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Hiring and Keeping the Best People Paperback – January 2, 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Harvard Business Essentials The Reliable Source for Busy Managers The Harvard Business Essentials series is designed to provide comprehensive advice, personal coaching, background information, and guidance on the most relevant topics in business. Drawing on rich content from Harvard Business School Publishing and other sources, these concise guides are carefully crafted to provide a highly practical resource for readers with all levels of experience. To assure quality and accuracy, each volume is closely reviewed by a specialized content adviser from a world class business school. Whether you are a new manager interested in expanding your skills or an experienced executive looking for a personal resource, these solution-oriented books offer reliable answers at your fingertips.
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Product Details

  • Series: Harvard Business Essentials
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (January 2, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157851875X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578518753
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #901,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
This one of the volumes in the new Harvard Business School Essentials Series. Each offers authoritative answers to the most important questions concerning its specific subject. The material in this book is drawn from a variety of sources which include a Peter Cappelli article on market-driven retention in the Harvard Business Review and various other articles published in Harvard Management Review Update as well as the hiring module found in Harvard ManageMentor®, an online service. Each volume is indeed "a highly practical resource for readers with all levels of experience."
Peter Cappelli served as subject advisor to Richard Luecke, writer of this and other books in the Harvard Business School Essentials Series and author or developer of more than 30 other books as well as several dozen articles. As Luecke notes in the Introduction, Bradford Smith completed a study of 54 U.S. companies and learned that the average managerial "mis-hire" costs a company 24 times the individual's base compensation. How can that be possible? "Smith points to all the usual suspects" (the mis-hire's compensation and cost of maintenance, the initial hiring costs, severance expenses, the costs associated hiring and training a replacement," etc.) but the biggest cost...is the cost of the mistakes, failures, and missed opportunities that result from having the wrong person in a management position over several years."
The material in this volume is carefully organized within seven chapters, followed by three appendices which provide a sample job description and targeted interview questions as well as discussion of various "legal landmines" in hiring. Each chapter is introduced by a list of "Key Topics" to be covered in it and concludes with a brief Summary.
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Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book because it is full of solid advice without ever becoming pretentious or claiming to provide anything revolutionary. The book provides a five-step process for hiring that will help you keep from tripping yourself up and even provides some helpful forms to use during interviewing and evaluation. The guidance on where to look for employees and that it is better to have fewer quality candidates than an ocean of unqualified folks is quite good.

The emphasis the book places on retention also strikes the right balance between keeping the best employees, keeping the most key employees (not the same thing), and cost. Not every employee has equal value to the company, nor does every position. Talent development is another topic that can help companies get more out of what they already have.

The book also discusses why culture matters and why trying to hire against your culture makes everyone worse off. How to handle problem employees and why HR needs to be involved in every termination is quite helpful. Basically, hiring and especially firing are so regulated that a single mistake can open you up to disruptive and expensive legal action.

When the discussion of hiring former employees came up, frankly, I cheered. I completely agree with what the authors say. When an former employee comes back it sends a strong message to other employees that leaving might not be the great experience they thought and they might be underestimating what it is they already have. Plus, the former employee may bring back experience that could be valuable.

A solid and concise guide to the employment of great people.

Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Ann Arbor, MI
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Format: Paperback
This book, part of the Harvard Business Essentials series, packs a huge amount of valuable information about hiring and retaining a great workforce into 200-odd pages. If more companies followed its five-step hiring process, not only would talented employees face greater competition for their services, companies would get better staffers and the fit of workers to their jobs would improve. The book demonstrates an awareness of the realities of diversity in the modern workplace and the expectations employees have about work-life balance. The writing is clear and concise, and avoids jargon. We recommend this handy guide to anyone involved in the hiring and retention process.
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