The Hiring Manager Interviews: Patrick Tisdale Shares His Techniques for Sussing Out Candidates

The CIO of Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe always asks about a candidate's past work environments, community service and work-life balance concerns.

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Have you ever hired someone whom you liked but your staff did not?

I don’t think so. If I were to force a candidate into the organization, the candidate would start with an unlevel playing field and would have a hard time succeeding because they wouldn’t be fully supported and accepted by the organization.

When you’re evaluating your reports, do you consider how well they’ve hired their staff?

Yes. Attrition under a particular manager is something that doesn’t get enough thought. A wise person that I once worked for told me he had figured out how to assess leadership. He explained that it was the attrition rate of an organization’s leaders compared with the attrition rate of the organization—or industry—as a whole. It made a lot of sense: If you have people leaving your organization because they’re not getting coaching, don’t see a career path or aren’t being communicated with about their performance, that’s a failure of leadership. If a person is not being challenged, not being paid to market, not being rewarded or incented, you as a leader have an obligation and the ability to influence your firm’s institutional polices that might be negatively affecting retention. Therefore, a leader’s retention and attrition rate is a good metric for evaluating his or her effectiveness.

One of the hiring manager’s responsibilities is to take ownership of how the hired employee begins to perform, particularly over the first 90 to 120 days. If they’re not where you expect them to be at 90 to 120 days, be sure to give the person some coaching. At no more than six to nine months, recalibrate whether you and the candidate were on the same page during the hiring process regarding the cultural expectations of the organization. If you’re not, the best thing you can do is help them move into another environment where they’ll fit.

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