Buy The Book: “How to Hire A-Players” by Eric Herrenkohl

Recruiting IT professionals has never been more challenging. The demand for solid performers is increasing while the skill set becomes more difficult for an individual to acquire, leading to a serious deficit of available talent.

As managers, we are judged largely on the success of our team, which means hiring and leading exceptional individuals. In an industry as fast paced as IT though, taking the right approach and ensuring we bring in the right individual, not just an available individual, is essential.

Last week I received approval to add an additional four resources to my team. I quickly finished up the job descriptions for our outstanding recruiting team, and sent them off to my manager for review.

Over the weekend, I needed to spend a significant amount of time at dance practice for my daughter. Since I knew I would be waiting around in the wings for a while, I grabbed “How to Hire A-Players” off the bookshelf and read it as I waited on my over-achieving daughter.

I finished it up this morning, and promptly sat down at my computer and deleted all four job descriptions I had written, determined to spend my Sunday getting them right. Any book that can motivate you to do that is worth reading… probably more than once.

“How to Hire A-Players” isn’t focused on the IT industry at all, in fact Eric spends much of the book examining hiring strategies for sales professionals & executives. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t relatable to IT. I found the majority of the book insightful and very relevant.

This 200 page book can be broken down into four sections:

  1. Establish what an A-Player is for your business
  2. Building an effective job description
  3. How to find an A-Player
  4. How to recruit an A-Player

For me, new recruits are not just people I’m hiring for a job, but ideally motivated professionals I’m bringing in to further their careers.

Reading through Eric’s book (which is actually a really good companion to “Good to Great” by Jim Collins), he places significant emphasis on efforts before you ever begin interviewing. I think that’s the real key to the genius of his book. It forces you to take a hard look at what your team really needs to succeed, take the time to develop a job description around that, and spend some quality time preparing to interview candidates. By the time you get to an actual interview, you should have already whittled down the candidate list to a select group of individuals. With a well-planned & organized interviewing strategy, you can quickly find the A-Players that will contribute and provide immeasurable value to your teams’ success.

“How to Hire A-Players” is available from most book sellers (it’s an Amazon bestseller), and his website (www.HowToHireAPlayers.com) is worth checking out as well.

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