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Red Light, Green Light, 1, 2, 3

Published:03/09/2020 | Posted by Donald J. Zinn

yellow, red and green stoplight illustration

As the economy and demand for great employees continues to be red hot, we employers are confronted with making more hires in a competitive market that requires rapid decision making – which is not always optimal. Quick is often NOT GOOD, but if you are going to be in a position where you are making fast decisions on people, the most important ingredients to success in your company, you need to have a process for evaluation that can be used simply, easily and WITH CONSISTENCY.

Face it, hiring is a sporadic activity, and few companies/people are great at it. We aren’t equipped with great tools to guide us in making hiring decisions, and we often lack a strategy that results in pursuit of the best people because we are not prepared to understand what “best” really means. Often that means we hire the first person who satisfies minimal qualifications rather than hold out for the best person we can find.

When developing an interview strategy, think about how you interview, and use a simple set of business tools to guide your decision making. While skills will always remain a must have – if the candidate lacks the skills you require nothing will make them the right choice – don’t forget to look beyond the skills. We tend to fall in love with a resume and forget that we, our team and our clients will be working with that new employee every day. Forgetting about FIT can be a fatal error – so to make sure you consider fit, use this simple “Red Light, Green Light” test and it will allow you to make better hires EVERY TIME!

But measuring fit is hard, right? Not if you use the right business tool. This test will enable you to evaluate how the job candidate will fit with the three main constituencies every employee is engaged with. Ask yourself the questions in the grid to the right – and look at your answers carefully. If you get a green light at all six stops – then Mission Control will send you to lift off. If however, you have a yellow light anywhere on the grid – proceed with caution and bring the candidate back for additional interviews – forcing the yellow light to move to either green, or red. And if you have a red light – even one – STOP – do not pass go and do not hire the person – no matter how compelling their resume may be.

candidate management graphic

Yet, most employers base their decisions on the candidate’s knowledge and then hope for fit. The result is turnover that is higher than you want it to be or worse, you are stuck with a sub-optimal hire that you don’t know how to dismiss.

Business tools are often process models – and simple process models are more likely to make an impact because they can be followed by everyone. This six stop, red light, green light process model is an easy way to determine if you have interviewed sufficiently to make the right hiring decision – and if you should move forward with an offer or decide to pass.

Use this tool and you will not only make better hires; you will eliminate bad hires – and improve business performance as a result. By putting FIT foremost in the minds of interviewers, you will be more likely to build strong, loyal, effective teams that help grow your business year after year. Help Me Hire Leaders.

don Zinn steven douglasAbout the Author:

Donald J. Zinn is Senior Vice President – Executive Search and a senior member of the StevenDouglas search team. Don helps clients in NYC, Westchester, Southern CT, NJ and all over the USA to scale their organizations by identifying and landing the right talent in their quest to find the very best business leaders for their organizations. He focuses on helping fast growing companies build optimal and functional leadership teams. Don holds a BS in Industrial & Labor Relations from Cornell University and an MBA from New York University.

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