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The Talent Edge: A Behavioral Approach to Hiring, Developing, and Keeping Top Performers



The Talent Edge: A Behavioral Approach to Hiring, Developing, and Keeping Top Performers

David S. Cohen

ISBN: 978-0-470-73921-1 December 2009 232 Pages


A practical step-by-step approach to hiring the right person.

Every hiring manager knows that the traditional hiring and interviewing process is a poor tool for predicting organizational fit and future on-the-job success. Behavioral interviewing can improve your chances of picking the right candidate two to five times over traditional processes. It focuses on how the candidate works rather than on skills, qualifications, and impressions.

The Talent Edge shows how you can develop a concrete understanding of what your own top performers do differently than the majority of their peers, and how to translate that knowledge into a better hiring system. While using case studies from organizations that have successfully transformed their hiring practices, the book articulates the business case for a Behavioral Interviewing system, and provides a roadmap for implementing it.

Comprehensive coverage includes: how to write job profiles and translate them into questions and answers that can be used in the interview; how to prepare for the interview, ask questions, and probe for the right information. The book also offers advice on how behaviors that are defined and proven to be useful in the hiring process can be incorporated into performance management, career development, and succession planning.

Acknowledgements xii

Introduction: Leaders Needed ix

Chapter 1 Value Beyond the Balance Sheet: The Right People 1

Are Your People Really Your Competitive Advantage? 1

The Traditional Interview: Rolling the Dice 2

The Hiring Manager 4

The Human Resources Professional 5

Behavioral Interviewing: Examining the Past to Predict the Future 6

Not a Cookie-Cutter Approach 7

Case Study Profiles That Lead the Way 8

A Vision of Organizational Clarity 16

Chapter 2 Making the Business Case for Behavioral Interviewing 19

Competing for the Best 19

Why Hiring Decisions Fail 20

The Job Description 21

The Résumé 23

Technical Credentials 24

Experience 24

Hypothetical Situations and Opinions 25

Behavioral Information 26

Comparing Types of Information 27

The Interviewing Skills of the Candidate 28

The Time It Takes for a Decision 29

Reference Checks 30

Structured and Unstructured Interviews 31

The Odds and the Options 32

Determining the Economic Value-Added 33

Getting Buy-In From the Organization 38

Case Studies: Two Approaches to Behavioral Interviewing 39

Summary 46

Chapter 3 The Organization, the Job, and the Candidate: The Right Fit 47

Understanding What to Look For 47

Employees Success and Failure 48

The Importance of Defining Fit 49

Organizational Values 50

Organizational Culture 55

Organizational Vision 55

Corporate Mission, Strategy, and Objectives 56

Linking Values to Behaviors 56

The What and How of a Job 58

Technical Knock-Out Factors 60

Can-Do and Will-Do Factors 60

Behavioral Competencies 61

Transferability: The Hierarchy of Behaviors 63

Developing Behavioral Competencies in Your Unique Organization 65

A Road Map for Success 66

Working With Values: Case Study Examples 67

Summary 73

Chapter 4 Developing Behavioral Profiles that Benchmark Top Performance 75

Identifying, Examining, and Describing Top Performance 75

Critical Incidents 77

A Critical Incident: An Example 78

Breaking Down the Incident 78

The Right Critical Incident and Behaviors 79

Critical Incidents and Behavioral Interviewing 80

Focus Groups 81

Identifying Must-Have and Preferred Behavioral Competencies 86

Writing the Behavioral Profile 88

Sample Behavioral Profile 91

Case Study Profiles 96

Summary 105

Chapter 5 Writing Behavioral Questions that Elicit High-Yield Information 107

Behavioral Questions 107

Key Words 111

Sample Behavioral Questions 112

The Interview Guide 115

Summary 117

Chapter 6 Interviewing to Select and Sell the Best 119

Laying the Groundwork 119

How Much Structure? 120

Time Allocation 122

How Many Interviews? 123

Note Taking: Recording Behavioral Information 124

Preparing for the Interview 126

Opening the Interview 127

The Agenda-Setting Statement 128

Open-Ended and Closed-Ended Questions 131

Listening 132

Probing 134

Getting Behavioral Answers 136

Selling Your Organization 139

Closing the Interview 141

Behavioral Reference Checks 142

Post-Interview Debriefings 144

Ensuring the Fit of Your Selection 145

Training Hiring Managers to do

Behavioral Interviewing 146

Case Study Profiles 149

Summary 159

Chapter 7 Doing the Numbers: The Right Decision 161

Suspending Judgement and Developing a Common Language of Assessment 161

The Process 163

Determining Evidence of Behaviors 163

Scoring Responses: Using the Anchored Rating Scale 165

Anchored Rating System 166

Case Study Profiles 168

Sample Response Rating 169

Common Rating and Profile Assessment Errors 173

The Decision 174

Making the Offer 175

Chapter 8 Aligning Organizational Values, Strategy and People: A Common Language of Success 179

The Hub of the Wheel 179

Michelin North America 181

HMV North America 183

Calgary Police Service 187

Abbott Labs 188

Thomas Cook 190

Starbucks 191

Sprint Canada 192

A Final Thought: Championing a Behavioral Approach 193

Afterword Hiring in a Dot-Com Start-Up: The Tug of War Between Growth and Time 195

Does Hiring Right Work When You're Hiring Fast? 195

An All-Out Hiring Blitz 196

First Steps: Easing in a Behavioral Approach 198

Seizing the Opportunity to Spread the Word 198

Adaptions to the Behavioral Interviewing Workshop 200

Benefits to the Organization: Adapting to Change, Choosing the Right Competencies and Building a Global Culture 201

How Hiring Managers and Senior Executives Have Embraced the Process 204

Conclusion: A Step-by-Step Approach 206

Index 209