If Great Talent Walked Through Your Door, Would You Recognize It?

great_talent_walked_through_your_doorThere’s a lot of buzz recently around Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp, and about their major hiring fail. A few years ago, Brian Acton interviewed at Facebook and they decided not to hire him. As a result, Brian went on to co-create his own company, WhatsApp, which Facebook is now buying for an estimated $19 billion dollars.

How could Facebook have made just a HUGE hiring mistake?

The competition for great talent, especially in Silicon Valley, is ruthless. Most of our customers feel this pain and they're dedicated to not letting great candidates slip through the cracks. Everyday we hear a new story about how much it's costing companies that make the wrong decisions about candidates, so here's 3 simple ways to avoid the same fate:

Tip 1: Be clear about your hiring criteria.
It sounds easy but, you'd be surprised how many companies don't have a handle on this, or how expectations will vary across the organization, resulting in constant criteria changes during the process. The challenge here is two-fold. First, you need to have everyone on the same page. Hiring managers should work directly with the recruiting team to identify the key attributes for the ideal candidate. Make a list, once you know who you're looking for, it’s easier to see trainable skills vs. the inherent traits. Rarely will you find someone that's a 100% match, but at least it will be easier to balance your requirements for specific skills with the foresight of how a candidate might evolve in a role.

Tip 2: Have enough structure.

You can’t spot great talent if your process is not systematic. How much structure vs. flexibility you have is entirely up to you but, there needs to be enough structure that after each interview you can answer these three simple questions:

  • Where is the candidate strong and weak?
  • What do you know and what do you not know?
  • Where do we have interviewer agreement and/or disagreement?

If you can't answer these questions, quickly and easily, your interview process needs work. Start by creating a simple interview plan, and map out different traits, skills, etc. you want to cover in each, and define the question set you want your interviewers to ask. This will keep your interviewers on track, the feedback consistent and relevant, and reduce the amount of chitchat and time wasted for everyone.

Tip 3: Use tools that support great hiring habits.

Tracking applicants through the recruiting process is one thing, having the tools to really identify great talent and make decisions about them quickly is another story. Your recruiting tools should support your company's process and best-practices leaving room for them to evolve. Don't let your recruiting technology get in the way of hiring the best. There are plenty of great tools out there to help you from sourcing, to interviewing, to automating communications, to interview planning and reporting. Some companies try to build their own solution internally, Facebook being one of them, building your own platform can be extremely time consuming, and in the case of Brain Acton, not always the most effective.

Who knows why Facebook didn’t hire Brian Acton, but for most companies its simple: there is no define criteria, interviews are not structured, and collecting relevant and consistent feedback is impossible. Help your team get better at recruiting, give them the tools to feel good about their role in the process and their ability to provide great feedback. There are many ways to improve, but just following these three tips will put you at a great advantage, and help you avoid making $4B mistakes!

To learn more about Greenhouse and how we can help you avoid making the biggest hiring mistake for your life, request a demo today. 

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