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An expert's tip advice for hiring the best candidates

This story appears in the July 2000 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

Think back to the last time you hired an employee. A little stressful maybe? (Am I asking the right questions? Can I trust my instincts about this person? Can she do the job? Will he fit in here?) Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to ease the pain. We talked with Lou Adler, founder of CJA-The Adler Group, an executive search and organizational consulting firm in Tustin, California, to find out how to make the process less scary and raise the caliber of potential hires. He's also founder and president of POWERHiring.com Inc., an Internet recruiting firm, so he's road-tested his tips well. Through his Web site, Adler gives managers all the tools they need to make a smart hiring decision. And in his book, Hire With Your Head: A Rational Way To Make A Gut Decision (Wiley & Sons, $29.95, 800-225-5945), Adler describes the most common mistakes people make when hiring. Here's his advice for getting the best candidates:

  • Define superior performance. Before you go out looking for that perfect candidate, have a clear picture of what the job entails. Be specific about what would differentiate an average candidate from a superior candidate. Developing a clear set of "deliverables" can make it easier to ask pointed questions and get specific examples of how the candidate will perform the necessary tasks.
  • Write a great ad. Top candidates respond to compelling ads. First, you need a catchy title. Second, the body of the ad should concentrate on what the candidate will do-not what they need to have. For example, don't say "Needs three years of job experience." Say "Use your three years of job experience in developing a state-of-the-art Web business-to-business solution." Says Adler, "Focus on what the person is going to become, not where they've been."

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