This column is part of Globe Careers' Leadership Lab series, where executives and experts share their views and advice about leadership and management. Follow us at @Globe_Careers. Find all Leadership Lab stories at tgam.ca/leadershiplab
Hiring the right leadership team is one of the single most important aspects of running an organization.
Now more than ever, talent is the main strategic differentiator between you and your competition. At Intuit Canada, we focus heavily on finding and cultivating the right talent to ensure that we are able to adapt, innovate and provide the best products to our customers.
So, what does it take to hire great leaders?
Here are the three things that I do to ensure that our organization recruits the best in the business:
Learn from the best
When thinking about the type of talent you want on your leadership team, take the time to consider other companies and corporate cultures that you admire. To find the best people, you should be thinking about what those companies do right. What allows them to hire top talent? Do they have unique employee programs that make them stand out from the pack? Are they providing growth opportunities that others don't?
At Intuit, we're not entirely there yet, but we've been looking at other best practices like Amazon's "bar-raiser" program, which supports the old adage that B-players hire C-players, but A-players only hire other A-players. We need to put our best employees on interview panels and give them an extra vote in the final decision about a candidate. Moreover, A-players are an excellent source for great employees; ask yours who the best people in their field are and figure out how to get them into your organization.
Reimagine the interview process
An important part of hiring great leaders is adapting your interview process to make sure you're getting the information you need to make the right decision.
First, define what an ideal candidate for a particular role looks like and ensure the whole team is aligned. Then limit the size of your interview panel to four or five of your best people. The more people your candidate interviews with the longer the hiring cycle and the harder it will be to find the right person. The very best candidates will want to join an organization already staffed by the best and brightest.
Next, rather than ask candidates about how they've handled situations in the past, shift the focus of your interviews to test their actual craft and assess how they see they can benefit your organization. Focusing on their capabilities and how they'll fit into the role will yield better insights that will help you make a more educated decision.
Finally, if you want to hire great leaders, you should be in the interview room with them from day one, rather than coming in later. That's how you take full responsibility for your decision and guarantee a cohesive process.
Sell your culture
When it comes to hiring great leaders, remember that the interview process is a two-way street. If you want to attract the top talent in your industry, go beyond asking questions and start thinking about how you'll sell your company and culture. Remember, many of the best candidates may not be actively looking to move, so you may have to convince them you have the right opportunity. Provide a better sense of what sets your company apart from the pack and, more importantly, ensure that the leaders you hire are a good fit for your culture.
For example, an important part of our culture at Intuit is the We Care and Give Back program. It encompasses one of our main operating values: make it easy for employees to give back to their communities through allowing 32 hours of company time for volunteering. I promote this part of our culture to prospective hires during interviews because I want to attract people who share our values and find a program like this appealing.
Hiring great leaders is critical to the success of your business. And having the best leadership will affect all levels of the organization. Take the time to assess your recruitment strategy and see how you can be doing things better to ensure you have the right people by your side.