Recruiting and Staffing

Hiring Wisdom: How to Play the Hiring Game – And How Both Sides Can Win

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It takes two teams to play the hiring game and each team has a different, but similar, objective:

  • The hiring side wants to hire the best person for the job.
  • The applicant side wants to get the best job possible.

As in professional sports, the best teams are built through aggressive recruiting and rigorous selection to meet the highest standards.

How both sides play the game

The playing field is the interview.

The ball is the job offer.

At the start of the game, the company has the ball because they control the job offer. In the first quarter, the company asks questions and the applicant answers them.

It is, of course, the objective of the applicant to get the job offer from the company. (Which can be done honestly and ethically, or, through fabrication and slight of hand. It is up to the employer to determine which.)

The teams gain or lose yardage based upon the quality of the questions asked and answers given.

In the second quarter, the applicant asks questions and the company answers, but the company still has possession of the ball

In the third quarter, the game either ends because the applicant is unsuccessful or a job offer is extended and the applicant now has the ball.

In the fourth quarter, it is the objective of the company to get the employee to accept the job offer. (Which can be done honestly and ethically or through fabrication and slight of hand. It is up to the applicant to determine which.)

Win one for the Gipper!

A preliminary win-win situation is declared when both teams agree and the job offer is accepted.

A final win-win is determined once the employee has been on board a while and the employer is happy with the person’s results and the employee is still glad to have accepted the job offer.

If the employer is unhappy with the new hire’s performance, ideally, that person will be cut from the roster and the employer will once again spend the time, money, and effort it takes to recruit and select a new player. (Unfortunately, too many employers decide to live with their hiring mistakes. This jeopardizes the company’s ability to win on the larger playing fields versus their competition.)

If the employee is unhappy (because the employer misrepresented the job or any other reason), he/she will either resign, or worse, stay on the team, but only half-heartedly, for the paycheck.

Whether you are an employer or an applicant, now that you understand the game, go on out and “win one for the Gipper!” (But do it with honesty and integrity. Anything else undermines the best efforts of both teams.)

This was originally published in the June 2012 Humetrics Hiring Hints newsletter.

Mel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring hourly employees. He has been the president of Humetrics since 1976 and has over 30 years of practical experience, research, consulting and professional speaking work to his credit. Contact him at mkleiman@humetrics.com.
  • http://twitter.com/sparkhire SparkHire.com

    Really great post, love the comparison of hiring to a game with two “teams.” In your example, the interview process is the main part of the game and one of the most important aspects for both the hiring and applicant teams. SparkHire.com realizes how important the interview game really is, which is why we want to make it easier for both teams to connect and find great people through the use of online video solutions. In the “perfect game” hiring managers and applicants both win when there’s a perfect match, and we hope video interviews make this outcome easier to come by.