re going to accept the job is if they buy the vision. It’s incredibly important for a company’s leadership team to be aligned on this and for the candidate to see and hear consistent messaging. Clear and succinct headlines around employer value proposition – covering strategy and vision, purpose and values are critical to buy in. Whilst we associate purpose and values as motivators for younger generations, they are becoming increasingly important for senior executives.

Help your candidates decide if your company is a good fit from a cultural point of view. How clear are the candidates around the purpose and values of the organisations and why they want to become part of it?  Behaviour role-playing and situational assessments are all useful solutions for determining cultural fit and help both sides to decide how it might feel and look to work together. Remember recruitment is a two-way street.

Respect your competitors and colleagues

Maintaining a positive image with a candidate is as part of their experience underpins buy-in. Part of this is showing respect to your competitors. Instead of putting the competition down, reframe it by talking about your commercial opportunity to grab market share. This will help boost your employer brand in the market and garner respect from candidates. People quickly see through disparaging remarks. The same can be said if you are replacing an under-performer. Explain the challenges you are facing professionally and sensitively. With culture so prominent in executive’s thinking today, you want to be regarded as a company that treats people compassionately.

If you would like help or advice on streamlining your hiring process then get in touch with me. For assessment and succession planning solutions please contact Kate Thomas at NewlandRock.

Guy Day specialises in executive search for digitally transforming companies in consumer and retail.

For more help and advice contact me directly

About BartonRock: We are the executive search partner for companies where data-driven digital leadership is intrinsic to growth.

We manage the careers of leaders whose know-how and commercial acumen within digital steers the strategic direction and future survival of companies.

Our assignments search for executives who understand how to implement and lead data-centric digital agendas.

For more information visit: or contact or call +44 (0) 20 8092 6048.

You can also subscribe to BartonRock’s Digital Careers podcast by visiting Apple Podcasts

Looking for support in Leadership Effectiveness? Speak to our sister company led by Kate Thomas

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