Humans vs. Algorithms for Hiring

Michael Lewis’s book Moneyball pits the collective old-time wisdom of baseball players, managers, coaches, scouts, and front offices against rigorous statistical analysis in determining which players to recruit. Analysis wins, changing the game forever. Could the same be true for recruiting top talent?

When the National Bureau of Economic Research looked into this, it pitted humans against computers for more than 300,000 hires in high-turnover jobs … [ Read more ]

Search for Hidden Talent Treasures

Organizations looking for outside talent pay an extraordinary amount of attention to resumes. […] Once people are inside, it’s almost as if some of kind of reset button is pressed: The details of their backgrounds seem to get dumped onto a far-off slag heap, and they become known only for what they do at the new organization. I call this phenomenon resumenesia — a malady … [ Read more ]

Screening Job Applicants for Cultural Fit

San Francisco startup Weebly invites job candidates to work on site during a “trial week,” paid at fair market value. Why? Simple: it’s very hard to suppress values-incongruent behaviors when working closely with others for that long. As their CEO says: “Assholes can hide it in interviews, but for whatever reason, they cannot hide it for a whole week. I don’t know why, but it … [ Read more ]

Create a “How to Use Me” Guide

Jay Desai has FOMU. As a first-time founder and CEO of health technology startup PatientPing, he’s got a healthy fear of messing up. This anxiety especially bubbles to the surface when it has to do with his team — now over 100 employees — and particularly the seven who report directly to him. He’s seen too many immensely talented and productive teams stall because of … [ Read more ]

Gamification of the Enterprise

In the summer of 2011, Facebook announced it would use the social performance platform Rypple (now part of Salesforce.com) for internal reviews and communications.  Rypple allows employees to create and compete in challenges, receive recognition from colleagues, see what others are working on, and find where needed skills may exist within an organization. But Rypple is not a game. It doesn’t even look like a … [ Read more ]

Intermittent Reinforcement is More Effective

Intermittent “extras” are more powerful than constant bonuses that are predictable. Say that a manager wants to reward employees. A good way to do it is with a lottery system. You could set it up so one would have to maintain some level of performance to be eligible for the lottery. The hope of entering the lottery will keep workers going at a higher level … [ Read more ]

Hire Two Salespeople at a Time

Spanning’s Jeff Erramouspe likes to hire salespeople in pairs. “You spend the same energy training one sales rep as two,” he says, “and it promotes healthy competition from the start.” It’s also a hedge against high turnover: “You don’t want to spend all that effort and be back where you started.”

Improve HR with a Rotational Onboarding Program and Peer-to-Peer Hiring

One important initiative at ING has been a new three-week onboarding program, also inspired by Zappos, that involves every employee spending at least one full week at the new Customer Loyalty Team operations call center taking customer calls. As they move around the key areas of the bank, new employees quickly establish their own informal networks and gain a deeper understanding of the business.

We have … [ Read more ]

Give Your Employees Meaning to Improve Turnover

At Zumasys, in addition to the typical corporate benefits, every employee gets three to four weeks of vacation, complementary access to the company’s two-bedroom Vegas loft, and the opportunity to qualify for a tenure-based international travel program that, each year, gives four to six employees a week off with pay and a $4,000 stipend to travel to the destination of their choice. The open-book financials … [ Read more ]

Institutionalize an “Astonishment Report”

At the end of their induction period (generally three months), new hires are required to write (and discuss with their boss) a short report documenting anything and everything that they have found interesting or surprising since joining the company.

Why You Should Interview People Who Turn Down a Job with Your Company

Successfully competing for top talent involves both selling jobs to the best candidates and retaining the highest performing incumbents. In order to be seen as an employer of choice with a compelling value proposition for employees, many companies measure turnover and conduct exit interviews with departing employees to gather feedback about the experiences people had working there and the reasons why they’re leaving. But a … [ Read more ]

Learn and Earn

ipd Company, a small auto parts company in Portland, Oregon, pays its employees to read. And, not just business books, but a wide range of self-improvement books. And, not just books, but also tapes and audio/video seminars.

Richard Gordon, president of ipd, started the “Learn and Earn” program in 1988 when he began to wonder, “what would it be like if our people read the same … [ Read more ]

Make Your Remote Team Members First-Class Citizens

If a benefit, perk or experience is created for your in-office team members, find a way to create parity for those who aren’t in person. That means mailing items given to your in-office team to remote workers — or if you cover lunch for your in-office team, send your remote team a gift card or stipend for food delivery. […] If your leadership team has … [ Read more ]

“Rule of Two” for Promotions

When George Halvorson was chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, he instituted a “rule of two” to encourage diversity and help avoid the “just like me” bias that’s prevalent in many promotion decisions. For appointments at the VP level and above, Halvorson encouraged leaders to bring three candidates, and no more than two of them could have a similar demographic profile—for example, sex or race. … [ Read more ]

A Living Archive of “Introduce Yourself” Emails

As outlined in the [company’s] Day One Document, a hire sends an “Introduce Yourself” email at the end of the first day. It’s a scripted greeting to the company from the new hire sharing a bit of background and trivia. “Everyone who starts with the company sends one out. It also includes a photo and a link to three questions on Barista, Percolate’s internal Q&A … [ Read more ]

Hiring Tips

Because you may have a long list of candidates, you should batch calls as often as possible. For example, set aside 15 minute segments in a 3 hour block daily. In a first-pass, I always ask:

  1. “Walk me through your resume”, to understand if the candidate is actually interested in a startup via a clear story, or just shotgunning their resume;
  2. “If you left a

[ Read more ]

Stay Interviews

There are many ways to invest in employees you fear may be looking to leave: pay increases, promotions, special projects, etc.  One technique is to use what are called “stay interviews.”  Instead of conducting only exit interviews to learn what caused good employees to quit, hold regular one-on-one interviews with current high-performing employees to learn what keeps them working in your organization and what could … [ Read more ]

Salary Bands

As you think about building out a team, you’ll want market data to ensure you’re making hires within the right salary bands. It’s much easier to have a conversation with a candidate when you have market data vs. what you’ve just heard from your peers. Creating salary bands with multiple seniority or experience levels early on will help navigate tricky internal equity discussions down the … [ Read more ]

A Compensation Philosophy

Why is it so important to have a philosophy around compensation early on? As a company is growing and establishing its culture and values, it needs to make sure that its compensation philosophy is aligned with the company’s overall mission and values. For example, a company that identifies with “transparency” as a value, needs to make sure that its compensations practices are transparent. Anyone involved … [ Read more ]

External Talent Needs Management, Too

The corporate use of external talent across sectors and geographies is more common than ever. Talent can provide companies with access to new capabilities and technologies; it can enable faster and more agile response to markets; it can be used to test new opportunities before making major investments; it can be used to respond to demand peaks and to attain scale quickly; and, perhaps most … [ Read more ]