Saturday, December 3, 2011

Book Review: How to Choose the Right Person for the Right Job Every Time

The bottom line isn't the bottom line: people are the bottom line.

Whether you are a manager hiring a team-member or a volunteer leader assembling a team, people are your most important asset. Having the right people doing the right things is vital to any team's effectiveness.

The subject of today's book review addresses the process with a bold claim: How to Choose the Right Person for the Right Job Every Time by Lori Davila and Louise Kursmark. Like most bold titles, this one can't fulfill all its promises. "Every time" after all is nearly impossible in any endeavor and the author's do acknowledge this.

However, How to Choose the Right Person is a great introduction for managers and leaders to the art of hiring and building teams. It really boils down to two key skills:

Skill #1: Defining what qualities are necessary to succeed in a specific role and in your specific team or organization.
Skill #2: Identifying individuals with those qualities.

How to Choose the Right Person walks you through both of these processes and provides many different examples to help you apply what you've learned.

A quick note for newer managers and leaders: After character and attitude, the most important thing to look for in prospective team members or employees is whether or not they are already doing what they will need to do in their new role. It is less important if an individual may not have been able to do the exact same type of work, may not have done lots of it, or may not have been paid for it.

If someone is not internally motivated to do what they would need to do in their new role, they aren't the best fit.

So if you are in an employment setting and limited to resumes and interviews, how do you know if someone has that internal motivation or has already been doing what they'll need to do?

How to Choose the Right Person advocates for Behavior-Based Interviewing. In short, the idea is to focus on questions about actual past behaviors, actual outcomes, and actual situations. While this may seem like a simple concept, if you've sat through many interviews, you've heard hiring managers ask all sorts of hypothetical questions, spend time talking about themselves, or ask about the candidate's opinions. These might be great social discussions, but they don't help you discover what people actually do.

If you have put in the time to clearly identify the qualities someone needs to be successful in a role and in your organizational culture, Behavior-Based Interviewing dramatically increases your chances of finding the right match.

I recommend How to Choose the Right Person for the Right Job Every Time for any leader or manager.

Happy Reading,

David M. Dye

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Twitter: @davidmdye
David shares twenty years experience teaching, coaching, leading, and managing in youth service, education advocacy, city governance, and faith-based nonprofits. He currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for Colorado UpLift and enjoys helping others discover and realize their own potential.

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