Friday, May 27, 2011

Interviewing 101

Hiring can be a hit-or-miss proposition. Sometimes a promising candidate turns out to be a disaster; frustrating colleagues and hurting client relationships. Some companies subject candidates to a battery of interviews in the hope that lots of talk will lead to better hires. But it might be that the answer isn't more interviews—it’s better interviews.

One of the many responsibilities of running a business is to interview candidates; yet rarely are we formally trained or evaluated on this skill. Interviews are notorious for not predicting whether a candidate is equipped to be successful in a job; research suggests most organizations would have better luck choosing whom to hire by flipping a coin. It should be simple to conclude that to improve the hiring process at an organization, the interview, and therefore by extension the interviewer, should be improved.

Easier said than done, right? Recruiters and hiring managers alike are victims of their own hubris- have you ever met one who said they didn't think they were good at interviewing? The first step is to objectively identify one's own weaknesses. The next is build an interview process that’s a win / win for both the interviewer and candidate.

Hiring Achievers; the achiever model is built on determining if a candidate has six core competencies to compete successfully. Hiring achievers who match your company’s needs, and who will excel in accomplishing your goals, is the achiever’s goal and objective. Using the six core competencies as your foundation then utilizing behavioral interviewing which emphasizes past performance and behaviors will give you the information needed to qualify or disqualify the candidate.

What are the big six? First let me preface, whether you’re hiring an entry level sales position or CEO, indentifying and matching the competencies can get the result you need; (1) team builder, (2) Producer, (3) survivor, (4) Integrator,(5) creator, and (6) entrepreneur. Lastly let’s review some best practices that should be a part of your selection process.

Make sure your interviewers have the training and knowledge needed to identify talent.
Do you know your company culture and who will thrive in your environment, i.e. your vision or mission statement?
Has the position been discussed in detail and approved by all that will be involved in the hiring process?
Do you have a selection team with several team members assigned for multiple interviews?
Be slow to hire. The best hiring decisions are intentional and the desired outcome is a win / win for both candidate and company

Remember: Candidates who feel favorable about the interview are also more likely to recommend your organization to others.

Bio: Brian Anderson is a registered corporate coach and certified selection expert who also provides a suite of other services that include but are not limited to: executive search, coaching and retail consulting. Brian Anderson is founder and principal of BA Search Group. Before launching his own practice Brian spent two decades leading and coaching high performance teams. Brian Anderson BA Search Group,, email

Remember: Hire the right people, train them effectively and follow-up with consistent coaching.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Leadership Lessons: Growth is not an Event

Leaders are busy. That’s not a revolutionary bit of information. Think about the leaders you know. They have meetings and obligations and travel and decisions and a thousand other things that take up their time. And to be a good leader, they manage them all.

But what’s the difference between a good leader and a great leader?

I once read a simple quote that answered that question in many ways for me. Here is what it said:

“It takes a leader to know a leader, grow a leader, and show a leader.”

I love the simplicity of that. We lose sight of the fact that as leaders we have a responsibility to pass on everything to the next generation.

I’m busy. I get distracted. I get swamped at work and at home, but when I don’t make time to speak truth to the next generation, I miss out on what it means to be a great leader. When I don’t pass on the lessons life has taught me or the wisdom of over four decades have provided me, I’m simply not being a great leader.

So the question is; are you producing leaders? Are there people in your life you are helping grow and encourage and challenge? You don’t have to be a CEO or a manager at work. You can do something like teach Sunday school. Or become a Baseball coach or even teach your own kids a new skill.

We have opportunities each day to pass on our leadership lessons to the people in our lives.

Let’s be great leaders today.

Bio: Brian Anderson is a registered corporate coach and certified selection expert who also provides a suite of other services that include: executive search and retail consulting. Brian is founder and principal of BA Search Group. His experience has taught him a great lesson - Successful people will not change behavior because they go to a class. They will improve because of their own efforts and commitment to the process.

Brian Anderson
BA Search Group
3388 Ravinia Cir (630-710-0200)
Aurora, IL 60504
View Blog:
"The Power of One"

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

People who excel at what they do

People who excel at what they do

1. People who excel work with enthusiasm. Regardless of whether the job is big or small, give it your best. Great performers give their best effort, no matter the size of the audience.

2. People who excel sharpen their skills. They never stop developing, growing, learning, and improving: If your ax is dull and you don’t sharpen it, you have to work harder to use it. It is smarter to plan ahead.

3. People who excel keep their word. They are reliable. They can be counted on to do what they say they’ll do. So they excel because people of integrity are rare in our society.

4. People who excel maintain a positive attitude. Even under pressure, or change, or unrealistic demands, they don’t allow themselves to become negative.

5. People who excel do more than is expected. This is a secret that every successful person has discovered. You’ll never excel by only doing what is required.

Brian Anderson
BA Search Group
"The Power of One"

Saturday, March 07, 2009



Ask any group of professionals to define the elements of performance and you will get a list, a long list. Ask them to define the relationship between these elements and you will get a discussion, a long discussion. Long lists and long discussions are not actionable.

I have reduced these lists down to four basic elements and defined the relationship between each element.

Knowledge (1)
To achieve high performance people must “know” what they are doing, and be “proficient” in doing it. Knowledge of the steps in a good decision making process, for example, increases one’s performance in decision making. Knowing how to do each step in a decision making process also increases performance. The more in-depth the knowledge the more one knows what and how to do things.

Skills (2)
Skill is one’s level of proficiency in doing tasks. Knowing the steps in decision making, and knowing how to do each step, does not necessary mean one can perform each tasks well. Knowing how to play golf, for example, does not translate into being a good golfer. One must be able to swing the club’s with some proficiency – we call that proficiency skill.

Roadblocks in the Environment (3)
To achieve high performance, people must have the opportunity to use their ability to perform. Environmental roadblocks are those aspects of an organization’s infrastructure and culture that inhibit the use of ability. A training program to develop high performance teams, for example, may be rendered useless by a hostile culture and negative attitudes as participants learn that, “This is not the way we do things around here!

Attitude (4)
To achieve high performance, people must be willing to use their knowledge and skills, and be willing to overcome the inherent environmental roadblocks that will inhibit their performance. When we consolidated the elements related to the willingness to perform we came down to one element, attitude.

There has been a great deal written about the effect of attitude on performance.

To maximize performance and the organizations return on its investments in performance, you must ask three critical questions:

1. Do people have the ability to perform?
2. Do people have the opportunity to perform?
3. Do people have the willingness to perform?

If the answer to any of these question is no, maximum performance will not be achieved.

Ready for the next step? Call or email me at with dates and times that work for you, and we’ll set a meeting.

Brian Anderson

President, BA Search Group
P.S. - Visit for a complete overview of my services, or visit my blog for leadership tips at

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Conflict: The Dance

Conflicts between people are a normal, natural and inevitable part of life--at work, at home and in all our relationships with others. Unfortunately, most of us don't really accept this fact and we still get surprised and distressed when it's clear that a conflict has emerged.

As long as everything is going along smoothly, it's easy to be considerate and respectful of another person's needs. They are in no way interfering with our own. But the emergence of a conflict can change all that--now we can feel threatened, anxious and angry. The same person whom we enjoyed working with yesterday now seems like an adversary. That's because of our vast, past experience with conflict, most of which was negative.

We have a negative attitude toward conflict primarily because we haven't learned constructive ways to deal with it--in fact, the converse is true: we have learned destructive ways of handling conflict. As children, as students and as employees (and too often as spouses) we have experienced losing in a conflict because parents, teachers and bosses use/d their power to win at our expense. Even though we know the feelings of resentment, anger, dislike, even hostility that we experience as a result of losing, the win-lose posture is deeply ingrained and when we get in positions where we have power over people, we often choose to win at their expense.

A great deal of research shows the damaging effects that win-lose conflict resolution has on interpersonal relationships. It creates distance, separation, dislike, even hatred. It's the main reason people leave their jobs for new ones and marriages break up.

How conflicts get resolved is the critical factor in any relationship. In fact, it is the most critical factor in determining whether a relationship will be healthy or unhealthy, mutually satisfying or unsatisfying, friendly or unfriendly, deep or shallow, intimate or cold.

As most of us are aware, there is an alternative to the win-lose posture. It's often been called "win-win" or "no-lose" because the goal is to find a solution to the conflict that meets the needs of both people. Resolving conflicts this way requires three important attitudes and behaviors: 1) the attitude that conflict in general presents the opportunity for constructive change; 2) the willingness to engage in the process of mutually searching for a solution that meets the needs of both people; 3) the communication and problem solving skills that it takes to make this win-win method work. Too often, people want to resolve conflicts this way, but either are not truly willing in their heart of hearts to work for a mutually-acceptable solution or do not have the skills required to work together to find one. When this occurs, the win-win method is doomed to failure.

Ready for the next step? Call or email me at with dates and times that work for you, and we’ll set a meeting.


Brian Anderson

Brian Anderson
President, BA Search Group

P.S. - Visit for a complete overview of my services, or visit my blog for leadership tips at

Friday, August 29, 2008

Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters has recently restructured and filled what was formerly one vacant president position for its Anthropologie brand into two senior-level management positions. After a lengthy and deliberate search for the Anthropologie vacant president position, they have concluded that a combined leadership structure was the optimal approach for furthering the brand's North American development.

Thought to Ponder:

Great leaders recognize that when to lead is as important as what to do and where to go. Every time a leader makes a move, there are really only four outcomes that can result.

The wrong action at the wrong time.

The right action at the wrong time brings resistance.

The wrong action at the right time is a mistake.

The right action at the right time results in success.

Your thoughts on the succession strategy and what key component needs to be in place for the co-leading to be successful?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning
By Brian Anderson BA Search Group, RCC

Strategic Planning has made a comeback worldwide. Companies, governmental agencies and nonprofits are all adopting it. Although Strategic Planning has been around for years and the basic tools are well known, many leadership teams still stumble in the planning and execution stages. The basic eight pairs of "do's and don'ts" are based on the experiences of a wide range of organizations. They will help you lock in your prospects for success and avoid common pitfalls.

· DO follow the (modified) KISS principle: Keep it Simple and Sustained. Less is more. Your goal is to create goals and objectives that focus your work for the next year or two. Limit the goals and objectives to one page so you can manage on the "top page."

· DON'T set too many Goals or Objectives or go into greater detail than necessary. Too many details, goals or objectives lead to confusion, conflicting goals, micromanagement and failure to execute. A successful plan is not measured by the pound.

· DO follow all of the steps as described in proven planning methodology as it was designed. You chose it because of its reputation. Learn from others' success.

· DON'T skip steps or do them partially. If you bought an expensive briefcase, you wouldn't immediately change the handle, put on a different carrying strap or have it dyed another color. Avoid tinkering with the process, since you have no data to justify your changes.

· DO stay focused on the Mission. The Mission, what the organization wants to do or be, is central for planning and day-to-day execution. Before you accept any goal, objective, strategy or tactic or take action ask, "How will this help fulfill the Mission?"

· DON'T do things because "we've always done it," or "I think we should do it even though it doesn't fit our Mission." Without the Mission driving your decisions, you will miss innovative solutions, drift off course or become reactionary.

· DO use the "brain dump" activity to alleviate the urge to begin the Tactical Plan prematurely. You are an excellent tactician and, faced with a problem, you quickly suggest solutions. This is a liability in strategic planning where you and your team have to create high level goals and specific objectives based on the Mission. List every idea the team has. Set these ideas, the "brain dump," aside until you are ready to create the tactical plan.

· DON'T begin laying out the Tasks before the Mission, Goals and Objectives are clearly stated. The Mission sets the context for the Goals, which are the context for Objectives, specific, measurable results. Choose tactics to achieve these higher level results from your brain dump at the END of the process.

· DO Measure, Measure, Measure! Select useful, significant measurements for all goals, objectives and tactics. What information do you need to make decisions? Revisit KISS: Keep It Simple and Significant.

· DON'T avoid measurement because it is hard to do. Measurement may be difficult, especially when dealing with customer satisfaction, employee morale or effectiveness. Define some way to measure these intangibles so you can gauge progress during execution.

· DO measure quality of results, wherever possible. Quality measures how customers judge your products or services. This provides the best information for strategic decision making and keeps you focused on the mission and customer.

· DON'T select productivity measures, just because they are easier to define. Important as it is, productivity does not tell you if you are creating a product or service that the customer wants. You can always make junk faster. When you focus on quality, you are more productive, since you reduce costly rework.

· DO provide support, resources, training, guidance, direction and coaching to assure everyone's success. People cannot perform well unless they have everything they need to do the job. The plan is only as good as its execution, which depends on great people management.

· DON'T dump people into situations without providing what they need to get the job done. Delegation means understanding what the person needs to get the job done and providing it. You can only hold people accountable for what they can actually control.

· DO Manage by Fact: We are judged by our results. Good planning sets the stage for good performance. Review results regularly to make decisions and manage. The basic dialogue: "Are we on target?" "Yes" "Keep up the good work." "No" "What is your plan to get back on target?" Targets are just targets. Look for root causes of undesired results. When you are not getting the desired results, investigate the root causes and modify your plans or targets appropriately.

· DON'T manage by intimidation, placing blame or gut feel. These approaches don't work since people may comply but they won't be fully engaged. Don't ignore off target data or make excuses. The opposite of the "blame game" is denial. If a goal or objective is not reached, investigate, find the root cause, devise a solution and re-plan. Unfounded hope is not a strategy for success in the real world.

Strategic Planning works because it disciplines the organization to harness the intellectual energy of all employees and guides the organization in a clear direction.

Ready for the next step? Call or email me at with dates and times that work for you, and we’ll set a meeting.


Brian Anderson

Brian Anderson

President, BA Search Group

P.S. - Visit for a complete overview of my services, or visit my blog for leadership tips at