Lou Adler is the CEO and founder of The Adler Group—a training and search company supporting hiring managers. He’s also the author of the Amazon top 10 bestseller, Hire With Your Head.
We spoke to him about his business, the novel he’s writing and his advice on recruitment.
Is the sound of the ocean. I live in Laguna Beach, California and my home is both where I live and where I work, but I grew up in the Bronx, so it’s a bit of a change of scenery living here.
I tell people I’m retired, but my typical day is still six hours of business-related work, plus a couple of hours on a research project I’m currently working on. And I still work six days a week!
I’ll typically start my day with two or three phone calls in the morning with clients. But if I don’t have calls scheduled, then my wife and I will go for a walk along the beach with our dog.
When we get back, I might deliver an online training session for a couple of hours. The company I run is a consulting and training business, helping hiring managers to better identify exceptional talent.
Most companies will say they have a problem finding the right candidates. But hiring problems can be eliminated by making one fundamental and simple change: replacing job descriptions with a list of performance objectives the new hire is expected to achieve.
Too often hiring managers eliminate people who could do the work but have a slightly different mix of skills and experience than what’s on the job spec. This implies that you must have a very particular set of skills and experience to be competent, motivated and capable in any job—but that’s not true.
The fundamental questions we ask are:
We make the contention that using skills and experiences as a filter as a criterion to hiring people is counterproductive.
Think about what person you want. What would an excellent person accomplish over the course of their first year working for you? Then we say: we will not compromise on that criteria.
What we’ll discover though is that when we find people who are competent and motivated, they’ll have a different mix of skills and experience to what you have on your person description. And all we ask is that you meet these people.
By focusing on performance you open the pool to more diverse candidates, high-potential candidates who always have less of the skills and experience. That’s why they’re high-potential because they learn fast and achieve more. So it seems illogical to exclude these people.
If the hiring manager’s not quite won over, we’ll A/B test. I’ll show them some people who are “performance qualified” and some people who are “skills qualified”, and they’ll see there’s very little overlap. Then they decide who they want. Once they see strong people who can do the work with a different mix of skills, they’re convinced.
Are just as busy as my mornings. Although, I always make sure to break for lunch and have something to eat with my wife. Then my afternoon’s spent with more calls and meetings helping to guide my clients.
If we haven’t been able to earlier in the day, we’ll make sure to get out and have a walk in the afternoon, breathe in the sea air. We definitely take advantage of where we live, although my wife and I also love to travel. We’ve just got back from a trip to Peru and we were in China last year.
After our walk, I might come home and write an article for our website or marketing channels. I try to write at least 2 or 3 a week.
I’ll often write in the evenings too, but for pleasure. I’ve written quite a few books—my most famous being ‘Hire With Your Head’, which was an Amazon bestseller.
I definitely make time to relax as well, however. My wife and I will usually have a glass of wine in the evenings and watch a program on Netflix. We’ve just finished watching UK drama ‘The Bodyguard’ with Keeley Hawes and Richard Madden—that was phenomenal.
Then we’re off to bed. I often think about my novel and the characters in it while I’m lying there. Usually how one of them is going to get out of a dilemma. I can never quite figure it out and thinking about it puts me straight to sleep.