How to Recruit Rockstars

rock stars

Recruit the Best

Jeff Hyman has hired more than 3,000 people over the course of his career as a top-tier executive recruiter. Jeff’s new book, Recruit Rockstars: The 10 Step Playbook to Find the Winners and Ignite Your Business, reveals his method for landing the very best talent.

I recently spoke with Jeff about his book and work. Here are a few ideas that will help you assemble a team of rock stars.



Recruiting Mistakes

What percentage of business problems do you attribute to recruiting mishaps?

  • 90% of business problems are actually people problems in disguise.
  • Hiring B and C Players can cause more problems than staffing these roles solve
    • They may do the job, but do they do it well? And if they don’t do it well, that’s another problem to fix.
    • B and C Players need to be micromanaged, which distracts the leader’s time from improving the company’s performance.
  • By investing in hiring Rockstars, you can take time away from micromanaging and fixing the problems of B and C Players



Improve Recruiting Accuracy

Talk about the gap between what most hiring managers do and what they must do to improve accuracy in recruiting.

  • Each chapter of the book outlines a stage in the hiring process that most people get wrong:
    • Defining company DNA (you must know yours before hiring anyone)
    • Job invitations (I explain why they’re far better than job descriptions)
    • Building a recruiting funnel (most don’t effectively leverage an Employee Referral Program)
    • Interviewing (It requires a structured approach in order to be truly predictive)
    • Using a Test Drive to decide between two final candidates (91% of employers skip this step)
    • Reference checking (there’s a backdoor approach that has helped me avoid many potential bad hires!)
    • How to make an offer a Rockstar can’t refuse (Amazingly, a lot can still go wrong during this stage)
    • Onboarding (many throw their Rockstars straight into work without providing context and opportunities for questions and feedback)
  • Every step matters. You can’t skip one and expect to fill the seats in your organization with Rockstars



What’s a job invitation and how is it used?

  • A job Invitation invites people to have a discreet conversation instead of asking a candidate to fill out a long, annoying application
    • “Discreet” is important because most Rockstars already have a job
  • The typical job description is a boring, poorly-crafted laundry list of requirements regarding GPA, college, industry experience, etc.
    • Requirements only serve to alienate otherwise amazing candidates.
  • Instead, focus your Job Invitation on communicating company culture and what the candidate would get out of working there.


What makes a great recruiter?

  • A great recruiter works for both the company and the candidate, aiming to achieve a great fit between the two.
  • A great recruiter isn’t a yes-man. Companies have processes and traditions they follow with regards to the recruiting process, but I challenge my clients to use predictive systems that fall outside the agreed-upon norm. If I didn’t push for proper process in line with everything I’ve learned about recruiting after 25 years in the industry, I wouldn’t be adding value



How to Build Relationships with Recruiters

How do you build relationships with recruiters?

  • A recruiter may reach out to you before you need them.
  • Even if you have no plans to leave your job now, you might in the future. So invest the time with them.
  • Even the bare minimum “Thanks but no thanks!” demonstrates courtesy, and increases the likelihood that the recruiter will provide assistance in the future.
  • Always remember that the recruiter works for the employer.



1 Step Most Hiring Managers Get Wrong

What’s the one step that most hiring managers get wrong or miss entirely?

  • For many hiring managers, it all falls apart during the interview stage.
  • This is partially a function of the questions they ask candidates. Some come to the interview without having looked over the candidate’s resume, so they are completely unprepared. Even for those that do prepare, they treat the interview as entertainment, asking “brainteaser” questions as they come to mind.
  • In order for the interviewing stage to be a predictive process, the same questions must be asked to all candidates and in the same order.



Look for the Early Warning Signs

What are some of the early warning signs that you have made a hiring mistake?

  • A mismatch will be evident within two months, often as soon as two weeks
    • Skill
      • Does the new employee need far more direction than they should, based on their level of experience?
      • Is the new employee unable to prioritize tasks or manage their time?
    • Will
      • Does the new employee seem engaged, enthusiastic, and with a high degree of desire to complete the assignments?
      • Are they surprisingly off-task or tardy in completing work (or arriving at work?)



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