Business Results & Personal Development
for CEOs & Key Executives
Home   |   About Us   |   Lit Request   |   Contact Us   |   View
847-208-8709         Email  
Download Free Article

"Best Practices for Managing
in the Best of Times"
Best Practices
Business Results   »
Personal Development  »
Growth Coaching
Executive  »
Sales Manager »
Sales Rep  »
Chally Tools
Sales Reps  »
Sales Management  »
Managers  »
Executives  »
Vistage / TEC Tools
Vistage Works   »
CEO Peer Groups  »
Key Executive Groups  »
Trusted Advisors  »
Request Literature
Sales Recruiting  »
Sales Compensation  »
Exceptional Managers  »
Resource Links

CEO Best Practice: Developing a World-Class Staffing System

Executive Tools

  • Executive Summary
  • Self Assessment Checklist

Expert Practices Articles

  • Developing a Staffing System
  • The Performance-Based Job Profile
  • Recruiting
  • Recruiting "Top 25 Percent" Talent
  • Screening
  • The Interview
  • Validating the Interview
  • Making the Decision

Tools & Analysis

  • Sample Performance Profile
  • Self Assessment Tool

Request the Entire Best Practice Module: Developing a World-Class Staffing System

Developing a Staffing System

The key to hiring effectively, say Vistage speakers Lou Adler, Ed Ryan, Barry Shamis, Charles Sheppard and Barry Deutsch is to have a staffing system that provides a template, a model and a process for those who recruit, screen, interview and hire new employees. Having a staffing system won’t guarantee success every time. But it will dramatically increase your odds of getting the right person in the job with each new hire.

According to Shamis, building an effective staffing system consists of five essential steps:

  1. Painting a picture of the successful person
  2. Developing a cadre of qualified candidates
  3. Screening the candidates
  4. Interviewing the candidates and checking references
  5. Making the hiring decision

Because personnel selection affects the entire organization, the impetus to put a staffing system in place must come from the top. CEOs can’t get involved in every hiring decision. But if they want to improve the quality of hires at all levels of the organization, they must make staffing a strategic priority and take full responsibility for the system that makes those hires.

Request the Entire Best Practice Module: Developing a World-Class Staffing System

The Performance-Based Job Profile

The absolute bedrock of every effective hiring system, say our staffing experts, is a performance-based job profile that spells out the essential activities a person must accomplish and the outcomes he or she must deliver in order to get the job done. To use job profiles to maximum effectiveness, say our speakers:

  • Use a performance-based job profile for every hiring decision. The best way to predict future job success is to uncover examples of past performance using a performance-based job profile.
  • Build each job profile around objective, quantifiable, measurable criteria. According to Adler, the ideal job profile fits on one page and includes the most important outcomes of the job, the qualities and characteristics the person needs to get the job done (stated in specific terms of knowledge, skills and abilities) and short- and long-term performance criteria that spell success in the job.
  • Benchmark job performance against both internal and external standards.
  • Regularly update job profiles as the organization grows and jobs evolve.

Request the Entire Best Practice Module: Developing a World-Class Staffing System


The next step in the hiring process involves finding enough qualified candidates. Our experts recommend the following recruiting best practices:

  • Develop a recruiting culture. Everyone -- from the CEO on down to the front line workers -- should keep an eye out for potential employees.
  • Establish an employee referral program. Set up a program whereby employees receive cash bonuses and other rewards for referring talented people.
  • Create compelling, opportunity-focused job ads. According to Adler, the best job ads describe an opportunity rather than a job, focus on what the person needs to do (not what they need to have) and describe where the person is going, not where they have been.

Request the Entire Best Practice Module: Developing a World-Class Staffing System

Recruiting "Top 25 Percent" Talent

You can’t hire great employees unless you first attract great candidates. According to Vistage Speaker Barry Deutsch, getting top talent to knock on your door involves four steps:

  1. Understanding what attracts top performers
  2. Defining a compelling marketing statement that captures the excitement of the position
  3. Identifying where to find the top candidates
  4. Defining the channels to go after those candidates

Deutsch believes that top performers evaluate job opportunities based on three essential criteria:

  • Challenge on the job
  • Learning and growth opportunities
  • Chance to be part of an outstanding team

Request the Entire Best Practice Module: Developing a World-Class Staffing System


An effective staffing system includes a pre-interview screening process that minimizes your time investment by bringing in only the best candidates for face-to-face interviews.

Our experts recommend the following screening best practices:

  • Learn to read résumés properly. Proper screening of résumés will allow you to narrow the pool of candidates to a manageable size with a minimum of time and effort.
  • Read the résumé in proper chronological order, starting with the first job and working your way forward to the most recent.
  • Look for increasing levels of responsibilities and accomplishments. In particular, look for achievements that closely correlate to the job at hand.
  • Use the résumés to screen in rather than screen out. The last thing you want to do is inadvertently weed out great candidates.
  • Never read more than six or seven résumés at one time.

Request the Entire Best Practice Module: Developing a World-Class Staffing System

The Interview

After the job profile, interviewing represents the most critical part of the hiring process. Staffing expert Charles Sheppard believes that every job interview should answer three questions:

  • Can the person do the job?
  • Will the person do the job?
  • Does the person fit the job and the company?

"The sole purpose of an employment interview is to predict success on the job," he says. "In order to do that, you have to be able to answer these three questions. Uncovering that kind of information requires structured interviews that focus on eliciting information about past job behavior specifically related to the job at hand."

Our experts recommend the following interviewing best practices:

  • Prepare for each and every interview. You can’t "wing it" and expect to make good hiring decisions. Prior to each interview, review the résumé and job application, your notes from the phone interview, the job profile and your list of prepared questions.
  • Use a structured interview process for each candidate. A structured interview uses a prepared list of questions designed to surface information related to the job profile. This process keeps you focused on gathering examples of past performance and prevents the candidate from taking control of the interview.
  • Focus on uncovering information about past performance. The more you can uncover examples of past performance that match the job profile, the more you can make objective hiring decisions.
  • Provide regular interview training for all hiring managers. To improve the quality of your company’s hiring decisions, have your hiring managers update their interviewing skills at least once a year.
  • Ask only behavior-based questions. During the interview, avoid opinion-, credential- or experience-based questions. Instead, ask behavior-based questions that uncover an applicant’s specific work-related experiences and allow you to assess job performance.
  • Check all references. Reference checks are necessary to verify information collected from the résumé and during the interview, uncover additional information and provide legal protection

Request the Entire Best Practice Module: Developing a World-Class Staffing System

Validating the Interview

The final step before making the hiring decision involves validating the truth of what you learned about the candidate using two essential tools -- personality assessment and reference checking.

According to Deutsch, personality assessment tools fall into three broad categories, each with a different cost and level of sophistication.

  • Level 1 assessment tools include the DISC and the many variations that have been developed over the years. These tools are quick and usually inexpensive ($25 to $50 per person), and most can be taken and processed online.
  • Level 2 instruments, such as the 16 PF or Calipers, typically go 12 to 16 layers deep. They cost more (about $250 to $300 per candidate) and have to be interpreted by an industrial psychologist.
  • Level 3 involves sending the candidate to an industrial psychologist who gives a battery of tests over a period of several days. These tests can run from $1,000 to $5,000, depending on the level of service, and should be used only for high-level, "gamebreaker" positions.

Request the Entire Best Practice Module: Developing a World-Class Staffing System

Making the Decision

With an effective staffing system, making the hiring decision becomes the easiest part of the hiring process. To make the best hiring decisions, our experts recommend the following best practices:

  • Evaluate the candidates against the job profile, not against each other. If none of the candidates meets the job criteria, don’t hire any of them. Instead, step back and reevaluate your job profile to make sure it is realistic. If it is, go back to the recruiting process and start over again.

When evaluating candidates, Sheppard recommends rating behavioral examples based on the following criteria:

  • Is it an incident of effective behavior?
  • Is the example recent?
  • Did the candidate give detail?
  • Does the candidate exhibit the behavior much of the time?
  • Did the candidate give a reference?

Request the Entire Best Practice Module: Developing a World-Class Staffing System