Upgrading Talent? Upgrading Interview and Asessment Skills as Well?

Although layoff announcements and jobless claims dominate the current headlines, some firms are making it a priority to upgrade talent in key roles.  Savvy business leaders and HR officers recognize the importance of fielding a strong team to not only survive now but, thrive as the economy rebounds.  Sales, finance and operations/supply chain are prime targets for adding talented leaders who can streamline processes, identify and root out costs or take market share from competitors.  

Sadly, many executives and managers are relying on the same processes and skills to interview and evaluate candidates than they did previsously.  If disappointed in not selecting more “A” players then, why expect the process will yield better results now?  Unfortunately some firms, as reported in a Wall Street Journal article titled, “What Won’t You Do For a Job?” (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124390030619274289.html) have created new and unusual screening processes, many of which are off-putting, borderline illegal or just plain ineffective. 

If it is time to invest in acquiring top talent, it is also time to invest in sharpening the interview and assessment skills of leaders who will be accountable for making these critical hires.  This is not necessarily Interviewing 101 (although many leaders have not had formal interviewing and evaluation training or had it so long ago, the key learnings have long faded).  What is needed now is for an executive or manager to possess interview and assessment skills at least as strong as their primary area of expertise (branding, supply chain, merchandising, business development, financial analysis and planning, etc.).  With an effective process for specifying  job and candidate specifications, establishing a new “bar” for evaluating talent, and coaching enhanced interview and assessment skills, executives and managers can approach the priority of upgrading talent with the capability to actually do so.


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