Championship Hiring

Leadership Comments (1)

You can’t win with permanently mediocre team members.


In the absence of rules in the heat of the front-line, in front of your most important customers, everyone in the organization does the best, right thing. That’s mainly what a championship culture does for us. There are many other things about culture of course, but that’s the main reason to spend time and effort on culture.


Last week we explored treating everyone uniquely. Read Lombardi’s Secret. Each individual is unique and requires – deserves – to be treated uniquely and should have a corresponding unique development plan.


Being attentive to and influencing your culture is a major component of your leadership attention. Culture is about people. How you interact with the people is a related component of your leadership attention. Let’s jump back to the beginning and discuss the hiring process.

No one wants to bring in bad apples. Hiring bad matches can be extremely costly in both time and money. And worse, the impact on the culture can derail a great strategy.

Some people test and interview well and slip through without exposing their crippling weaknesses. It happens. You can’t win them all but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

Human Resources has a lot to do with planning, identifying candidates, dealing with the legalities, and handling things like benefits and other onboarding activities after the hire. HR is an important part of the process of course. However,

As a leader you cannot abdicate responsibility to anyone outside your team when deciding who will contribute to the success of your organization.

Whatever the process for hiring you can certainly control how the interview process goes. The candidate may need to meet with HR first, but the interview process where the decision is made should be controlled by you.

The Interview

A group interview is the key. As the leader you may be part of the group or you can interview the candidate after the group interview. Either way works. The dynamics of a group interview is what makes the process work. There are some rules for the process though.

  1. Group interview participants – The group is made up of 4-5 people including a future colleague, the immediate supervisor, and someone who will be lower ranking than the candidate.
  2. Good cop, bad cop – Interviewers are prepared to discuss and ask and answer questions about what is great about the job and what is not so great. For example, if travel is a big part of the job someone needs to explore if the candidate really understands what that means or erroneously thinks business travel is glamorous.
  3. Interview team analysis – The interview team discussion about the candidate after the interview is where the work gets done.
  4. The team must be unanimous – Like a jury the team must be unanimous for the candidate to be hired. This requires in-depth conversation, discussing details, challenging perceptions, etc. If someone on the team has to convince their colleagues that the candidate will be a good fit, guess who becomes their natural, motivated, mentor?
  5. The leader cannot overrule the interview team – Huh? You get to participate in the discussion and have a voice like everyone else on the team. Your experience and perspective are important but you should have to influence the team on merit rather than playing the boss card. Do you trust the team?

Realize what’s happening

  • Trust
  • Ownership
  • Communication
  • Mentorship
  • Culture building

There are a more details in the video but some nuances are difficult to convey in an article so please ask questions. Also, argue with me. Can you use this interview approach? Click the comment box below.

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Jim Canterucci

I don't know everything. But I want to. The focus of our firm, Transition Management Advisors, is to develop leadership capabilities to create a championship culture, generate innovation, and successfully lead the resulting changes.

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On December 16, 2014
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