How to Hire a Rockstar

Be forewarned…recruiting a Rockstar from one company doesn’t ensure they’ll be a Rockstar at yours. Their competencies and DNA have to match those of your specific organization.

So how do you determine the fit?

You create a candidate scorecard, which becomes the Holy Grail for a hire, and you use it without exception for all candidates in the interview process. The scorecard is a standardized candidate grading system that identifies concrete markers of success

To quantify the qualities you’re looking to hire, every stakeholder in the recruiting process needs to agree on the scorecard, and the search can’t begin in earnest until everyone agrees on the elements. The scorecard becomes the equalizer that reconciles differences of opinion as to what’s truly necessary for the role.

Scoring is done on a 1–10 scale, with 9 and 10 being Rockstar levels, although don’t expect any 10s. Tens live in perfect candidate land and don’t show up for interviews.

If you want a Rockstar culture, you’re ideally looking to hire 8s and 9s for every element measured across role fit (competencies) and DNA match. A 7- or 8-scored candidate has Rockstar potential and deserves consideration. Although you can entertain 7s, any candidate below a 7 should ultimately be removed from the process.

Step 1 in creating the scorecard is envisioning what success looks like. To do this, role play a scenario 18 months post-hire. What would need to have been accomplished for the hiring manager to enthusiastically re-hire the candidate? What specific, quantified benchmarks were achieved? Insert the benchmarks on the scorecard under “Competencies” for scoring. By essentially having the scorecard ask, “Does the candidate have the competencies to achieve the benchmarks?” you’re facilitating a predictive hire.

Step 2. Define 5–7 daily accountabilities this person would need to successfully execute to achieve the benchmarks identified in Step 1. This is attaching daily tasks to desired outcomes. Does the candidate have the competencies to execute these tasks? Insert the necessary executable tasks on the scorecard under “Competencies” for scoring.

Step 3. Determine the candidate’s DNA. It’s as important as competencies and more predictive of success within your organization. DNA is not culture fit. DNA is the candidate’s hardwiring cemented into their persona over the course of their lifetime. DNA is a fixed attribute. Does the candidate’s DNA match the 3–5 non-negotiable criteria you’ve identified as “must haves” that match your organization’s DNA? List each criteria for scoring.

A candidate’s final score is an average of their competency and DNA scores. A 9 or 9+ is a proven rock star. A 7–8 blended score is a potential Rockstar and could be a great hire. Part ways with candidates below a 7. Wish them well. Don’t settle.

Consistently scoring your candidates during the hiring process will ultimately improve your organizational performance. Play to win! Keep score.