The WHO Method is a strategy developed by authors Randy Street and Geoff Smart in their book “Who: The A Method for Hiring.” The goal of the WHO Method is to build a team of “A players” for an organization.
Smart and Street studied statistics and conducted a study to learn more about what makes a candidate a higher performer. The authors compiled their findings to write the book and create the method.
The four steps of the WHO method are 1) Scorecard, 2) Source/Search, 3) Interview, and 4) Grade/Select.
A hiring scorecard is also called an interview scorecard. By creating a scorecard, the hiring team standardizes the hiring process so that each qualified candidate is given the same treatment. Equally important, the scorecard ensures that the hiring team can judge a candidate based on the candidate’s fit with the position.
Scorecards include these elements:
Mission: The job mission outlines what you want in the person you hire for the position.
Competencies: The competencies added to the scorecard should be those that a candidate can use to perform the job duties effectively.
Outcomes: Outcomes should specifically define what the employee should accomplish in a given time period.
The next step in the WHO Method involves searching for candidates. Before the search begins, an employer should evaluate and improve job postings and descriptions, along with recruitment methods. Ideally, companies have a talent pool or candidate pool in place so they have a ready supply of qualified candidates.
Sourcing can involve employee referrals, a recruiting team, and posting positions on niche job sites.
Once qualified candidates have been sourced and you have eliminated candidates that don’t meet the criteria needed for the position, the interview process begins. With the WHO Method, there are typically five interviews. Every candidate is asked the same set of questions.
Phone interview: The initial interview is conducted via a phone call. The phone interview allows a recruiter or hiring manager to screen candidates to determine if they should move ahead in the interview process.
WHO interview: The WHO interview takes place either in person or via a video interview. In this interview, the candidate reviews their entire job history from the past 10 years.
Skills interview: The skill interview (or skill-will interview) measures a candidate’s skillsets to determine if they align with an organization’s needs.
Compatibility interview: In the compatibility interview, the candidates are introduced to the entire team they will be working with, and the team members have the chance to ask their own questions. The compatibility interview is sometimes called a cultural fit interview. However, companies should be careful using that term because it can imply that there isn’t active recruitment for diversity.
Reference interview: The last interview is with the candidate’s employment references. The hiring manager asks questions about how the candidate performed with the reference’s company.
The last step of the WHO Method is grading the candidates, then selecting the person the company wants to hire. The hiring scorecards are used to do unbiased grading based on the candidate pool’s performance, qualifications, and skills.
In the WHO interview, a candidate elaborates on every piece of their employment history chronologically. One way the hiring manager can prepare candidates for the WHO Method is to outline in the phone interview exactly what the process entails. This will give the candidates time to compile answers about their work history and skills.
refers to an interview that is conducted one-on-one with a hiring manager and a candidate.
refers to interviews in which all candidates are asked the same questions. With a structured interview, there is a systematic approach that ensures equity, and candidates are scored using a scorecard.