One of the key areas that keep my clients up at night is hiring and retaining top talent. It’s one of the biggest issues business owners and hiring managers have. It’s also exacerbated by the fact that there seems to be a large gap in the marketplace between the skills and talents companies are looking for and the talent currently available in the market. Furthermore, the cost of hiring the wrong person can be astronomical! Employee turnover, loss of customers, low morale, poor team performance, and legal issues are just a few of the things that you may have to contend with if you hire the wrong person. So, what can you do to make sure that you hire the right person?
In my experience, the key to hiring the right person comes down to answering 3 key questions:
Question #1 – Can They Do The Job?
While this seems like a simple question, it’s not. In an interview situation, most people will put their best foot forward and tell you want you want to hear. It’s also easy to overlook things during an interview when you are eager to fill a position. Additionally, the number one reason people get hired is because you like them! So, if the candidate has a good personality and you like them, it’s easy to miss things that will come back to haunt you later.
So, how do you avoid this? The key here is to have a clear job description, and map the key accountabilities for the position to the skill sets required to meet those requirements. Then you need to structure your interview in a way that allows you to test for those skill sets. For example, if you are hiring a sales person, have them actually sell you something. If it’s a customer service person you are interviewing, give them a real world situation and do a role play with them to see how they would handle it. By interviewing for behaviors vs. just asking questions, you’ll be able to see if they actually have the necessary skills to do the job.
Question #2 – Will They Do The Job?
Once you determine that they have the skills and talents to do the job, you have to figure out if they will actually be motived to do the job. They might have the perfect skill set, talent and background that you are looking for, but if they aren’t highly motivated, then you’re going to have problems. To get a better idea of what motivates them, you can ask some of the following questions:
- What motivated you to apply for this job?
- What are you passionate about?
- Why are you interested in this particular role and what are your expectations?
- How does this job fit within your long-term career aspirations?
- Who inspires you and why?
These are just a couple of questions that will give you a better idea of what their motivations are, and if the role and environment that you are providing aligns with their expectations.
Question #3 – Are They a Good Fit for The Team?
Now that you’ve assessed if they have the skills, talent, and motivation for the job, the last key is to determine if they’ll be a good fit on your team. The reality here is that you can make a rock star hire, and if they don’t mesh well with the team and aren’t a solid team player, that could spell disaster for you. Think Dennis Rodman. Great basketball player, fantastic defender and rebounder, and also a toxic team wrecker. I’m sure you can imagine what type of damage this hiring mistake might cause.
The key to avoiding this hiring mistake is to understand both your team and your culture. Have the people that will be working with this person interview them. Also, know your culture and ask yourself if this person’s personality will be a good fit. For example, if you are a “Midwest friendly” type company, hiring someone that’s “New York aggressive” probably isn’t going to be a good fit. Keep in mind the nature of the position as well. If you are hiring a sales person, for example, having a more aggressive goal-oriented style might be a plus, whereas a customer service position requires someone with a more non-emotional, people focused approach.
In my experience, even the best interviewers miss things. One best practice that you can use is once you’ve narrowed down your choices to your top two or three candidates is to use a good personality assessment to gain better insights into the candidates you are considering. Assessments allow you to get a deep understanding of how someone likes to work, their values and motivations, or why they do what they do, and even test for competencies and skill sets. You can even test for things like emotional intelligence and sales aptitudes. You can also use assessments to bench mark against your current team to see how they compare to your best employees, and if their personality will be a good fit for your team.
By answering these three key questions, and also leveraging a good assessment instrument tool, you’ll ensure that you’re hiring the right person for the job, and making the best decision for your business.