The Hiring Prophecies: Psychology behind Recruiting Successful Employees: A milewalk Business Book

The Hiring Prophecies: Psychology behind Recruiting Successful Employees: A milewalk Business Book

by Andrew LaCivita


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The Hiring Prophecies: Psychology behind Recruiting Successful Employees: A milewalk Business Book by Andrew LaCivita

A ten-year study by milewalk, which included more than ten thousand employees and two hundred companies, surfaced the hidden reasons why employers have difficulty hiring and retaining top talent.

A job candidate's often faulty decision-making approach coupled with short-term emotions and other external influencers exacerbate an already-systemic issue regarding how employers evaluate job seekers. Companies will struggle with these challenges until they fully understand and account for the real reasons they have difficulty recruiting the right resources.

In The Hiring Prophecies: Psychology behind Recruiting Successful Employees, a milewalk Business Book, learn a proven recruitment methodology that counteracts these ever-present challenges when evaluating job candidates. Once employers understand and implement the methods that address the true predictors of recruiting and retention success, they will be on their way to hiring employees who stay!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781504331821
Publisher: Balboa Press
Publication date: 05/04/2015
Pages: 202
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.63(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Hiring Prophecies

Psychology behind Recruiting Successful Employees

By Andrew LaCivita

Balboa Press

Copyright © 2015 Andrew LaCivita
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5043-3180-7


Great Questions Lead to Great Answers

A little about you and me.

As we dive into the evolution of these concepts, I think it's important that we discuss you and me. I assume you are someone who cares greatly about hiring and keeping the right people in your organization. Regardless of your particular job function, whether you are the chief executive officer, human resources director, recruiter, or simply someone who interviews prospective employees, you'd like to improve the health of your working environment by securing employment of the people who fit best into your company.

For the last twenty-eight years, I've served as a consultant to more than two hundred companies, helping them improve various business-, technology-, and employment-related issues. Throughout my career, I've interviewed and helped more than eleven thousand people with their careers. For more than the last decade, I've focused primarily on executive search activities, helping prominent organizations recruit the best employee talent. I've dedicated my life to helping companies and people realize their potential.

Accidents and Necessity aren't the only parents of new invention.

In 2004, I decided I needed to make a career change—one where my daily acts would greatly influence people and their lives. I could think of no greater service than to help individuals improve their careers. I decided that creating an executive search firm—milewalk—was my vehicle in which to do this.

As I made this career pivot to recruitment executive, it struck me that companies and recruitment professionals seemed very focused on the transaction of hiring as the end result—as if the hire alone would fix the "problem." While people or companies might not claim this outlook, the means by which most approach recruitment often leads them down this thorny path.

As is often the case when you are standing in the intersection of "I Need Them Now" Street and "Hurry Up and Hire Them" Avenue, a bus hits you. I wanted to take a different approach. So, I decided to get out of the intersection and take a walk all the way down to "Collect Your Gold Watch" Court.

I wanted to know: What do companies and employees ultimately want? I wanted to know: How would they get what they want? The answer was as simple, as it was ignored by so many. Companies wanted employees they could retain and realize a great return on their investment in them. Employees wanted to join a company they could call home for a sustained period of time. If retention was the Holy Grail that both parties sought, then why, during their initial courtship, didn't these parties behave in a manner that would result in this?

If I could see the future, I'd always be right.

Determining what the employer and employee wanted was not difficult. Figuring out a method that would, with great certainty, put these parties on a path to successfully achieving it was a different story. I was in search of a way to predict the future—one that resulted in a retained, successful relationship for both.

I've discovered (my tongue placed fully in my cheek), there are a couple of ways to "predict" the future. One is to simply pick a desirable, current moment in time and work backwards. (I guess that is cheating, but it's partly what I did.) Review the current result and map it backward until you fully understand what occurred in the past to yield this present-day result!

Another technique, one I leaned very heavily on, is to identify questions that must be absolute occurrences for an outcome to become reality. For me, there were four distinct questions that needed to be addressed for an employer and employee to realize a long-standing, successful relationship.

• Will the candidate actually leave his or her current employer to join the new company?

• Is the candidate the right fit for the company?

• Is the company the right fit for the candidate?

• Will the candidate remain at the company for a sustained period of time?

There is an interesting, often overlooked point regarding these questions that I'll address later, when we cover the adjustments an employer can make to improve the recruitment process. When recruiting a job candidate, the first question I cited should, in fact, be addressed first because if the answer to that question is no, the remaining questions become irrelevant. As obvious as that statement is, many companies ignore this concept and spend a great deal of time and resources interviewing candidates they ultimately won't be able to recruit. I think one of the greatest contributors to that fact is that companies generally are more focused on screening candidates for their skills as they ignore the other, more critical predictors of retention success. Keep in mind, a good recruitment structure not only effectively screens and hires the strongest candidates, but also spends the least amount of time with unrecruitable candidates.

A this ain't ...

Using those four questions as the basis of my investigation, I set out to solve this puzzle using various qualitative and quantitative techniques. As we progress through the book, I think you'll find it more valuable to spend the majority reviewing the results of the discovery and the improvements you can make as opposed to covering in great detail the algorithms I used to draw conclusions. Even so, I think it's appropriate to share, at a high-level, the type of information gathered.

I'd also add that it's not my intent to justify this analysis as a means to prove the conclusions. I think that as you review the results, you'll agree there is merit to them. It's simply my hope to surface a comprehensive means to help your company secure and keep the top talent by implementing the most thoughtful, inclusive recruitment approach.

Another critical point to note is that addressing the four questions led me to draw conclusions to shape three major tenets—matching, decision-making, and communication—that ultimately need to be addressed during the recruitment process to ensure success. We'll spend the majority of this book covering these three areas.

As the starting point, I began with the end in mind: retention. I designated a successful, sustained employer-employee relationship as the ultimate goal for both parties. I then used one of the techniques I mentioned previously—find a successful, current point in time (successful employee-employer relationships) and map it backward until you fully understand what occurred to yield the desirable, present-day results. I thought if I could determine statistically what the correlations and dependencies were that predicted these longstanding, successful relationships, then I'd know which areas to evaluate during the recruitment process to determine whether the job candidate and employer were a good match for each other!

In this case, I'm referring to predictive criteria that you can apply universally across companies. Certainly, the company and individual can set the specific definition within each of these criteria, but I was seeking the overarching criteria that needed to be evaluated to determine whether the job candidate and employee were a good match for each other.

To aid in identifying this criteria, I built an analytics model in 2005 that I used to capture data (including to this present day). I gathered information from job-candidate interviews, post-placement observation, as well as interviews with employees and their employers—essentially mining survey-like data from these interviews and observations. I combined the results of that data with additional insight I gathered from interviews I conducted with individuals in human resources, recruiting, and other hiring capacities at more than 120 small to large organizations. This occurred between 2005–2013, which is noteworthy because that nine-year span included both strong and weak employment market years.

From that information, I drew conclusions regarding areas that would likely predict a successful relationship. Please keep in mind, the intent originally and still is today to use that information and tool to help develop an overall framework that allows all of us to make better hiring decisions. It never was, nor do I ever intend it to be, a tool to tell anyone how to blindly make recruitment decisions. We are dealing with humans in these cases, and there are entirely too many variables to control.

Once I developed this model, gathered the data, and drew conclusions, I felt confident I surfaced the key areas to evaluate to determine whether an employer and a job candidate were a great match for each other. Even so, simply because the two were a good match for each other does not guarantee the employer will be successful in recruiting the job candidate. Why not? Because the job candidate needs to make a decision to leave his or her current employer before that new union can be formed.

Decisions, decisions, decisions ...

This rather obvious necessity was a bit more difficult to address. Before I get to that, I'd like to offer some of the greatest mindset hurdles we need to overcome. These hurdles are the very reasons many corporations, third-party recruiters, and job candidates make poor choices regarding their hiring and career choices.

When I became a recruiter and was learning the craft, I spoke with many organizations and recruitment firm owners regarding how they approached that "transaction" of hiring. It was immediately obvious to me (which essentially means I was hesitant because few, if any, seemed to see it the way I did) that both parties were focused on the hire or job change as a moment in time. That is, everyone seemed to understand that the job candidate had to make a choice to leave her current company to join the new one (perhaps theirs), but the reasons that both parties focused on seemed to be very current-day issues. This seemed very contrary to my retention goal.

For example, when I spoke to the job candidates, it was very easy for them to surface issues they had with their current situation such as, "I don't like my boss," or "My commute is too far," or "I'm not learning any new skills." Corporations and other third-party recruiters seemed to want to know these issues as well simply to determine whether the job candidate would leave her current employer.

Of course, this is a necessity in order for a hiring company to successfully recruit a job candidate. It's not, however, the most effective way to determine whether the job candidate will ultimately stay at the new company! You need to look deeper to determine whether there exists a greater likelihood the job candidate will turn into a successful employee. You also need to improve your present-day approach—on both sides—to ensure you are making a great long-term decision.

That word—decision—stuck with me. You know which employees stay? The ones who are the right match stay. You know which employees stay? The ones who make thoughtful, long-term decisions because their decision-making process is an effective one! Even so, job candidates and employers alike ignore this.

Employers think because they inquire about the candidates' thought processes and rationales for their job transitions that they're eliciting information regarding how the candidate thinks. This is nonsense. Simply because the candidate had a sound reason to move at some point in time does not mean the candidate has an effective job-changing decision process. It only means that the job candidate changed jobs at that time for something you consider a "rational" reason. You know the ones I am speaking about: "I was getting a better opportunity to learn new skills," "My husband relocated cities with his job," and so forth. These all sound nice, but the job candidate probably used one of these worst decision-making techniques called moral algebra (more on this later), in which she used the relativity of "pros and cons" or "this is better than that" to determine which one to choose at the time. I can speak to the probability of this because I have interviewed more than eleven thousand people, and virtually every one of them has defaulted to this technique.

I determined that if I understood how people made the job-changing decision, I could develop an approach that would increase the likelihood they would make a good job-changing decision. During 2006, I spent the entire year gathering data via surveys, interviewing job candidates, and speaking with psychologists to learn how people make decisions. How did they approach buying a car? How did they approach buying a house? How did they determine where to live? I wanted insight so I could apply effective decision-making techniques to job-changing.

I discovered that people change jobs much like they buy houses and cars. It's also highly emotional, even though many unsuccessfully attempt to use techniques aimed at making the decision process more objective. This evaluation related to their decision-making technique proved extremely useful in designing a more effective job-changing approach, which we'll review.

You might be wondering why I'm so concerned for the employer regarding the candidate's approach to job-changing. I would hope it's obvious that the employer wants to help the candidate make a sound decision because it's one that will greatly affect the health of its organization. There are some minor adjustments you can make to your recruitment process to ensure this happens.

I'd also hope that employers care more about the long-standing relationship they are attempting to secure. Recognize that simply because a prospective employee doesn't have an effective job-changing strategy doesn't mean that person wouldn't be a fantastic employee. Each person, throughout his or her career, is faced with these types of emotional decisions infrequently. The decision is also clouded by a host of other factors in their lives. Here's the worst part: even if someone has an effective decision-making technique, it doesn't ensure he or she will make a good decision. Why not?

Know what I'm sayin'?

Let's think about this. You have a job candidate interviewing for a position at your company. The fact that she is sitting in front of you is an indication that you think, based on her resume, she is qualified. If she were not, why would you invite her for an interview?

You have decided she is the perfect match for your company. Her decision-making process is strong. What can possibly go wrong during the recruitment process? This conundrum became so frustrating that in 2011, I wrote an entire book to address it.

It became apparent to me that regardless of the job candidate's fit or whether she approached the job transition in an effective manner, nothing could overcome poor communication between the two parties. I'm not speaking of individuals who are inarticulate. This issue is pervasive for the greatest of orators and the most well-designed recruitment processes.

In order to support an effective decision-making approach, the job candidate needs accurate information to feed that approach. That means the candidate needs accurate and complete information without gaps in data. Employers, in turn, need all accurate information as well. Companies, however, have handicapped themselves by the very nature in which they recruit. It's all too common to see recruitment in a compressed timeframe being performed by untrained interviewers who are armed with poorly designed (if designed at all) questions.

Even if the process is well designed, you still have basic, human elements present in all of us. In Interview Intervention: Communication That Gets You Hired, I submitted that the candidate's attainment of the job is largely contingent on three often-undetectable success factors:

• The candidate's ability to effectively articulate her qualifications and potential contributions (encoding)

• The interviewer's ability to accurately interpret the candidate's qualifications (decoding)

• The interviewer's capacity to remember the candidate (memory)

The reality is that the candidate has a greater chance of failing the interview because of a misrepresentation or misinterpretation than she does a lack of qualification. Analogously, the employer is also at risk of losing a strong candidate or making a poor hiring decision because of similar misinterpretations.


Excerpted from The Hiring Prophecies by Andrew LaCivita. Copyright © 2015 Andrew LaCivita. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Introduction A State of Affairs to Forget, xv,
Part One The Evolution, 1,
Chapter 1 Great Questions Lead to Great Answers, 3,
Part Two The Discovery, 15,
Chapter 2 Hatched, Matched, and Not Dispatched, 17,
Part Three The Implementation, 37,
Chapter 3 Get Ready, Get Set ..., 39,
Chapter 4 ... Pause and Go!, 73,
Chapter 5 Closing Time, 92,
Chapter 6 Pulling It All Together, 98,
Part Four More Fun Stuff, 111,
My Letters To Your Job Candidates, 113,
There Are Only Two Types of Job Interview Questions, 114,
Don't Forget to "Friend" the Interviewer, 118,
A Few Words on How to Tell Your Stories, 122,
Ask the Perfect Job Interview Question, 133,
39 Great Questions to Ask the Employer, 142,
Be a Closer, 146,
Don't Forget to Thank Them, 150,
A Lesson on Deciding, 152,
Negotiate Your Job Offer Like a Pro, 156,
Ugh. The Breakup, 159,
Double Ugh. The Counteroffer, 162,
Your Interview Day Checklist for Success, 167,
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