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Hiring Smart!: How to Predict Winners and Losers in the Incredibly Expensive People-Reading Game Paperback – October 7, 2003

34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


While there are many books that help select the best people, my top pick is HIRING SMART by Pierre Mornell. -- Publishers Weekly, July 28, 2003 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

PIERRE MORNELL is a psychiatrist who helps companies evaluate and hire key people. He has lectured in IBM’s Advanced Management Seminar and International Executive Programs; has acted as the first dean of the University Faculty for the Young Presidents Organization; and has led programs at the Stanford and Harvard business schools. He has served as a consultant to the presidents of organizations as diverse as Intuit, Kinko’s, Canada’s Northern Telecom, American Gold Corporation, Hellman & Friedman, and the Institute for the Future. Currently he speaks about executive evaluation and managing change at conferences worldwide, and writes a column on hiring people for Inc. magazine.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (October 7, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580085148
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580085144
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #844,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
In the course of the year, many business books pass across my desk, and HIRING SMART is one of the most memorable of 1998/1999. With skill and wit, Dr. Mornell transforms the seemingly dry topic of hiring into a primer on how to read people and, in the process, invest in your company's most valuable resource-- its people. His thesis -- that a mistake in hiring can exact a toll on a company not necessarily apparent in the short run, but potentially devastating in the long run -- is developed through examples culled from his years as a hiring consultant to major corporations.Dr. Mornell breaks down the fundamentals of the hiring process into easy-to-grasp stages, and most importantly for those charged with hiring responsibilities, equips the reader with the information needed to immediately implement his 45 techniques. No person involved in the hiring process should be without this resource!
I should add that the last reader's take on the book is a classic example of missing the forest for the trees -- the admittedly unconventional interview questions that he/she mentions appear in the appendix, and, as most critical readers would realize, are meant only to inspire out-of-the-box thinking, and not to be simply regurgitated. Regardless, they make up one-tenth of one percent of the book's content -- dismiss it on such grounds if you like, but you'll be missing out on a book that Tom Peters, Stephen Covey, and George Gendron (Editor-in-Chief of Inc.Magazine) have called the best hiring title on the market.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Texas Techie on January 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
I bought this book because it was written by a Psychiatrist and looked like a methodical, psychological approach to hiring. It is a good book, but it has some limitations.

The book is organized temporally by stages of the interview process. There are forty-five topics that present ideas for how to interview candidates at each stage. The book covers all the common interview processes, but also presents creative and original approaches that are intended to reveal personality or character. One example I really like is meeting the spouse. I have asked to go out to dinner with potential bosses and their spouses to see what kind of people they are (and they get to meet my wife, too, which has frankly been to my advantage).

Overall, the strategies presented are good, but many people would say they are too time consuming for use in hiring a lot of people. I would be surprised if a Fortune 500 company used the complete strategy for routine hires. But most of us are not hiring a lot of people, so that is not an excuse for not using good ideas. Hiring key people, such as executives, should be a methodical and careful process. So should hiring just one programmer to add to your six person team.

I have two concerns about the strategies presented. The first is that foreign-born people may respond differently than expected to psychological things. For example, if you ask some people the meaning of the phrase "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones," they will misunderstand the question because it is culturally linked. By the same token, one question in the book abstractly described playing the game Monopoly, but some people would not understand because they know nothing about parlor games.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 12, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Overall, the book is an easy read, literally (double spaced, 14 pt type?), the anecdotes are interesting and it will make a contribution by helping people think about the hiring process. The book offers 45 "strategies" which are more accurately activities. Most are conventional "#18: Identify strengths and weaknesses"; some are a bit off the beaten path, "#26: Travel with the candidate," and others are dubious, "#31: Use handwriting analysis." All of the "strategies" are practical and mostly useful, but if you're looking for something fundamentally new, it is not in this book.
The author focuses on finding reasons not to hire a candidate, the universal hiring/interview strategy. For example, exclude all candidates without cover letters or with resumes that have a typo or misspelling. (On that basis, the book should be ignored; mine had a typo on page 138 and virtually every page had a glue stain)
The limitation! to the book is its perspective. The book is written for, and from the perspective of an executive hiring from a position of strength. The hiring firm/executive sets the agenda, dictates the terms of the interaction, and commands performance. Only after the decision to extend an offer to a candidate is made is there any concern for their interests. A questionable approach for recruiting the best candidates.
Based on the recent publicity the book has received (Inc. Magazine & Harvard Management Update), anyone who is actively searching for a job should read the book as a defensive strategy. Anyone new to HR recruiting should also find it useful.
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38 of 47 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I recommend Del Still's High Impact Hiring. It presents a method for behavior-based interviewing and candidate assessment. Dr. Mornell's book emphasizes a series of techniques and situations where you basically infer a candidate's suitability by your own interpretation. Certainly not based on fact. Behavior-based interviewing is based on asking and querying a candidate's past performance and description of how she did her job, and drilling down to gather facts and data, rather than infering qualities about the candidate based on responses to tests. In any case, every author of these books starts by describing the high cost of a hiring mistake. But that doesn't mean that what necessarily follows will prevent you from making a mistake. A book like this is entertaining and full of anecdotes, but does not provide a well-thought of method for avoiding mistakes.
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