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Serving the Business and Professional Community since 1983! 

N. Elizabeth Fried, Ph.D.

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The Executive Coaching Corner:  Now in Session

October 2, 2012: You Can't Hire A-Players with C-Grade Systems

One of the most distasteful tasks that executives face is having to terminate a formerly trusted and capable  member of the leadership team who no longer performs as desired because the job has changed.  This becomes particularly apparent  if there has been a cultural and strategic shift in the organization.  We see this most often when a company undergoes a merger or acquisition.  It seems that most of the due diligence is focused on the numbers.  Cultural impact is often set aside in the acquiring company's zeal to achieve investor goals.  After the dust settles, it becomes clear that the landscape has changed.  Thus, as the executive reflects upon the new direction, two main issues emerge.  Not only may new and/or broader skills  be needed, but also, and equally critical is finding the right attitudinal fit that is aligned with the company's new culture.

This particular dilemma occurred with a recent client and led me down an unusual path as I reflected on how to best coach him. I began to ask about the company's recruitment and selection strategies--an area outside my bailiwick.  (While I successfully performed executive search work in the past, I never really liked it and abandoned it 20 years ago.) As we talked, I discovered there was a general lack of sophistication in the existing recruitment and selection systems.  Managers weren't trained to use a consistent interview process. The focus appeared to primarily be on skills and experience.  Although I'm an executive coach, I also have an intense curiosity and am a trained researcher academically, so I began an investigation to see if anything other than my familiarity with the well known "targeted selection" technique had emerged.  During this process I  stumbled upon  a new approach that is relatively simple and yields extraordinary results.  The approach is really common sense--hardly rocket science.  What makes it different is that its results are backed up by research on over 20,000 employees during a 3-year period.. 

I became so interested in what I learned, that I decided to share it with organizations and business owners in three forms:  A 75-minute keynote, a 2-hour workshop and a 3-hour workshop.  Below is a description of of the program:

Hiring Superstars:  How to Strategically Select Top Performers

We all want to hire passionate, top performing employees to help carry out and reinforce our vision, mission and core values, yet we’re often disappointed after they’ve come on board.  We’re puzzled because their resumes looked great—their skills matched perfectly, they worked for terrific companies, wowed us in the interview, and yet they still failed.  What are we doing wrong?  To unravel this mystery, my presentation, Hiring Superstars, sheds light on this phenomenon, by providing some surprising answers.

Join me as I share the latest hiring research that reveals the “secret sauce” for determining if a candidate is likely to be a top performer who is aligned with your organizational and talent management strategies.  I’ll provide new insight along with practical applications you can use immediately to evaluate your hiring strategies.  You’ll walk away with a clear roadmap for improving your hiring success that helps you save time, money, and aggravation during the process.   In this interactive and engaging presentation, you’ll learn:

·         The single biggest reason why new hires fail

·         How to determine what really constitutes success in your organization

·         Why traditional behaviorally based interview questions can pave the way for candidates to snow you big time with well rehearsed perfect answers.

·         What critical five questions to ask in every interview every time

·         How to unearth the characteristics of top performers in your company

·         How to develop the right kinds of interview questions AND  how to create a set of  green light and red flag answers to guide your evaluation

·         Why you need less than a dozen questions to find out all you need to know about a candidate’s likelihood for success.

·         How to write an effective job posting

Value to Participants

·         Consistently attract and retain high performing employees who fit your culture by

ü  Identifying what a high performer really “looks like” in your organization

ü  Perfecting your interviewing skills

ü  Streamlining your interview process

ü  Writing compelling job posting ad copy that draws the right type of candidates

If your corporation or professional/business association can benefit from this information, I'd love to work with you.  Email me at or call me at  760-633-4444

For additional one to two-minute sessions on other topics,  go to the Executive Coaching Corner Archive.