The hiring process. Believe it or not, there is an art to it. So to touch on the topic at hand, I reached out the ultra-successful Tom Herman for his insights. Not familiar with Tom’s work or his role in the 2001 documentary Startup.com? Let’s check out his bio for a little background information before we begin.
“Tom has over 15 years of start-up experience leading technical strategy, software architecture, fundraising and international mergers and acquisitions. Previously, Mr. Herman served as the COO and Vice President for Product Strategy at JumpTV (TSE:NLN), the world’s largest online television broadcaster and a KIT Capital portfolio company. In his role at JumpTV, he was responsible for building out JumpTV’s New York City offices, setting up off-shore engineering resources, CRM systems, and launching versions 2.0 and 3.0 of JumpTVʼs video broadcasting products. He was also responsible for all of JumpTV’s online marketing initiatives including SEO, SEM, affiliate marketing, and social networking strategies. Tom has also served as VP of Product Marketing for ooVoo Inc., an IP video conferencing company focused on social video networking and mobile video chat. Prior to co-founding Recognition Group, Tom was the co-founder, and Chief Technology Officer of govWorks, Inc., a NY-based company that pioneered the global e-government marketplace. The govWorks transaction-processing middleware products web-enable state and local government transactions such as traffic infractions and tax payments, business and recreational permit applications, government records retrieval and voter registration. Under Mr. Herman’s guidance, the firm designed, built, and launched the proprietary e-commerce payment engine to serve the $500 billion municipal payments market and a government resource portal rated “Best of the Best” by Forbes Magazine. Mr. Herman graduated from Bates College with a degree in Psychology and Computer Science.”
The Case: Candidate Engagement
Hiring and landing the right candidates, along with the lovely interview process ceremony can be a delicate road to travel. So many hiring management leaders unknowingly handle the process in a way that allows candidates to lose interest in the position or they simply don’t engage with the candidate enough to make an informed decision. So how can management help facilitate these issues to help them land the talent they prefer? Let’s take a look at what Tom does to make the right hire.
Top Quality Talent: “I look for problem solving skills, interpersonal skills, intellectual honesty, and being able to get past the superficial buzzwords. I want to make sure they actually understand and actually know what they’re talking about,” Tom mentioned when discussing what he looks for in bringing in top talent.
I really enjoy the way he analyzes the candidates. So many times with interviews, buzzwords are often overused and although they sound flashy, the ingredients aren’t often dissected. When understanding how the candidate thinks and operates, you get to really dive in to what they’re all about.
Engagement: Many times during the hiring process, the candidate feels lost, stranded on an island somewhere just waiting for someone to update them on the heart of the matter. What’s important is keeping them engaged and active so they don’t lose interest in the position.
“I like to give them tasks to complete. They can be tactical or practical tests that test their skills. It can be anything from writing a one page strategy doc on how to do a situation and I’ll have them write about it and lay it out. Sometimes I’ll give them 30 minutes to complete it in a different room or it can be a few days or a week,” Tom said regarding engaging the candidates.
You don’t want the candidates (especially the ones that are at the top of your list) to wonder off elsewhere. Keep them engaged. Make them think. Don’t let them lose that thrill they had when they applied!
Personalization: I’m a big believer in personalizing the hiring process with candidate engagement. When applying for jobs, candidates often feel that they are sending their resumes into a big black hole, which as Tom says, “Is the reality of the hiring process.”
So what can you do to personalize the experience and make the candidate feel even more engaged, as well as helping you find out more about them, too? Get creative and as the ‘ol cliché goes, “go outside the box.” One simple solution is to give all candidates you’re interested in a list of questions that will assist in recognizing their way of thinking, thought process, and skill set.
“I like to give the candidates a set of common questions and see how they answer them. It’s an easy way to find out more into their thought process and how they are on a personal level, ” Tom said.
Sound simple? Sure. But by giving candidates that you’re interested in a set of questions, it really breaks down their knowledge and examines what they can essentially bring to the table. It doesn’t even have to be specifically related to the position. You can give them a list of 10 questions about what their interests are, outside activities, favorite movies, what initially drew them in to the profession, etc….The key is to make them feel wanted and still have that excitement about the position pouring through their veins.
The Clark Review: It was great speaking with Tom Herman and gaining his insights. I have been a huge fan of his professionally for over ten years now, so to pick his brain was a tremendous asset. We live in a time where it’s easy to overlook the little aspects that matter most. We’re here to evolve, help one another out, and strive to be better at what we do and who we are. It’s time that we put our best foot forward and make sure that we hold no excuse out the window. Let’s make it happen!