Recruiting Top Job Candidates Through the Barry Deutsch Method

Needle in a HaystackA few years ago, Matrix Group was looking for a Network Administrator. We had been looking for 18 months with no success.  The situation was bleak. The candidates coming in were awful, my team was overworked and desperate to make a hire, and recruiters were failing us miserably.

Then I attended a presentation by Barry Deutsch, CEO of Impact Hiring Solutions, an executive search firm.  Barry’s presentation had such an impact on me and my company that Barry Deutsch is now a verb at Matrix Group.

When a job announcement is not pulling in the candidates we need, I tell my staff to “Barry Deutsch” the description.

Barry says that the top hiring mistakes companies make are:

  • Failing to define the job properly, i.e., not defining what will represent success in the job.
  • Falling victim to first impressions, i.e., the candidate looks good, talks well, she must be terrific.
  • Desperation hiring, i.e., making an offer because you think it’s better to hire someone, anyone.
  • Not asking deep and penetrating questions during the interview. This happens because managers don’t know how to conduct success-based interviews or lob softballs at the candidate because they “like” them.
  • Failing to check references deeply. Many companies skip reference checks or don’t properly validate the claims by candidates. And if a candidate can’t provide references, RUN!

Ultimately, we all want to hire and retain top talent.  Here is what Barry has to say about top talent:

  • Top talent is working; it’s rare that they’re unemployed so don’t pin your hopes on the resume database of a job board or rely on a recruiter that doesn’t have access to working candidates.
  • Top talent is usually already well paid and working on amazing projects so don’t believe that paying more money is going to be enough to shake top talent from their current employers.
  • Top candidates look for 3 things in order to make a move: Is the new job a better opportunity? What kind of impact will I have on the company, on the clients, in the world? What will I become if I take this job?
  • Top candidates ultimately take new jobs because: the opportunity is terrific, they will be working for a boss they can respect, and the company is one they can respect and admire.

Barry has a whole methodology for finding top candidates, interviewing them, checking references, making the offer, etc.  He even has a great, funny, insightful book that I highly recommend: You’re Not the Person I Hired.  It’ s a must read if you are involved in your company’s hiring process in any way or if your company is struggling with recruiting.

So what happened to our open Network Administrator job? We completely rewrote the job announcement and instead of listing minimum requirements, we made the job aspirational. We talked about the opportunities and challenges of working with so many technologies, managing a diverse hosting environment, and the crazy launch schedules.  We even gave the job a new title: Network Admin Superhero. We rewrote the interview questions.  And we spent a lot of time on the phone with references.  The result?

We got amazing candidates within a few days and we filled the job in three weeks. (I am not making this up, just ask Deb, my IT Manager.)  My staff will tell you that I swear Barry Deutsch changed my life and he really did.  We continue to use the Barry method and recently made an offer to an amazing candidate for the MatrixMaxx Project Manager/Brewmaster.  We also recently hired a Project Manager/Cat Herder/Master Juggler.

How about you?  What kind of hiring challenges does your organization face? Do you need to Barry Deutsch your hiring process?