The Definitive Guide to Recruiting in Good Times and Bad

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FINANCIAL CRISIS SPOTLIGHT

The Definitive Guide to Recruiting in Good Times and Bad
by Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, Boris Groysberg, and Nitin Nohria •

Included with this full-text Harvard Business Review article: 1 Article Summary The Idea in Brief—the core idea The Idea in Practice—putting the idea to work 2 The Definitive Guide to Recruiting in Good Times and Bad 12 Further Reading A list of related materials, with annotations to guide further exploration of the article’s ideas and applications

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FINANCIAL CRISIS SPOTLIGHT

The Definitive Guide to Recruiting in Good Times and Bad
The Idea in Brief
Recessions present an unexpected opportunity for companies to snap up the toplevel talent needed to drive growth in better times. But most firms squander this opportunity because their recruitment practices are scattershot. To capture the best talent now and retain your stars once the recession eases, you’ll need a rigorous recruitment process that includes these steps: • Anticipate your future leadership needs, based on your strategic business plan. Intuit’s deep analysis of long-term staffing needs has contributed to famously smooth management transitions. • Identify the specific competencies required in each position you need to fill. For example, ask, “Does this job require an entrepreneur, manager, or leader?” • Develop a sufficiently large candidate pool. Considering both inside and outside candidates increases the likelihood you’ll find the right person for each job.

The Idea in Practice
Steps to effective recruiting: ANTICIPATE YOUR NEEDS Every two to three years review your high-level leadership requirements in light of your strategic business plan. Answer these questions: • How many people will we need, in what positions, in the next few years? • What will the organizational structure look like? • What must our leadership pipeline contain today to ensure that we find and develop tomorrow’s leaders? SPECIFY THE JOB For each leadership position you’ve identified, specify competencies needed in that role. For example: • Job-based: What capabilities will the job require? • Team-based: Will the applicant need to manage political dynamics? • Firm-based: What resources (supporting talent, technology) will the organization need to provide the person who fills this role? DEVELOP THE POOL Cast your net widely for candidates by asking suppliers, customers, board members, professional service providers, and trusted insiders for suggestions. Consider “inside-outsiders” (internal candidates not bound by corporate tradition and ideology) and “outside-insiders” (former employees, customers, suppliers, advisers, or anyone who’s worked closely with a trusted insider). ASSESS THE CANDIDATES Have each candidate’s prospective boss, boss’s supervisor, and the top HR manager conduct “behavioral event interviews”: Ask candidates to describe experiences they’ve had that resemble situations they’ll face in your organization. Probe for exact actions candidates took and the reasoning they followed. Evaluate a broad spectrum of references— former bosses, peers, and direct reports—asking about specific things candidates did and actual results achieved. CLOSE THE DEAL Once you’ve settled on your final choice of candidate, boost the chances your job offer will be accepted: • Share your passion about the company and the position, showing genuine interest in the candidate. • Acknowledge the role’s opportunities and challenges, differentiating the opportunities at your firm from those of competitors. • Strike a creative balance between salary, bonus, and other long-term incentives. INTEGRATE THE NEWCOMER Integrate new hires into your company’s culture: • During their first few months, have bosses and the HR manager check in regularly with each new recruit. • Assign each newcomer a mentor—an established star in your organization. Mentors should provide ongoing support, not just an initial “buddy” fix to help...
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