Book Review: “Who — The A method for hiring”

      “Who: The A Method for Hiring” is a book written by Geoff Smart and Randy Street that offers a comprehensive guide to effective hiring processes in organizations. The book introduces the “A Method,” which is a systematic approach designed to help businesses identify and hire top-tier talent.

      The key concepts and steps outlined in the book include:

      1. Scorecard: Begin by defining a clear and specific job description, outlining the expectations and goals for the role. This ensures that both the hiring team and candidates have a mutual understanding of what is required.
      2. Source: Utilize various channels to attract potential candidates, including internal referrals, networking, job boards, and industry-specific events. The focus is on seeking out the best possible candidates rather than just relying on those who apply.
      3. Select: Employ a structured interview process that consists of both behavioral and situational questions. This approach helps to assess candidates’ skills, experiences, and cultural fit, enabling better prediction of their potential success in the role.
      4. Sell: Convey the organization’s values, mission, and opportunities to candidates effectively. The goal is to attract top talent by highlighting the company’s unique attributes and addressing any concerns or hesitations.
      5. Synthesize: Collect and analyze interview feedback from multiple team members to make an informed hiring decision. Collaboration among the hiring team helps minimize biases and ensures a well-rounded evaluation.

      The book emphasizes the significance of making hiring decisions based on concrete evidence rather than gut feelings. It advocates for a disciplined and rigorous approach to selecting candidates who align with the company’s culture and have the potential to drive meaningful impact.

      “Who: The A Method for Hiring” provides practical insights and actionable advice to help organizations avoid common hiring pitfalls and build high-performing teams. By following the “A Method,” businesses can increase their chances of recruiting top talent that contributes positively to the organization’s success.

      A bad hiring decision can cost a company thousands of dollars as well as hurt team morale and lower productivity. Of course, finding the right person for a role isn’t an easy task. Between experience, company fit, skill sets, and more, there are a lot of factors that need to be considered in order to hire the perfect candidate. It’s difficult to sift out the bad eggs during the interview process because candidates often exaggerate and hiring managers don’t always use the best interview practices. 

      Voodoo Hiring Methods to Avoid

      The A Method for Hiring by Geoff Smart and Randy Street outlines some of the worst hiring methods you should avoid. The first step in a successful hiring practice is to abolish bad hiring habits. Below are 10 voodoo hiring methods interviewers often use that can lead to poor hiring decisions.

      Going with a gut feeling

      The hiring manager may think they’re good at “reading” people, but this is often a common mistake. Don’t trust gut feelings and instead rely on resumes, references, background, and experience to tell you what you need to know. 

      Using general impression

      Multiple people often interview candidates for important roles, and some hiring managers will ask for overall impressions of a candidate and use this information to make a decision. The downfall of this method is ending up with a surface-level assessment of the candidate. 

      Asking trick questions

      Trick questions may land you a very knowledgeable or clever candidate, but they’re not necessarily the best person for the role. The ability to succinctly answer a trick question is not the same as understanding and competently completing tasks associated with a position. 

      Impressing the candidates

      Selling the company and position to candidates is an important part of the interview process, but it’s only a fraction of the interview. Don’t become so focused on selling the position that you forget to properly assess a candidate’s capabilities. 

      Relying on gimmicky techniques

      Gimmicks are certainly a unique interview method, but they really don’t work. Dropping a piece of paper on the floor to see if the candidate will pick it up is not a good way to assess a person’s skills for the job. 

      Asking irrelevant questions

      Some interviewers have certain questions they really like to ask. The problem with having these pet questions is that they may not apply to the role you’re currently hiring. Make sure all interview questions provide insightful information into a candidate. 

      About the Authors

      Geoff Smart

      Geoff Smart is the chairman & founder of ghSMART, a global leadership advisory, education, and analytics firm.

      Founded in 1995, ghSMART helps Fortune 500 CEOs & boards, entrepreneurs, and heads of state to achieve their goals through hiring, developing, and leading talented teams.

      ghSMART’s Credo begins, “We exist to help leaders amplify their positive impact on the world.” 

      The firm is known for offering extraordinarily talented, diverse, and goodhearted professionals the opportunity to work in a culture characterized by the freedom to choose, the chance to be a part of an exclusive yet inclusive team, and the opportunity to do meaningful work every day. ghSMART is ranked #1 on Glassdoor among top firms in consulting, finance, and tech, with a 4.7/5.0 overall rating. It is also ranked #1 on the Great Place to Work index among top professional services firms. In 2023, Vault named ghSMART the #1 consulting firm in its industry (ranked above McKinsey, Bain, and BCG) in the categories of overall colleague satisfaction, compensation, selectivity, challenge, client interaction, work-life balance, (few) hours in an office, best boutique, business outlook, and overall diversity.

      ghSMART shares its knowledge about leadership with the world. The firm has published three bestselling books. Who: The A Method for Hiring (Smart & Street) is a New York Times bestseller that is currently ranked #1 on on the topic of hiring talented teams. Power Score:  Your Formula for Leadership Success (Smart, Street, and Foster) is a Wall Street Journal bestseller, and appeared on an international newspaper’s list of “The 10 Best Business Books of 2015.” The CEO Next Door (Botelho & Powell) is a critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller. In addition, Dr. Smart published Leadocracy: Hiring More Great Leaders (Like You) into Government, a New York Times bestseller which won the IPPY Award and the Axiom Book Award for #1 Best Business Book of the Year. He earned a B.A. in Economics with honors from Northwestern University, and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Psychology from Claremont Graduate University, where he was a student of management thought leader Peter F. Drucker.

      ghSMART makes an impact in the broader community. Dr. Smart founded a not-for-profit leadership development organization which became the Colorado Governors Fellowship Program, and he currently serves on the Board of Trustees of CiviCo. ghSMART colleagues donate hundreds of hours per year to advising leaders who make the world a better place.

      Randy Street

      Randy Street, Vice Chairman of ghSMART, has over 30 years of experience advising boards, CEOs, and senior leaders and helping them build successful executive teams. He co-authored bestselling books Who: The A Method for Hiring and Power Score: Your Formula for Leadership Success. From 2009 to 2021, Randy served as ghSMART’s first Managing Partner. Under his leadership, ghSMART grew tenfold and received recognition from Forbes as one of America’s Best Consulting Firms and Vault as the #1 Boutique Consulting firm.

      About Cowen Partners Executive Search

      At Cowen Partners, we stand at the forefront of the executive search industry, empowering companies to thrive and excel in their growth, revenue, and market presence. We specialize in identifying exceptional leaders and placing them in key positions to drive success. Our team of seasoned executive recruiters collaborates with organizations of all sizes, encompassing both public and private enterprises, pre-IPO ventures, and non-profit entities. Through a meticulous and discerning approach, we unite handpicked candidates, with companies in pursuit of the most exceptional executive talent, representing the top 1%. With the support of our experienced senior partners, we execute a diligent and efficient executive search process, ensuring leadership placements within a remarkable six-week timeframe.

      Executive search placements span the entire C-suiteCEOsCFOsCOOsCMOsCIO/ CTOsCHROsCLOs, and leadership roles including VPs, Directors, and more.

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