Transform Your Hiring with Nancy Slessenger, Ep. 21

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In today’s episode of Just the Tips, Dean and I take a bit of a departure from the guests we’ve had on so far and get into the nitty-gritty of hiring the right people. So we called up Nancy Slessenger, founder of Vinehouse, an HR and recruitment agency. Nancy is an expert at making the workplace hum. We talk about her background as a physics grad, what brought her into the field, and she shares some amazing insights on ensuring your people are happy, productive and performing well. You won’t want to miss this.

Put a hiring system in place and leave the grind behind

One thing that every entrepreneur needs to have in place, and which Nancy is so genius at, is a good system. Whether that’s in your sales or your marketing or your HR, you need to put the effort into building a great system, rather than mindlessly grinding away. As Nancy says, you need to build a system that will make a person happy and productive and which supports them, rather than incentivizes them to slow down (like paying by the hour, etc.). Nancy has a lot of great ideas about how to build those systems, which she shares with listeners in this episode of Just the Tips.

Transform your HR and forget that pile of résumés

Right out of the gate, Nancy was calling me out for my past practices (I plead the fifth), and one of her biggest bombshells about what I was doing and what just about everyone is doing is relying on résumés or CVs to find a strong candidate. As Nancy says, “As if that isn’t a big enough waste of time, why don’t we have them write cover letters, too, so we have to read through all of those as well.” As Nancy says, many qualified candidates are “rubbish” (did I mention there are two Brits on the show today?) at writing résumés, and there are many terrible candidates who are great at it or have hired someone who is great at it. So what’s the solution? How do you throw away decades of HR tradition and fix your recruitment process? You’ll have to listen to find out.

The power of the telephone interview

While we won’t give away Nancy’s secret sauce for selecting the right candidates (you’ll have to listen for that), I was interested to learn the value that she puts in the phone interview. For everyone she hires or helps a company hire, she first does a phone interview because she says that within the first five or six minutes, you’ll know what you have on the other end of the line. Using her system, a company would know just about everything they need to know about a candidate by the time they’re through the first two phases of hiring (application and phone interview), and by the time they’re in for the final interview, you should be 80-90% sure they’re the right candidate. When I said she’s going to transform your HR, I wasn’t kidding.

The true key to transforming your HR: You’re not looking for the best candidate

One of the surprising things Nancy said in this episode of Just the Tips, that everyone gets wrong, is that you’re not looking for the best candidate. The best candidate doesn’t exist. Instead, what you’re looking for, is a candidate who fits certain criteria. So if you can outline five key criteria that you’re looking for in a position, you’ll have a much easier time finding the candidate that can do the job, regardless of whether they’re the ethereal “best” candidate. There are so many simple tips like this one that Nancy provides in this episode, you have to tune in to hear them all.

Outline of This Episode
  • [3:30] Nancy talks about how physics informed her views
  • [7:22] Where Nancy sees the most inefficiencies in hiring
  • [11:45] The right way to hire
  • [18:26] Why the phone interview is so important
  • [23:15] You’re not looking for the best candidate
  • [24:58] How to say no
  • [27:15] What is the cost of doing things the wrong way?
Resources & People Mentioned

Music for “Just The Tips” is titled, “Happy Happy Game Show” by Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

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24 episodes available. A new episode about every 6 days averaging 35 mins duration .