Written by contributor writer, Dominic Monkhouse, Founder & CEO of Monkhouse and Company
Every great or aspiring-to-be-great business needs an amazing hiring and onboarding process. But
for a company to build an effective talent pipeline, it must have a strategic mindset towards
recruitment. Think of it as managing a football team. If you were Alex Ferguson helming Manchester
United and you’d just won the European Championship and the Premier League, would you hire a
striker who is far less capable than the ones you already have just because he’ll sign up for less
You simply wouldn’t do that. Instead, you might say, ‘I have a great team. But I can make it even bet-
ter. Which performance gaps should I fill first? Which types of professionals can fill those gaps and
improve results?’ In any competitive field, you never hire anybody who’s worse than the people
you’ve already got.
Once you have reached past the initial stage of searching for candidates, whether that is by running
your own job adverts or working with a recruiter, conducting your own interviews is an effective way
to manage risks and optimise gains when it comes to talent acquisition, making sure you cover all
bases when finding the perfect fit for the role.
Here are four touch points to make when it comes to orchestrating job interviews and ensuring
A phone interview with HR
Conduct this touchpoint with at least two interviewers. Ensure that it involves somebody from HR
who is good at interviewing and the leader of the unit the candidate is applying for. A core function
of the team lead (the de facto hiring manager) in this scenario, is to clarify the role and sell the job to
the candidate, with the aim of building an emotional connection.
Having at least two interviewers enables your company to ask all the right questions without
affecting its ability to evaluate answers in real time. It also shores up the decision on whether to take
the process to the next phase by requiring a green light from both interviewers – if one gives a
thumbs down, then it’s over.
Why a picture paints a thousand words
Go beyond the candidate’s CV by asking them to draw something that motivates or inspires them.
Use paper and a set of coloured pens or pencils. Ideally, this touchpoint should give a glimpse into
their personalities, thought processes and emotional state. For this stage, forget the CV and just
focus on the picture for about half an hour. It’s amazing what it will reveal. Once, an applicant gave
herself away as a chronic narcissist by drawing three pictures of herself all in red, then talking about
me, me, me the whole time. She did not get the job. On the other hand, you’ll find people drawing
sunshine, blue skies and stick figures going up a mountain.
You’ll have deep conversations about their passions, family, and personal aspirations, all of which
builds trust and creates the all-important emotional connection that might be missing with their
A panel presentation
Require shortlisted candidates to do a simple presentation (no need to be fancy) about why working
for the company is a good move and why the company should hire them. This touchpoint is not about presentation skills. It’s about the applicant’s willingness to go the extra mile (preparing the
presentation the night before the interview) and about selling the company and the role to
themselves. This will help you separate the wheat from the chaff and further shorten the list to only
candidates who are hungry for the role and who have a fundamental understanding of its
expectations and functions.
Meeting the team
Have the candidates meet, work and collaborate with the relevant team in some form or another.
Wherever legal, have some type of trial period or part-time contract, whereby the candidate, as well
as the team, can evaluate job and culture fit before proceeding to formal employment. Make sure
the candidate interacts only with A-players from the team. Scrap this touchpoint if all you have are
B-players, especially when you are trying to hire top-tier talent.
Onboarding and talent development
The onboarding process is just as important as the interview process. If you want your new recruit to
turn up on day two (and three, four, five, etc), give them a great experience on day one. Giving
employees memorable, emotional, and positive experiences is one of the most impactful methods
for building trust, improving retention rates, and driving high performance. Consider these two
scenarios describing a new hire’s first day on the job:
Scenario A: Doug arrives at the office and finds that he doesn’t have a desk – not even a dedicated
chair, phone, or laptop. Doug’s new boss is too busy to show him around, instead telling Doug to
shadow other colleagues until he learns the ropes.
Scenario B: Sally receives a welcome card via snail mail the weekend before her first day. When she
arrives at the office, the smiling CEO leads her to a large meeting room, where everyone on the
team gives her a warm greeting. Later, she’s shown to her desk and receives clear guidance about
what she’ll be up to for her first few days.
Whose experience will likely drive them towards high performance? Put it this way, if I were Doug,
I’d be getting my CV right back out there. To be sure, habits and discipline serve as key performance
drivers but don’t make the mistake of overlooking the importance of your employees’ positive
When it comes to talent development for your new and existing employees, you can use the tools
you have already at hand. Companies that use Topgrading as a framework can extend its principles
to talent development. By using an employee’s past performance and classification as a benchmark,
you can set new (but reasonable) targets for employees to retain if they were an A-player, or
improve, if they were B-players or C-players. This ensures continuous skills and performance
improvement over time.
For organizations concerned with results and ROI, applicant interviews play a crucial part. Bad hires
mean bad investments, wasted money, and lost time. Remember: hire for your business like
Manchester United would hire for the team to make it better. Getting the interview process right
and then spending the time to onboard your new hire in the correct way is vital to ensure a positive
and valuable experience all around.
About the Author:
Dominic Monkhouse is a master business coach, CEO and founder of Monkhouse and Company and author of Mind Your F*king Business. Monkhouse and Company is a no-nonsense coaching company that helps entrepreneurial CEOs and their leadership teams reach their goals faster. Dominic is dedicated to sharing the systems, tools and strategies that enabled him to scale his business, empowering CEOs, leadership, and teams to do the same. He has even created a purpose-built Management Lab on his farm in Wiltshire to do just this. Billed as ‘the happy entrepreneur’, Dominic has been called ‘Britain’s Best Boss’ and has been cited in the Daily Telegraph as the creator of the ‘best office in Britain’. Dominic’s book, Mind Your F*king Business, explains how leaders can go against the grain and adopt an intentional, straight-forward and focused approach to business growth, seeing REAL results – minus the drama.