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Posts Tagged ‘selection’

Drive for perfection, yet strive toward excellence?

Blinded by the lightA guy who viewed himself as one of the most laid-back “happy go-lucky” executives in the world asked himself this question upon recuperating in the hospital from an unexpected bypass heart operation. How could the ticker lose its tock now, when it he had survived the early pressures of the infancy days of FEDEX losing $1million a month and  when Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken threatened to go on the Johnny Carson show and blow the new CEO out of the water because he planned to change the formula of the gravy!

Frank shares his reflections in: 


Perfection is being right.

Excellence is willing to be wrong.

Perfection is fear.

Excellence is taking a risk.

Perfection is anger and frustration.

Excellence is powerful.

Perfection is control.

Excellence is spontaneous.

Perfection is judgement.

Excellence is accepting.

Perfection is taking.

Excellence is giving.

Perfection is doubt.

Excellence is confidence.

Perfection is pressure.

Excellence is natural.

Perfection is the destination.

Excellence is the journey.

Written by Frank Maguire 

The original Senior Vice President of Industrial Relations for Federal Express, Frank Maguire is credited by
CEO, Fred Smith, as creating the corporate culture that resulted in FEDEX being named “The Top Corporation of the Decade” by Fortune Magazine.

Risky Business of Hiring

Sign me up ..making major decisions with minor information

 Remember TMI?  An expression used when someone had crossed that communication line and provided “too much information”.  Oftentimes, it meant that the information was “way” too technical, too personal or too detailed for the listener to have the patience or desire to absorb in one (or any) conversation. 

After an employee has failed or disappointed us again, do we ever reflect back to the interview and think did I experience “TMI” or was it more like “NEI”…not enough information?

 Were there red flags we missed? We mentally go through our “good hire checklist”.  They had the right experience, professional demeanor and even a good education and training.  Where had we gone wrong?

If this is the first time, we brush ourselves off promising we won’t let it happen again.  If not, we begin to doubt our abilities to get the “right information” in the interview, or worse, we blame someone or something else.

 Reasons Employees Fail

Let’s review some Hiring Success Basics.  Studies show that the top three reasons people fail are due to:

a) Incompetence

b) Incompatibility

c) Dishonesty

 Which of the three reasons does your company most often experience? When meeting with new clients, the most popular answer received is A or B with a disclaimer that “we usually don’t have a problem with C”.

 Companies advise that they don’t have to worry about reason C because their employees don’t handle money or they are doing background checks…which are effective if the person has been caught.  Repeat fraud offenders represent only 12% of the white collar fraudsters according to the Certified Fraud Examiners Association’s Annual Report in 2004. Quite an alarming statistic!

 What about accepting company work “on the side”, sharing confidential information with competitors or misusing computer data?  Even playing on the computer, cell phone abuse and general carelessness has been coined a new term.  Known as “presenteeism”, it means spending paid work time on any activities but work!

Because business dishonesty = stealing money in most employers’ minds, do not be dissuaded from doing background checks on prospective employees!  They can serve as a legal safety net and provide other necessary and useful information.     

 One Employer’s StoryRobber Me

 One small employer hired a key employee highly recommended for her trustworthiness, performance and drive. The employer recognized the promise and talent of the potential employee, though lacking the usual industry experience. The employer mentored the new hire through some personal challenges initially, until the employee’s focus and productivity returned. Due to health challenges after fourteen months, the employee regretfully quit to convalesce at home. 

Imagine the surprise felt by the staff, when the former employee was spotted at a trade show three months later, as the proud owner of a competitive company!  Imagine MY surprise when I learned my former employee had spun almost a year-long web of deceit resulting in lost company revenue, diverted relationships and, of course, lost time, for my company.

 When relating my unfortunate experience of years ago with other employers, many retort …”want to know what happened to us?”  The stories all began with the phrase …”we had this ____.” It was just a matter of filling in the blank with any title.  The amounts of money, time and resources lost, due to the acts of deception and theft perpetrated, often by those whom the employers had embraced as their hardest working employees, were staggering. 

 Reference Check Hurdles

 Most companies caught unawares indicate that references had been checked.  And today references can be challenging…almost like running the 1 mile hurdle race. 

Tenacity is the name of the game.  Jump those hurdles of former co-workers, peers, employer validations and third party reference checks only.  Don’t be swept up in the emotion of the gushing reference. 

Ask for the former employer who may have been restricted from giving a reference in the past. Call them by using their new company’s main number to locate the “real person”, instead of their cell phone number.  Get former happy and unhappy customers or vendors to tell you how their interactions were handled.  The “diamond in the rough” reference may be right in front of you.


Counteroffer checkmate

checkmate !!!
Heading off counteroffers  

Professional recruiters typically pose the counteroffer question ” Have you ever accepted a position in good faith and found that when you turned in your resignation, your company made you a counteroffer?”, to decide if the candidate is worthwhile to represent.  The question lurking behind the question is, if you make a job offer to someone who responded yes to the question, will they accept another counteroffer from their current company after the recruiter’s client company had offered them a new position.  

Is this person’s word to be trusted? Certainly, this is a consideration whether you are a recruiter or a hiring manager for a company.

If they answered yes, be aware! Certain precautions need to be put in place.  Find out more to fully understand the dynamics of the previous situation and mindset of the candidate.  Remember they have already made a verbal agreement that will cause most hiring managers to terminate the interviewing process and begin preparing for the new arrival.    

Suggested follow-up questions are: How lucrative was the offer? How did you handle it with the company who had just hired you? In the long-run, were you happy you made that decision?  Additionally, ask , “How long did you stay with the organization after accepting the counteroffer?  Did it impact your future advancement or opportunities with that organization? 

Jerry Land lends a professional recruiter’s script and point of view on “How to avoid a candidate accepting a counteroffer” in his blog at

Don’t be blindsided by a counteroffer acceptance two days before your new employee is supposed to be sitting in New Employee Orientation.  Be thorough.  The extra questioning up front will save a ton a regret later and stave off the unexpected check-mate!

Top performers test the waters

North Stradbroke Island_3840 A
Eight Critical Questions    

Knowing the answers to these eight questions, will save you a lot of heartache if you have a serious contender for your top job or if you have someone testing if “the grass is greener on the other side”.  These can be used in a pre-interview situation or be repeated within the first interview to gauge the reaction of the applicant. 

  1. What type of commute are you accustomed to?
  2. What are your current circumstances which have made you consider a new position?
  3. What are the reasons you’ve left position x, y and z?
  4. When did you start your search?
  5. At what interviewing stage are you at with other job opportunities?
  6. Have you received any job offers? Many applicants indicate they have job offers when they only have interviewed or applied to positions online.
  7. Have you ever accepted a position in good faith and found that when you turned in your resignation, your company made you a counter-offer?
  8. Follow-up questions for a Yes answer: How lucrative was the offer? How did you handle it with the company who had just hired you? In the long-run, were you happy you made that decision?

 If question 1 is asked of an applicant,  who “needs a job”, if a commute of 25 miles to work daily will work for them, the answer will usually be YES!  “That’s no problem!”  A question framed to be answered either yes or no, does not give you information that reflects past behavior.    When the employee quits at 6 months, the exit interviewer will ask the reason for leaving. The answer most likely will be…”the drive is too long”. Could that turnover have been avoided?

Asking about the applicant’s current and past reasons for leaving a position can reveal a number of characteristics about the applicant.  Remember, we routinely may ask this question hundreds of times, yet to the applicant this is very personal.  Be sure to ask and then listen, without interrupting.  Encouraging others by nodding or repeating phrases can help those struggling to collect their thoughts or encourage a more complete response.

 Their answer will be an immediate indicator of how well they organize and communicate thoughts regarding their personal decisions, values, and beliefs about their past performance, business relationships and company culture.  Your position may require good communication skills and presentation, so you’ve had your first glimpse at their skill level.

 Have you ever called your favorite candidate back for a second interview only to find out they just accepted another position?  Put some boundaries around your expectations before you become too hopeful about any one candidate.  By knowing up front how long they’ve searched and if they have any real or potential job offers, you can manage your interviewing schedule and expectations more effectively…and save yourself from a broken heart when you’ve fallen in love with that top candidate that was only “testing the waters.”

"Pat brings her charm, wit and insight into her advisory relationships and shares the same with her audiences. She's got the systems to back up her concepts."

- Frank Maguire FEDEX Senior Founding Executive

John Maxwell


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