The Seven Decisions in Making a Great Hire: Talent Assessment

In the article I posted on September 27, 2012, I discussed talent as a quality in making a hiring decision.

In talent assessment, the hiring manager is attempting to know a person’s natural abilities or aptitude and, separately, a person’s intelligence.  A highly skilled house painter is the only person I would recommend to paint someone’s house.  A highly talented portrait artist is the only person I would recommend to paint someone’s portrait.  Although a highly talented portrait artist can very likely develop the skills to paint someone’s house, a highly skilled painter is less likely to have the natural ability to paint portraits.  A house painter may have talents in many areas, including portrait art, but most house painters are not talented portrait artist.

Testing for aptitude and intelligence is costly.  A shortcut to paying for testing is to hire from companies that hire great people.  Other reliable sources are great universities and junior military officers.  Many companies return to sources that have worked for them in the past.

A person who graduated from a top-ranked university, became a military officer, and received an MBA has been through a lot of excellence screening. Procter & Gamble’s CEO, Robert McDonald, is an example of that type of background.  McDonald graduated the United Sates Military Academy, served fives years as a military officer, and graduated from an MBA program.

To identify sourcing schools, a source is BusinessWeek.

If you need to hire talented people with experience, the type of experience required can vary from position to position.  However, to find a talent testing method that is reliable and free, a hiring manager might look at the college a person attended and at the person’s major in college. If the person had military experience, a hiring manager might also consider the military specialty (for aptitude) and the rank held when the person left the military.

Grade point average and major in college are important and I will discuss these two elements in some of the articles to follow.

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