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Try Before You Buy

No, I’m not talking about hiking shoes or test driving a new car. I’m talking about test driving a prospective employee–and not the way most of us think.

I’m talking about an idea I first heard when Brad Remillard of Impact Hiring Solutions spoke to one of our two Tucson Vistage International Groups. At that time, speaking of job candidates, he talked of “putting them to work before you hire them.” Brad and his partner, Barry Deutsch discuss extraordinary hiring ideas, particularly when looking for senior staff in their book “You”re Not the Person I Hired.” This notion of putting them to work before they’re hired does not refer to paid or academic internships. It refers to what some would call a simulation.

For example, say you are recruiting for a new CFO, and one of your corporate goals for the year is to increase free cash flow 20% by year end. While we certainly care about what our candidates have done in the past that relates to goals like these, I maintain that what we really want to know is this: “How are you going to do this here!” Some argue that the candidate doesn’t know enough about the company to answer that question, or that the question might surprise them. That’s fine. This is simply a keyboarding test on steroids. Give them extra time during the interview, or give them a few days to come back a present. The point is this.You don’t want to find out that this is not the person you thought you hired after you hire them. You want to find out during the interview process exactly what you are buying to avoid the extremely costly mistake of choosing the wrong person for the job for any number of reasons.

There’s a pretty good article on the notion of using simulation as part of the interview process in the latest issue of Psychology Today. For another month you’ll actually have to buy the current issue. You can find Barry and Brad’s great book on  hiring here.

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