Recruiting the Right Personnel
Vladimir Sidorenko, President of Performia CIS
Vladimir Sidorenko started in business as a commercial agent for an intermediary company. At present he is Chairman of the Board and principal owner of the Perspectives Group, which includes Performia CIS. Mr. Sidorenko is an experienced lecturer: more than 1,000 people have attended his seminars.
Marten Runow, the founder of the international company Performia, developed the Performia Hiring System in the 1980s. Through a fixed sequence of actions, this system allows recruitment to be speeded up and applicants selected who will become the future backbone of the company. Having stood the test of time, the system has proved to be simple and provide accurate results even when applied across a range of businesses. Since Vladimir Sidorenko went into partnership with Marten Runow and opened the Performia office in Moscow in 2001, more than 600 company owners, executives and HR managers have completed the course and are applying the system effectively today to hire productive personnel. In 2004 Performia Kazakhstan was opened in Almaty.
Recruitment is one of the key objectives of any business, though it is often underestimated. Executives and company owners often exercise direct control only over the areas they deem the most important (financial planning, production, sales, advertising, PR, etc.). However, both the success and future of a company depends on those who work for it. I believe that the cause of this negligence is that most executives consider recruitment to be very complicated and tricky and simply do not try to control the process. At the same time, all of them can tell the difference between a good and a bad worker and they know that the end result of a company's work depends on the work of individual employees.
The main challenge is that a manager has to predict the future. This means that during an interview with an applicant he has to answer the question: "What will this applicant's output be if we employ him?" However, the applicant has a different objective: he or she wants to get the job and become part of the team.
So, what can you definitely learn about an applicant during an interview? If, for example, you ask about overtime and the answer is: "Fine! I enjoy working overtime to finish what I've planned for the day". What will be your conclusion? Is the person a liar? Does he or she work so slowly that they need to work overtime every day? Or is this a brilliant, productive and reliable worker? They could be either. The applicant, however, may answer in a different way: "You know, I hate working overtime". Is this reckless and ill-mannered? Or is it a person who does everything on time and just doesn't like working overtime because of others' carelessness? Maybe this is the only applicant who has answered your question honestly. Just as before the interview, you don't know who this person is; the only thing you can rely on is your intuition…
Do you ever consider who would present themselves best at an interview? The answer is very simple: it will be a person who is more experienced at interviews. There are even companies that help applicants to write their CVs in a way that will impress an employer. That is why the most impressive person will not be necessarily the best worker, but one who has prepared better for the interview or been interviewed more often, or changed jobs more than the others. However, truly effective personnel do not job-hop.
Most of candidates come to an interview wearing something of a mask that you have to remove or at least lift a little. Otherwise you are making a blind bargain. You should remember that it is not the mask that will work; the only thing the mask can do is impress. Nothing more…
Consider a typical situation that arises when recruiting personnel. A go-ahead person wants to create his own business. Since the founder is most often the director as well in the early stages, he or she has to build up the business alone and solve every problem. The founder finds the first employees and interviews them; decides whether or not to employ each applicant and, if accepted, for which position; then personally discusses the terms of employment, etc. Combining this with many other questions, the employer now believes that recruitment is not very difficult and, by devoting not more than 10% of his or her time to this process, can definitely be successful. Often the first employees recruited directly by the founder become the long-term backbone of the company.
But what happens next? The company grows and employs more than ten people – the executive cannot or does not wish to resolve everything alone. And one of the first areas that passes from his or her control is recruitment. The company hires someone to take responsibility for this, whatever the position may be called – an HR manager or director. This is the first day that the company starts to experience problems with recruitment: either it is difficult to find the right staff quickly, or it is impossible to agree on terms of employment, or the people hired do not live up to management's expectations…
The management finds out that, although delegation of authority cannot be avoided, it has its negative side. Consider an example. While the executive has often to do the accounting for the company at the very beginning of the business, he or she then delegates these duties to a professional accountant who usually does it better. However, with recruitment, this rule does not work – often quite the opposite. Why?
Firstly, the executive who hired staff personally during the first days of the company is most often a very productive person in his or her own right. And as "birds of a feather flock together", the first employees are generally also productive.
Secondly, being enthusiastic about the business, the executive finds people who, because of their personality, genuinely share that enthusiasm.
And although in most cases the executive did not have any professional knowledge about how to hire the right personnel, intuition helped him or her to achieve the desired result. However, no one can rely on intuition all the time – all the more so when a company is growing and recruitment is delegated to a separate manager or even a department. What is needed is a hiring technology, which must be simple, comprehensible and provide positive, predictable results (technology means a sequence of actions to be taken to achieve a desired result). It should be a technology which allows productive employees, i.e. persons who achieve the goal and finish the job on time, to be found quickly and cost-effectively. The performance of an employee is the most important factor, for we do not pay our employees for their diplomas, certificates or their good looks and communication skills, but for the results they achieve.
So there a natural question arises: how can the performance of an applicant be tested? It is not difficult to do this when you hire a chef – you just have to taste the dish cooked at your request. On the contrary, when you recruit a chief accountant, a test like this will not do. Few executives dare hire an accountant for, say, a one-year probation, if they know nothing about the person's performance (and the actual results of their work will only become visible after the annual balance sheets have been examined by the authorities). However, many companies recruit accountants in the way just described.
Now it will be understood why an effective and simple technology is necessary which allows performance to be tested quickly. So it will come as good news that this technology has already been created and applied successfully for more than twenty years. It was developed by the Performia company, which took its name from the verb to perform, one meaning of which is to complete. This is what we try to discern in applicants. The technology used by Performia is based on the works of L. Ron Hubbard describing the organisation of management.
In addition to performance there is personality. Analysing the personality of an applicant helps to predict how he or she might behave in one or other situation. It is also very important to answer questions such as whether applicants are honest, whether they will be devoted to the company, and how long they will work for the company. Will they try to find new spheres of activity or will they feel comfortable carrying out routine tasks? Are they able to plan and concentrate on a wide range of tasks and data? Will they try to solve a problem or get hung up on difficulties and barriers? Will they be consistent and predictable? Will they be persistent in achieving the objectives set? Will they easily make concessions (for example giving a needless discount to buyers) or will they be determined and resolute when pressed? Will they take criticism sensitively or calmly? Will they be good team players or are they individualists? There are also many other questions.
While performance is the most important quality, personality should not be underestimated either. For example, if you are a football coach and need a good forward, the first thing that interests you in a sportsman is whether he is good at scoring goals. If not, you do not need to know anything else. However, if this forward scored more goals than anyone else last year, you definitely need him in the team. And you would also like to know about his personality – if he plays better with his right or left foot, which wing he prefers, if he is good in attack, whether he is good at heading, etc.
Thus, we need to know the personality of productive applicants in order to understand which position would suit them best, how they will work in a team, how to communicate with them, etc. It is also should be remembered that an applicant who is productive in one area may not be quite as industrious in another.
In addition to productivity and personality you should also know the applicant's motives, so as to answer the question of why he wants to work for you. Many people think that money is the corner-stone; however that is not the case. Your best employees will hardly move to your competitors if they are likely to get only 10-20% more than at your company. However, many things depend on the way you manage them.
That is why, when interviewing applicants, you should not pay attention to those who are only interested in the salary, but to those who are concerned about what they would do in the company, about its products and contribution to society. These are the people you need.
Needless to say, you should also check their knowledge and professional experience thoroughly.
These are the four factors (performance, personality, motivation, and knowledge) that will allow you to predict the results you may expect from the applicant you are about to employ.
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