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How to Score High-Performers in a Post-COVID Talent Pool

Jessica Welch
Wednesday, Apr 07, 2021

This time last year, CEOs across many industries were hit with a hard reality—let go of talented employees or watch their company go under. Many thought it would be temporary and they’d be able to hire their talent back on within months. However, the COVID-19 pandemic persisted and over a year later companies are finally able to return to some form of normalcy. 

With organizations adapting to the changes in their industry there’s an overall feeling that the game of catch-up has come to an end. This newfound stability means rehiring. If your team lost valuable members because of the pandemic, Mike Sarraille and George Randle can guide you in finding high-performers to fill the talent gaps. In their bestseller, The Talent War: How Special Operations and Great Organizations Win on Talent, they layout 3 principles for hiring. 

Sarraille and Randle draw on their experience serving as a Special Operations Officer and an Army Officer to decipher what it takes to build resilient, high-performing teams. They’ve turned their ability to identify potential into a science. By following these 3 pieces of advice during the hiring process, you’ll win elite employees in a competitive post-COVID rehiring war. 

Hire for character, not skills. 

As a U.S. Navy SEAL, Sarraille watched commanders recruit teams of novices. He learned that elite teams were not made up of candidates who already knew how to jump out of planes or snipe their target. Those are all things they learned once they were a part of the elite forces, but to expect a new candidate to come into boot camp with this knowledge would be crazy. 

Instead, the select few invited to join a SEAL team were chosen for their resilience, drive, and integrity. If you hire someone who shows potential, all the necessary skills can be taught. Training new employees to use Slack is much easier than ensuring they will hold themselves accountable or meet deadlines. 

Hire for the unforeseen.

When you hire for character you’re setting up your team to be unstoppable. If push comes to shove and there is immense pressure weighing on your office, someone who can dig deep and preserve will be much more integral to the team than someone who knows how to navigate Google Drive. 

Hiring for the unforeseen means hiring someone who has resilience built into them. Finding a team member who is committed to your company’s mission and has the capability to motivate not only themselves but also your team, will take your workforce to the next level despite any unforeseen challenges. 

Let your A-player do the interviewing. 

The best way to detect top talent is to have your top-performers look for it. Take inventory of your staff and identify current employees who exemplify drive, resilience, and integrity. These are your A-players. Randle suggests you include your A-players in the interviewing process—even if they work in a different department. This interviewer will be able to sniff out candidates with similar ideals, regardless of past relevant work experience. 

In The Talent War, as well as their keynote speaking, Randle and Sarraille dive deeper into these principles. They’ll show you how to ask the right questions to uncover whether your candidate has these key traits. Plus, they’ll walk you through how a productive interview should be set up to help you find your next high-performer. 


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