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The position profile
To begin, we interview decision makers from your company who have a direct interest in the position being filled. These important questions, among others, need to be answered:
How do you define and measure successful performance in this position?
What results must be achieved, and within what time period?
What are your company’s critical core values?
We then develop an in-depth position profile that describes the duties and responsibilities of the job and helps quantify your corporate culture.
Since individuals with the desired qualities usually are not actively looking, we must seek out and identify candidates who have established records of achievement and success in fields related to yours.
During the recruiting phase we thoroughly interview and screen all prospects to determine their strengths and limitations, and conduct comprehensive reference checks with former supervisors to evaluate on-the-job performance. In the process, we learn about a candidate’s accomplishments and how those experiences relate to your needs. If we recommend that a candidate be interviewed, it means that we have gone way beyond resume window dressing to qualify the prospect.
Conveying the offer
Our role in negotiating and conveying the offer becomes most critical in the offering phase, when we must resolve issues like these: Are there any problems involving relocation? Is the spouse in favor of the move to a new job? Are there problems with children’s health care or education? Will the candidate’s current employer tempt him with a counter offer to remain?
We don't believe in conveying an offer unless we know in advance that it will be accepted. This strategy eliminates the candidates who may be using the process simply to leverage their current position. As intermediaries, we remove the obstacles and nurture a win-win environment.
Transition and beyond
Finally, we stay with you all the way through the transition phase and beyond. The traumas of resignation, counter offers, relocating and starting a new job can be mitigated when we prepare candidates for these changes.
We not only know how to uncover the best of the best -- we know what it takes to complete all three phases of a search successfully.
The demand for executives and professionals has never been greater, and top talent is in very short supply. To maximize your chances of hiring the very best candidates, we must become partners throughout the entire search process.
What motivates candidates to change
First, top prospects must be motivated to make a change. Are they looking for a mentor? Is staff support important? Do they crave opportunity for promotion? Are lifestyle issues compelling? Is it only money? Together, we must uncover the attractions you offer and find the best way to market them to the needs of each recruited candidate. You must be prepared to sell your opportunity as passionately as you sell your product or service.
As you know, candidates we present to you are not generally looking to change. They agree to meet with you because (a) we have found out why they would be motivated to investigate a career move, and (b) we have shown them compelling reasons to consider your opportunity. Once we ignite their curiosity in your company, the warmth of their interest intensifies through progressive interviews.
White heat
With your full participation in the recruiting process, their interest turns to enthusiasm and ultimately glows with what we call the "white heat" of desire.
There are many reasons why the white heat is generated. We are all forthright with candidates and give them timely, straight answers. We construct a predictable interview process that conveys your respect for their time and your ability to meet deadlines. It is best if, within 24 hours of the first interview, you set a second meeting to take place within two to five days. It is important that candidates know what to expect and when to expect it. If you fail to meet your commitments, candidates lose interest.
Our partnership with you
To maintain the "white heat" of candidate enthusiasm, our partnership also means that your XEC Solutions Account Executive will work closely with your primary decision making team. We make ourselves available at any time to move the process forward. Likewise, we must have access to the decision makers who will motivate a candidate to join your company. That teamwork is especially critical when it is time to convey an offer. We will share insights into the candidate’s needs to help you craft an offer that will be accepted.
As your partner, we will make the search process rewarding for you and the executives and professionals we place with you.
This incisive tool will help you identify the core values of your company and its work environment. In addition, you will learn how to measure the ways these values are being met. As a result, you will have a very useful method to help determine the compatibility of candidates you are considering for hire.
What are core values?
Chances are you enjoy working at your company because the environment is in harmony with personal and job values that are important to you. Values, unlike goals, are not directly measurable. For example, "generating $10 million per year in sales from new products" is a directly measurable goal. On the other hand, "we encourage creativity" can be a core value. This value is meaningless, however, unless you can cite specific behaviors or situations in your company that show what you do to encourage creativity.
Here are some examples of values and how they might be measured.
There is synergy in working together.
Work should be a continuous learning experience.
Contentment at home means a more productive employee at work.
The job comes first. Our window of opportunity for success is limited, and we must do all we can before it is gone.
Exceptional achievement should be recognized and rewarded.
We don’t care how many hours you work as long as the job gets done.
How we meet these values
Sales presentations are done in teams, including service techs, sales reps and managers.
Employees are rotated to different jobs and reimbursed 100% for continuing education.
We pay full family health benefits and provide on-premise childcare.
Everyone works like a dog. If we reach our achievable goals, we will all get very rich.
Our detailed job descriptions all include measurable goals and incentives tied to reaching those goals.
Dress casually, bring your dog to work, late night pizza is on us; Just Do It!
Finding your own critical corporate values
Now, find out what your core values are and how you demonstrate that they are taken seriously. On the next page entitled "Our Company’s Values-Random Order," brainstorm the values that you believe fuel your corporate engine. In this part of the process, anything goes—there are no wrong answers.
When you have finished brainstorming, go to the next page called "Our Company’s Values Ranked in Order of Importance." On the left side, list your brainstormed values in order of importance, with #1 being most important. Now for the most critical part of the exercise.
Next to each item, write down what you observe that tells you that that value is being met
Once you have established your core values, direct your interview questions to identify behaviors that imply that the candidate shares your values. For example, if you believe that "there is synergy in working together," ask the candidate to describe how he managed his last project and what interface he had with others in reaching his goals.
Increasing Your Chances of Finding the Best Candidate
The Superior Performance Profile is a major departure from the conventional wisdom that guides the creation of most job descriptions. Normally, job descriptions are a statement of the obvious (e.g. a sales manager will "assist his sales staff service existing accounts and develop new accounts in the region"), followed by a list of "requirements" that arbitrarily set some minimum levels of experience and education that will establish a safe zone for the hiring manager.
Unfortunately, these job descriptions emphasize the work to be done, not the person who is qualified to do it. The selection process then concentrates on what the hiring manager thinks candidates must "have" to get the job, instead of what candidates must "do" once they are on the job.
We have a different philosophy. We believe that to find superior candidates, you must first define superior performance. Rather than making a list of requirements you think are needed, determine what results you expect from a top performer. Then, finding the right candidate means finding someone who can show, through similar experience, that he or she can deliver the results that are most important to you—results that define superior performance.
Start the process by asking yourself questions like these:
What are the three most important duties of this job?
What tasks or challenges have the highest priority? When do I want them completed?
What objectives have I set for this new hire in the first 3-6 months? What obstacles are there to achieving them?
What is the #1 result I want in the first 12 months?
When you have answered these kinds of questions, you will have a clear understanding of what you expect the new hire to accomplish. Now you can structure an interview that focuses on finding the best candidate—that is, the one who can demonstrate, through past experience, that they can reach the objectives that you have outlined. With this shift in strategy, you will:
Focus on your real needs, without having to rely on imagined requirements.
Communicate your needs clearly to potential recruits.
Simplify the interviewing process by uncovering candidates’ achievements that indicate that they can deliver the results you expect.
Hire someone who clearly understands what is expected of them.
Emotional Control
Using the Superior Performance Profile effectively means that you must fight the natural tendency to be influenced by first impressions. When you meet a candidate, set aside your initial impression for 30 minutes. We all know that, when you get to know someone and their abilities more thoroughly, first impressions can often prove meaningless.
Write out a patterned interview to be sure that you are covering the same salient points with all candidates. Probe their answers by asking follow up questions that expose their real contributions to the accomplishments they claim, and what obstacles they overcame to reach their goals. That will give you a chance to get into the candidate’s accomplishments that relate to your performance objectives and focus on how well the candidate can do the job and provide the results you expect.
Ultimately, which is more important to you—that you find people who can meet all of your requirements, or find people who can deliver the results you need? The Superior Performance profile will deliver results!

Over the years, many of our clients have asked us for suggestions on the best way to interview job candidates. While effective interviewing is something of an art as well as a science, there are some easy-to-follow techniques and procedures you can use to improve your interviewing skills. Here are some of them, which we've culled from our experience and the questions our clients most frequently ask.
How to use your time most effectively.
Lets face it. Hiring is disruptive, time consuming and stressful. Interviews invariably throw you off schedule. Worse, if the process gets stretched out over a period of weeks, your recollections of the first people you interviewed are vague, and the best candidate may have taken another job.
Try this: Block out time -- an afternoon or whole day -- to conduct initial screening interviews of several candidates. Shut out all interruptions and limit your interviews to 45 minutes. That way you can make immediate comparisons and save the lengthy "Cook's Tour" for the one or two finalists.
How to tell which is the best candidate.
Interviewing is an inexact art because judging the talents and abilities of people is very subjective. And when you add personal chemistry, value matching and motivation to the formula for finding the right person, the selection process can become downright intimidating.
Approach the process without too many preconceived ideas of the "successful candidate." There is no magic in "a minimum of 5 years experience" or a certain kind of degree. They are only artificial benchmarks that serve to complicate the process with criteria that may not be necessary or even relevant.
Try this: Focus on the job duties and the find someone who can perform them. Sounds too easy? Follow these simple steps:
1. Make a list of all the duties of the job.
2. Select the three duties with the highest priorities.
3. Ask each candidate the same questions to identify the person who can
perform those duties most effectively, based on their experience.
Achieving your interview objectives.
You must accomplish three objectives in an initial interview within a limited time period. Try to limit your first interview to one hour.
1. Uncover the experience that qualifies the candidate who can do your job.
2. Evaluate the personal values of the candidate to match your company's
3. Sell the candidate on the opportunity with your company.
That's why it's so important to know what you are going to ask in the first interview, and to be sure that you maintain consistency by covering the same ground with all of the candidates.
The patterned interview.
Before you meet any candidates, write down a series of questions about professional experience, technical knowledge and career accomplishments you wish to know about each person. Have them typed (leave space between questions to write in answers) and duplicate the form. A sample patterned interview can be found at the end of this section.
Some Good Questions to Ask.
With your patterned interview sheet in hand, you should be able to get the basic information you want from each candidate. When you want a candidate to clarify or elaborate on a response to reveal initiative, motivation, attitude or management/organizational skills, here are some follow-on questions that might help.
Initiative Questions
1. What career accomplishments are you most proud of?
2. How do you feel about being closely (or loosely) supervised?
3. What did you dislike about your most recent job?
4. What did you do to change it?
Motivation Questions
1. What are your goals for the next two years? Next five years?
2. What have you done to continue your education that is related to your
3. What does "job security" mean to you?
Attitude Questions
1. What job values are important to you?
2. What do you think of your most recent boss?
3. How do you feel about working with a deadline?
Management/Organization Skills
1. What is your supervisory style?
2.Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a marginal employee. How
did you discipline him/her? What was the outcome?
3. What positions have you held in trade, professional, civic or charitable
DON'T DISCUSS MONEY on the first interview unless you are ready to hire at that time. You don’t want to give the impression that the candidate’s compensation requirements are more important than what he or she can contribute to your company. Discuss compensation AFTER you've determined that a candidate CAN DO THE JOB, and you are interested in making an offer.
Selling your company and job opportunity.
If you like what you've heard in an interview, be sure the candidate leaves enthusiastic about the opportunity with your company. Whether you intend to make an offer immediately or will need to refer the candidate to others for additional interviews, don't assume that candidates are ready to take your job! If you like this person, chances are other employers will be favorably impressed also, so you need to highlight the benefits of working for you.
Try this: Emphasize positive points relating to your industry, company, position and job environment and values.
1.Industry -- What are the forecasts for growth in your industry? How about
industry stability? Is it a cyclical industry?
2.Company -- How does your company compare with your competitors? What
was your growth for the past 3-5 years? What are your projections for the
next 3 years? How will those goals be achieved?
3.Position -- If the position is available because of a recent promotion or
company growth, that's an important selling point. What will the candidate
gain in career growth? What is the visibility of this position and its impact on
the company?
4.Job environment and values -- What are your corporate values? What
tangible evidence is there that your corporate values are being
demonstrated? Describe your physical facilities.
Decision time.
There is no such thing as the "perfect candidate." That's why it's so vital to remain focused on the critical job duties throughout the interviewing process. As soon as the interview is concluded, while the meeting is fresh in your mind, summarize and write down your thoughts about the candidate.
Try this: Prepare a simple balance sheet to record your reactions. Headline the left side "Reasons for Hiring" and the right side "Reasons for Concern." Don't be surprised if the person you like best doesn't seem to fit your original idea of what you wanted. In fact, that kind of conclusion may indicate that you successfully established your real needs and made the best use of the interviewing process.
A final word of caution. The best candidates have several options – only one of which is joining your company. When you find a person you like, cut the red tape to accelerate the hiring process. Unnecessary delays often send the wrong signal to a candidate. If your best prospect becomes disenchanted and loses interest, then your screening time and skilled interview techniques have been wasted. Then it's back to "Become A Great Interviewer!"
On your form, leave space after each question to enter the candidate's
1. Describe your last three years of work experience. What were your
2. The three most important duties we want you to perform are :
What experience have you had that would qualify you to perform these tasks?
3. What other background or experience have you had that would be useful to
our company?
1. What career accomplishments are you most proud of?
2. How can those achievements be translated to our company's benefit?
3. What suggestions did you make at your last job to improve company
1.What personal goals did you set when you took your last job?
2.How well did you accomplish them?
3.How do you feel about working with deadlines?
1. What are your outside interests?
2. Tell me about your greatest career disappointment?
3. Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a major confrontation with a