Assessing Talent

I put a lot of emphasis on what people can actually do rather than a paper, faceless, nameless resume. Blame it on being from Missouri, but “Show Me” is something that I take to heart. Of course there are numerous blogs and guides to help you hire, but I like to think that you can really boil it down to a few steps and simplify it all.

This is likely the most time consuming part of the process. When you’re looking for new talent, you’re going to get resumes, a lot of resumes, so picking a process or using software to help do this saves a lot of time. You want to get good at boiling down a large list of candidates to a manageable number (5 – 10 tops) and then ranking them on how likely they are to be good at the job you’re wanting to fill. I say likely because you never know until they’ve proven something.
Here is the part that job seekers really hate or really enjoy. Also known as the interview, it’s the chance to meet the person face to face, over the phone or via video to see if they can talk the talk and seem competent enough to perform the duties set forth. There are a lot of interview techniques to use but my personal favorite is “Good Cop, Bad Cop”. That is, two people interview 1 candidate and ask a series of questions to test how good people are on their toes. Don’t get me wrong, you’re not mean and the bad cop isn’t bad, they just ask the tougher questions like, what do you hate about your current job & what do you feel you need to change about your work ethic. Here you’re assessing them as a person, you still haven’t had them prove what they can do, but you’re assessing their culture fit and interactivity.
My favorite step. Here’s where I like to get creative with things. It’s the opportunity to have your top candidates prove their skills and make your decision. Some examples could be: administer a creative writing test w/ a 30 min time limit that requires the use of 6 unrelated words (did this one and it was a great story); provide content and an HTML editor and 30 mins to code a functional, beautiful webpage using nothing more than CSS & HTML; give a box of colored pencils, 2 sheets of blank paper and 30 mins to draw any object you think of at that moment. What you’ll find is that some will excel while others will waffle and take the easy route. You’re forcing people to be creative, concise and work within a constraint which are great skills to look for especially in a marketing capacity

Of course there are exceptions and this methodology won’t work for everyone, but in the right circumstances it can help you uncover the BS and discover people who actually can do what they say they can.

Herefish Colophon