Finding and selecting the right talent for a role is a hard task under any circumstances. Learning who people really are, beyond the embroidered descriptions and track record on a resume, requires a keen eye and a great process.
But it all starts with knowing exactly who you are looking for.
In way too many cases, leaders can’t describe the ideal candidate before the search begins. No wonder the batting average of most leaders for finding a great new colleague is so low. It’s time to change that.
The more specifically a leader describes the ideal colleague they are looking for, the easier it is for everyone else contributing to the search to screen effectively and narrow in on a great candidate. Describing the skills, experience, and track record of a preferred colleague is the easy part.
Next, take the time to explore the values and guiding principles the candidate might hold that would fit the team. Push past the boilerplate values and be specific about the principles that connect more directly to the work and role.
Of course, we are looking for a respectful colleague with high integrity. But we want to learn about other things they value:
Action over deliberation?
Collaboration over working independently?
Candidness over getting along?
Describe what personal characteristics would best match the ideal candidate. Do they need to be high-energy? Masterfully articulate? Unusually patient? Accepting of change?
Don’t forget to outline the temperament of the perfect candidate. Does it matter if they are reactive, theatrical, expressive, calm, or quiet? The more descriptors the better.
Comparing prospective candidates against a vivid description of the ideal candidate exponentially increases the odds of finding the best person for the role. Without painting the full picture of who a leader is looking for, it is nearly impossible to know who would fit best.
Always overlay the ideal description on top of the candidate list. What stands out will tell any leader whether they have found a great choice or if they need to keep looking.
We hosted a 15 minute long twitter spaces discussion to unpack this Filed Notes entry.
Listen here: https://twitter.com/AdmiredLeaders/status/1647960095362301953