When Is It Really Time to Expand Your Workforce? Q&A with Staffing Advisors President Bob Corlett

40An interview with leadership development expert Alice Waagen, Workforce Learning, and Bob Corlett, president of Staffing Advisors

Photo courtesy of Bob Corlett, www.staffingadvisors.com

Bob Corlett has been in the staffing business for years, but in 2006 the president of Staffing Advisors (www.staffingadvisors.com) took a good look at his small, successful firm and realized he was struggling with some of the same symptoms his clients were: He knew he could help his clients better if he had a larger staff that could handle more of their needs.

Bob ended up hiring 6 people within 6 months.

Adding staff came at an expense — not only in terms of additional salaries but in the very nature of how he did business. Still, he knew it was the right decision.

“Search firms were too expensive for my clients, and job advertising was not working for them either. If I didn’t find a way to help my clients better staff their own companies, someone else would. Quickly, it became clear I had no real choice but to expand.”

The clever Corlett also had an ace up his sleeve: he had developed the Results-Based Hiring Process® — an approach that helped him gain control over every aspect of the staffing service.

“I could finally guarantee hiring results for all types of positions,” he says. “As a result, even in a down economy, our repeat business is booming, our marketing expenses are way down, and we are on track to double revenues and profitability again this year. Of course, now I have to hire even more people just to keep up with demand.”

Recently, Bob sat down with Alice Waagen of Workforce Learning to talk about his hallmark process and share his experience and expertise with hiring.

Alice Waagen: Bob, you use the phrase Results-Based Hiring® to describe a unique process you’ve developed. How does it differ from traditional hiring practices?

Bob Corlett: Traditional hiring focuses on qualifications, a specific job title, so many years of experience, degrees, and so on. These are resume items and do not illustrate what a person in a new position will achieve.

With Results-Based Hiring® we begin by asking an executive two basic questions about what they want from the person who gets the job.

1. A year from now, what would success look like for this person?
2. What business impact would you want his person to achieve?

Then we look for candidates who can fit those needs. Repeatedly, we have found that if you start with the business impact and lay out tangibly how success will be measured, you have a clear picture of what really matters. Everyone wins.

Alice: So you question and coach a hiring manger to get this specific information about a job before you go out and search for candidates?

Bob: Yes. Establishing the metrics is usually the hardest part, and although managers sometimes grumble about it, they end up loving this part of the process because it helps them focus on the actual results they are hoping to achieve.

Alice: I imagine that this also sets performance expectations that feed right into the performance management system.

Bob: Exactly. Top performers want clear expectations because that gives them the sense of accomplishment. What we find is that the more challenging the job, the better the candidate pool. In other words, if we post a job with clearly defined business results and expectations, it draws top performers and eliminates those who feel they are not up to the job’s challenges.

Alice: How do you look for the “soft skills” parts of the job?

Bob: Once you clarify the expected results, you can determine the skills needed to drive the results. We then identify the top three to five competencies needed to achieve the specific business impact, such as “ability to focus on the big picture” and “ability to pay close attention to detail.” We then go back and look at the expected business results and let those drive what is needed from the job candidate.

Alice: Once you have the results and competencies, what’s next?

Bob: The third, crucial piece of information is the answer to this question: “What are the unique attributes of this organization that would attract the ideal candidate?” This is the “what’s in it for them” question. If a candidate is looking at a number of organizations, why should they join this one?

Alice: To sum it up, it sounds like you look for three buckets of information:

1. What are the expected business results?
2. What specific skills are needed to achieve these results?
3. What is unique about this company?

Bob: Bingo. And after the employee joins the team, the information we have gathered to run the search feeds directly into the way the new hire’s manager should evaluate and reward success. Naturally we use this same process for our internal hiring needs and performance management. Managing performance is so much easier and more rewarding when you hire people with the right expectations.

For more information about Bob Corlett’s Results-Based Hiring Process® visit: www.staffingadvisors.com.

ABOUT Alice Waagen’s Workforce Learning

Workforce Learning LLC is a leadership development company that provides managers and C-level executives with the skills and knowledge they need to build a more productive work environment. Since founding the company in 1997, owner Alice Waagen, PhD, has developed highly effective leadership programs and coaching workshops that teach people in charge how to motivate and inspire employees. “Research shows that the single reason most organizations fail to thrive is a lack of strong people skills among those at the top,” Alice says. “We work to ensure organizations are healthy from the top down, and ultimately if an organization has happy, energized, effective employees they find it reflected in the bottom line.” For more information, visit www.workforcelearning.com.