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The Resilient Recruiter

Jun 23, 2022

If you want to make more (and better) placements, you owe it to yourself to study “Performance-based Hiring.” The creator of Performance-based Hiring is Lou Adler, and I’m excited to have him on the podcast to learn from his four decades of recruitment experience.

In our interview, you will hear Lou’s philosophy on figuring out the “performance objectives” for each role, instead of simply focusing on the skills that are needed. Lou’s models, examples and anecdotes are rich with insights for agency recruiters who want to gain the respect of hiring managers and get better results for their clients. 

With over 40 years in the recruiting industry, Lou's company ‘The Adler Group’ has trained over 40,000 hiring managers and placed over 1500 executives for many of the fastest-growing companies with clients including Disney, General Dynamics and Paycom. Lou has over 1.4 Million followers on Linkedin and is one of the top bloggers on LinkedIn’s Influencer program writing about the latest trends in hiring, employment, and recruiting. His articles and research have also been featured in Inc. Magazine, Business Insider, Bloomberg, SHRM, and The Wall Street Journal.

Lou is the author of ‘The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired’ and the Amazon top-10 best-seller, ‘Hire With Your Head - Performance-Based Hiring to Build Outstanding Diverse Teams.’ 

Episode Outline and Highlights

  • [1:24] Lou’s fascinating story of how he became an executive recruiter.
  • [6:46] The concept of “applicant control.”
  • [9:30] How to become a thought leader in your recruitment niche.
  • [12:46] What is the “One Question Interview?”
  • [22:30] Get the respect and co-operation of hiring managers and other stakeholders with the Challenger Sales Model.
  • [33:45] Lou shares his insights on Performance-Based and Evidence-Based Hiring.
  • [37:00] Lou discusses the one-question interview with the analogy of peeling an onion.
  • [43:01] How the performance-based approach can increase candidate engagement.
  • [48:40] What is the most important piece of technology in recruitment?

The Sherlock Holmes of Recruitment

Lou has had a diverse experience in his career, from becoming a nuclear missiles engineer to running manufacturing companies as a financial analyst. It is in recruitment that he found his calling. Lou’s background gave him a unique perspective when he joined the industry. This led him to invent what’s now known as the ‘Performance-based Hiring' model. In this interview, you will hear out-of-the-box ideas that you may find useful in your own recruiting practice. Some of these are:

  • Performance-based Hiring
  • Evidenced-based Hiring
  • The One-Question Interview
  • Challenger Sales Model

His insights are invaluable and I am sure you will find them beneficial.

Ask the Right Questions

Lou is famous for the concept of the “One Question Interview.”  

You will hear the interesting story of how Lou came up with this idea. The logic behind it is very straightforward - how would a candidate identify broken processes? How would the candidate solve it? What has the candidate accomplished comparable to how he responded to the two previous questions? Lou used the analogy of peeling an onion when describing this approach which is the basis of the evidenced-based and performance-based hiring. In fact, the process can be outlined as follows:

  1. Figuring out the performance objectives
  2. Having the candidate present what they accomplished
  3. Having the candidate present evidence of what they have accomplished

It does make sense that this pragmatic approach can increase the probability of hiring the right candidate by focusing on accomplishments without emotional bias.

The Most Important Piece of Technology in Recruitment

You may also be intrigued with Lou’s perspective on the most critical piece of technology in recruitment. With Lou having around 1.4m followers on the platform, is it LinkedIn? Is it high-end CRM platforms? Here is what Lou said:

“I did my last LinkedIn Talent Connect where I have thousands of people there. They talked all about this great technology. So I spoke in the afternoon to a sub-group… and I said ‘you know there is one piece of technology that nobody talked about. As far as I am concerned it is the most important and nobody… it is right here. It is the phone. You got to talk to people. To me, high-tech is not going to cut it. You got to combine the best of high-tech with high-touch.”

Our Sponsors

This podcast is proudly sponsored by i-intro and Recruitment Entrepreneur.

i-intro® is an end-to-end retained recruitment platform. Our technology and methodology allow recruiters to differentiate themselves from the competition, win more retained business, bigger fees and increase their billings. Be sure to mention Mark Whitby or The Resilient Recruiter for a 25% discount. Book your free, no-obligation consultation here:


Recruitment Entrepreneur is the world’s leading Private Equity firm specializing in the international recruitment industry. If you’ve dreamed of starting up or scaling up and exiting your recruitment business, this is your chance. James Caan and his team at Recruitment Entrepreneur are actively seeking ambitious recruiters who they can invest in. Start a conversation here:

Lou Adler Bio and Contact Info 

Lou Adler is the CEO and founder of Performance-based Hiring Learning Systems – a consulting and training firm helping recruiters and hiring managers around the world source, interview and hire the strongest and most diverse talent. Lou is the author of the Amazon top-10 best-seller, Hire With Your Head (John Wiley & Sons, 3rd Edition, 2007), The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired (Workbench Media, 2013) and the Performance-based Hiring video training program (2016). His current “Diversity Hiring without Compromise” initiative is focused on developing a colourblind hiring process that ensures the best people get hired regardless of race, religion, age, sexual preference and physical challenges.

Lou is one of the top bloggers on LinkedIn’s Influencer program writing about the latest trends in hiring, employment, and recruiting. His articles, quotes and research can now be found in Inc. Magazine, Business Insider, Bloomberg, SHRM and The Wall Street Journal. The company’s new mobile-ready learning platform – Win-Win Hiring Learning Systems – provides instant access to all of the tools needed to find and hire outstanding talent.

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