I read your May Editor's Desk column ("Employers should model job recruiting after "American Idol," blogger says") with keen interest, as I've brought some of that "American Idol" hiring mentality to my current job and it's been a great success.

In late 2010, we were struggling to find a regional sales manager who could meet everyone's expectations. The perfect candidate needed to be an engineer, at the behest of our president; also be a sales professional, as dictated by our sales group; and possess knowledge of our products and customers, as requested by our business units.

I decided the only way we could get everyone's assessment and buy-in was to create a mock sales call scenario. We sent our top four candidates a request for proposal and created an internal panel to hear the presentations. Candidates were graded on their before presentation questions/requests for information, presentation style, ability to respond to questions and the presentation content. Each panelist had a scorecard and at the end of the presentations the team met and critiqued each candidate, ranking them 1-4. The two top scorers were brought back for another round of interviews, and at the end of the day we hired both!

While our hiring process overall is very drawn out but extremely thorough, I think adding this component allowed us to effectively measure how a candidate performs, instead of relying on the past successes and experiences. We've added this component to all of our managerial hiring and we have yet to find a candidate who didn't like it or refused to participate. Initially, there was some cynicism but, after the RSM experience, that quickly faded away and now managers are clamoring to be on the assessment teams.

Talent manager
La Grange, Ill.

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