Search Savvy: Take time to self-evaluate

Mar 01, 2013

This article first appeared in The Zweig Letter (ISSN 1068-1310) Issue # 997 Originally published 3/4/2013 HR, recruiting and hiring teams also need to take a critical look at their operations, so make use of the form below. Sometimes it helps to just STOP for a moment, don’t you think? Just sit down and start grading the things we do? Someone once said: “True genius resides in the unfiltered capacity for self-evaluation.” I agree with that sentiment. Truth is: There’s nothing quite like some good old fashion “self-evaluation” to really get teams calibrated on the things that must be improved in our various enterprises. Certainly, this is true in the recruiting and selection enterprise. I could probably make a pretty good case as to why this is especially true for recruiting and selection, but that’s not the aim of this article. The aim of this article is to demonstrate how you might effectively and honestly evaluate the two unified but separate entities that are likely involved in your firm’s talent selection activities: 1) The HR/recruiting team; 2) The hiring team. Let’s face it – the hiring process is highly detailed and complex. It can be fraught with all sorts of problems: logistical problems, technical problems, communication problems, process breakdowns, etc. Perhaps your recruiters don’t know how to find the best people. Or, if they find them, perhaps they don’t know how to adequately screen them? Alternatively, perhaps your hiring managers are sluggish and distracted in the selection process. Perhaps they don’t communicate well with your HR team. Whatever the problems, in most cases the core issue is that companies simply have not set in place the tactics and practices necessary to effectively hire top talent. Instead, the selection process is patchwork of elements that everyone sort of hopes will just “fall into place” when a candidate comes along. They’re not thoughtful, efficient nor effective in many cases. And worse yet, nobody really feels too badly about it (hence the self-evaluation). So take this little exercise if you really want to be confronted with where the problems are. Grade the “HR/recruiting team” and the “Hiring team” segments honestly (yes, be sure to grade your OWN team as well!). Rate the competencies under each team’s segment from 1 to 5, with a 5 being fantastic and 1 being… well, not so fantastic. Add your scores to see how well your teams are doing and where the problem areas are. Are your problems evenly distributed across both teams… or does one team seem to be particularly problematic? Be sure to share your results across both teams. EVALUATION FORM HR/RECRUITING TEAM Competency: 1) The speed/effectiveness of getting positions posted m 1 = poor m 2 m 3 m 4 m 5 = fantastic (Consider length of time to market positions to candidates, and accuracy of descriptions) 2) The speed/effectiveness by which candidates are presented m 1 m 2 m 3 m 4 m 5 (Consider how quickly and effectively candidates are presented after the search begins) 3) The quality of the candidates presented m 1 m 2 m 3 m 4 m 5 (Consider how closely candidate résumés match the requirements of the job) 4) Overall management of a consistent selection process m 1 m 2 m 3 m 4 m 5 (Consider HR effectiveness in coordinating/communicating interviews, meetings, next steps, etc.) 5) The speed/effectiveness by which offers are developed/extended m 1 m 2 m 3 m 4 m 5 (How quickly does HR draft/extend offers when requested? How effective are HR negotiations?) HIRING TEAM Competency: 1) The level of collaboration with HR in developing/approving position descriptions m 1 m 2 m 3 m 4 m 5 (How well do hiring teams collaborate with HR in building competent job profiles?) 2) The speed at which presented candidates are reviewed and feedback is given to HR m 1 m 2 m 3 m 4 m 5 (Do hiring teams provide candidate feedback within 48- to 72 hours, maximum?) 3) Inappropriate hiring manager bias in résumé reviews/candidate interviews m 1 m 2 m 3 m 4 m 5 (Do hiring teams bring unfair/unrealistic predispositions to the overall selection process?) 4) Overall cooperation/compliance with the stipulated selection process m 1 m 2 m 3 m 4 m 5 (Do hiring teams act in a “rogue” manner? Do they adhere to defined process steps faithfully?) 5) The speed at which an offer decision is made for a particular candidate m 1 m 2 m 3 m 4 m 5 (Do hiring teams maintain adequate momentum toward offer/closure of the selection process?) (Are offer parameters realistic and equitable?) Jeremy Clarke is the director of executive search consulting with ZweigWhite. Contact him at

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Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.