Performance Pointer

From the Penumbra Group - Your Complete Resource for

Talent Management Solutions
July 2008
In This Issue - Smart Hiring
Smart Hiring and Talent Studies
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Boulder Colorado SHRM 8/21/08
Ocala Florida
SHRM 9/16/08
SHRM 9/17/08
HR Southwest Conference  10/16/08
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ARCH New Hampshire
Lake Washington SHRM 11/11/08

Staffing levels continue to be a major challenge for most employers and with the cost of turnover today, it's time for companies to take a good hard look at their hiring practices. A study done by Leadership IQ involving 5,247 hiring managers from 312 public, private, business and healthcare organizations who collectively hired more than 20,000 employees during the study period found that 46% of new employees failed within 18 months on the job. The stakes are high as hiring managers are confronted with the challenge of interviewing candidates that are savvier than ever.

Applicants have educated themselves on the insider tips for winning the interviewing game with a plethora of resources available online. Add to it the increasing difficulty in obtaining reference information and candidate's who are well educated and well rehearsed, interviewers are legitimately baffled at how to separate the style from the substance. 
No where else in a job can you have a 46% failure rate and stay employed, however hiring managers are rarely measured on this key leadership competency. We offer workshops around the country on Smart Hiring and often meet interviewers who are superstitious about their interviewing and selection practices. Some examples:
        The manager whose favorite question
was, "If you could be a soup, what soup would you be?"
        The manager who said that she refuses to hire the first person that she interviews because "What are the odds that the first person I interview will be The One?"         The manager who watches the candidate walk in from the parking lot from their office and makes their hiring decision based on their gait.
There is no magic bullet. Many clients ask us if they can just give one test or ask one question that will reveal the person's true identity and the reality is that the key to better hiring comes down to 3 things:
1) utilizing an advanced interviewing technique to more accurately assess and select talent;
2) a planned competency-based, structured interview including prewritten interview questions;
3) A focus on the skills really relevant to the job and company culture.  

The Benefits of a Talent Study


One way to know what skills are really relevant is by doing a talent study. Progressive organizations are identifying the key factors that their top performers share in common. A talent study will reveal what qualities, education, experience, personality types, career paths and emotional intelligence skills your superstars bring to the table. 
The benefits of conducting a talent study go beyond interviewing and selection and include minimizing quantitative and qualitative losses stemming from employee turnover, developing and retaining your top performers, creating performance metrics, knowing your bench strength, raising the performance level of your "hiders" or "fence-sitters" and targeted recruiting that increases the odds of hiring right the first time. 
Don't Forget Interviewing For Emotional Intelligence... 
While we know that intellect is important in the workplace, it is an entry-level requirement. Emotional Intelligence provides the specific building blocks of success and is the proven difference between mediocre and exceptional performance.  It is critical for interviewers to seek the most important Emotional Intelligence skills required for the position they are applying for.
There are several examples of how Emotional Intelligence has helped companies save money and improve hiring effectiveness:
        The US Air Force used the EQ-I to select recruiters (the Air Force's front-line HR personnel) and found that the most successful recruiters scored significantly higher in the emotional intelligence competencies of Assertiveness, Empathy, Happiness, and Emotional Self Awareness. The Air Force also found that by using emotional intelligence to select recruiters, they increased their ability to predict successful recruiters by nearly three-fold. The immediate gain was a saving of $3 million annually. These gains resulted in the Government Accounting Office submitting a report to Congress, which led to a request that the Secretary of Defense order all branches of the armed forces to adopt this procedure in recruitment and selection.
        At L'Oreal, sales agents selected on the basis of certain emotional competencies significantly outsold salespeople selected using the company's old selection procedure. On an annual basis, salespeople selected on the basis of emotional competence sold $91,370 more than other salespeople did, for a net revenue increase of $2,558,360. Salespeople selected on the basis of emotional competence also had 63% less turnover during the first year than those selected in the typical way.
        In a large beverage firm, using standard methods to hire division presidents, 50% left within two years, mostly because of poor performance. When they started selecting based on emotional competencies such as initiative, self-confidence, and leadership, only 6% left in two years. Furthermore, the executives selected based on emotional competence were far more likely to perform in the top third based on salary bonuses for performance of the divisions they led: 87% were in the top third.
        At a national furniture retailer, sales people hired based on emotional competence had half the dropout rate during their first year.
Successful hiring does not need to be equivalent to flipping a coin. By utilizing Smart Hiring practices, you can avoid being part of the 46% statistic.   

Penumbra addresses specific hiring needs for companies through our customized Smart Hiring workshop, visit us at 


Get in touch, we'd love to hear from you!


All the best,

Jennifer Shirkani and Faith Csikesz
Penumbra Group Inc.