How Bird Dogs Can Help You Hire Employees Who Possess Attention to Detail

BY C. Lee Smith
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Employees who possess attention to detail. We all know it’s important for some jobs, especially if you’re launching a satellite. Did you know there are different levels of attention to detail? Chris Denny, author of Improve Attention to Detail, explained what managers need to know about this topic during a recent Manage Smarter podcast. If you want to learn how attention to detail relates to bird dogs, keep reading.

Denny defines attention to detail as “using your cognitive, your mental resources efficiently in order to identify and process the relevant elements of an issue or problem or concern at hand.”

Contrast of Attention to Detail

In everyday dealings, most people use what Denny calls contrast of attention to detail. In these situations, there is one solution to a project or a problem. For example, when you add up a column of numbers, you can only get one right answer. If you don’t get the right answer, your attention to detail at this level needs work.

Analytical Attention to Detail

Some of your employees are accustomed to working in gray areas. When selling to a prospect, they may have two or three ways to pitch a solution. To get to the best solution, they’ll need to analyze their options. For these positions, you’ll want to hire employees who possess attention to detail with respect to analytics.

Additive Attention to Detail

Are you looking for team members to develop new product ideas and services? Your answer to this question should always be yes. And, to be successful, you need employees who have the ability to look at your current offerings in new ways. Can they see an extension to your product line? And can they visualize how it would work? If so, you’ve got the team you need.

Hiring for Attention to Detail

Managers know they need to who employees who possess attention to detail for certain positions. To find the right person, Denny uses the bird dog test. When people apply for one of his jobs, they’ll encounter a description explaining that attention to detail is important. In that description, Denny also includes a specific instruction. He asks applicants to mention the phrase bird dog in their cover letter. The applicants who fail to follow those instructions show that they aren’t detail-​oriented and are immediately excluded from consideration. You can also use a sales competency assessment to determine which candidates possess the skills you're looking for.

In your general work environment, you can set the standard you expect when it comes to attention to detail. If you are sloppy with your office messaging system, you show your team members that you don’t value perfect grammar. That attitude can easily spread to client communications. A team member may believe it’s fine to be casual and informal with a good client. But do they really have the judgment to determine which client is receptive to casual communications? And what if the casual attitude extends beyond communications and team members fail to give clients the detailed kind of answer they expect?

To head off these problems, act and communicate precisely. Emphasize that you value employees who possess attention to detail and your team members will follow your lead.