How to identify star performers before hiring

The war for talent is all about getting a perfect fit for the job. With intensifying competition, the focus now is on identifying star performers before the actual hiring process starts

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The cost of a bad or a wrong hire to the company can go up to five times the employee’s annual salary, says Mayank Chandra, managing partner, Antal International, citing a recent report by Society for Human Resource Management.

“Frankly, this is not surprising as every employee has a significant impact on a company’s culture, performance and its eventual success,” he says.

While this makes it crucial to hire nothing but the best, it also stresses on the need to have a mechanism that helps identify potential star performers before they are actually hired.

But there is a catch.

“It has been observed that in general terms, star performers are not active job seekers,” says Sunil Goel, managing director, GlobalHunt.

So it is nothing short of a challenge to get leads into passive candidates.

But Goel says there are strategies that help ensure that your star performers can be identified. The techniques can be applied during the screening process.

1. Discrete reference checks: This is the key tool in identifying quality talent

2. Feedback: Customer/manager feedback can be another aspect to identify high performers. But one must consider differentiating consistent and random performers.

3. Performance consistency: The consistent performers perform in any given situation. The performance graph of random achievers is uneven as their performance falls drastically under diverse and complex situations.

Other ways to identify star performers include trends on performance incentives, percentage of increments, rewards and certificates and inclusion into key customer and projects.

He says it is important to verify this information as candidates tend to fake facts in their resumes while applying.

Here, face-to-face interviews come in handy. But the interviewer must know what to ask to elicit information that helps segregate superior performers from average ones.

Mayank Chandra lists some points that must be considered while looking for the high performers:

1. Ask the right questions: Don’t get caught in the web of throwaway questions that invariably have little to do with the candidate’s ability to perform or his/her ability to fit into the company’s culture. Instead, have the candidate talk about instances where he/she has demonstrated initiative or executed a project despite obstacles. Have the candidate talk about his team’s accomplishments in challenging times as a star performer should be able to get his team to deliver the best even in adverse circumstances.

2. Ask about professional achievements: This could include queries regarding resourcefulness of a candidate – instances where the candidate helped the employer save time and enhance reputation.

3. Ask about extracurricular activities: All work and no play make Jack a dull boy and it surely does not enhance his efficiency either. When interviewing candidates, it is important to watch out for signs of him being an extrovert, especially if the role demands interactions with internal and external stakeholders.

This story appeared in Times Jobs on June 16, 2015

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About Antal India Recruitment Blog

Founded in 1993, Antal International is a global Executive Recruitment firm with 120 offices in more than 30 countries We work with professional and managerial talent worldwide. works with many of the world’s most successful and ambitious employers. In January 2007 Antal International established the first office in India, which led to the opening of 38 offices in 14 cities. In 2013, Antal named Joseph Devasia as its Managing Director for Antal International Network, India – the man who brought Antal to India 9 years ago. Antal India today has 100+ consultants working across offices in India filling more than 3000 assignments at the mid – senior level. Antal India today has offices specialising in various industries like FMCG/CD, Ecommerce, IT, Pharma, Auto, Engineering, Manufacturing, Real Estate, Construction, Retail, Oil & Gas, Aerospace, Defence. Clients: Over the past 22 years, Antal has worked with over several thousand clients making 60,000 placements. Antal extensive network of offices and deep market expertise is what sets Antal apart from its competitors. To know more about us – www.antal.com

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