How to Hire the Right People to Grow and ThriveNov 30, 2020
What percentage of the people that you’ve hired would you gladly rehire? Increasing your hiring success rate is a recruitment strategy that will improve greatly improve your business success.
Have you ever hired someone who had the desire and made an effort but just wasn’t “the right fit”? Regardless of your training, development, and management efforts, they were in the wrong role. These are the people you want to avoid hiring! Likewise, have you ever hired someone who “just gets it,” wants to succeed, and makes an effort? Even without the ideal training, development, and management, they overcome the obstacles and succeed.
Hiring the right people is a recruitment best practice that is critical to your ability to scale and to make more money with less stress. When you study recruitment industry best practices and success, there are basic formulas that apply. Some of these formulas are science (objective, measurable, can be taught) and some art (subjective, not measurable, that are developed through personal experience. The key to hiring success is to separate the art and science pieces and then to execute each one well. Otherwise, you’ll fall back on “gut feel,” which is directly related to much you like the person. Liking a person may have nothing to do with how well they would perform in a job.
Three primary aspects determine fit. When you get each of these right, you can execute an effective and repeatable hiring process. This assures a high probability of new hire success that allows you to scale without the disruption of frequent poor hires.
1. The right “innate characteristics/wiring” for your position. This is the way people tend to behave when they are “being themselves” (where they naturally want to put their attention and energy). For example being good at and enjoying detail-oriented, repetitive work. To determine which innate characteristics are critical for success, take an objective view of the specific behaviors, a person would display to excel in the job. These are the traits you want to measure. When work aligns well with innate characteristics, people operate in their “genius zones” and enjoy what they do. Since these traits tend to remain stable through our lifetimes, they’re the first area to screen for fit.
2. The right “character & values for your position: These traits are developed over time and include things like work ethic, honesty, respectfulness to others, impulse control, grit, and resilience. Character & values are subject to change if the person really wants to change. It’s reasonable to expect some change due to the impact of company behavioral norms and seeing the benefits of changing. However, it’s wise to avoid hiring people with significant gaps between desired and actual character & values.
When your culture aligns well with a person’s character & values, you’ll have a good culture fit. A person who is a high-producer but a poor culture fit will almost always bring more negatives than positives. Most people who’ve tolerated “bad behavior” to keep a high biller have learned this lesson!
3. Adequate skills and experience for your position: Skills and experience are learned while the other factors are either innate or more challenging to change. Thus, you can usually flex more here than in the other two areas. Get clear on the skills & experience people must “walk-in” with v.s. learn. If you require somebody who has ”solid sourcing experience,” write out what this means to you with clear specifics (for example, skilled at doing Boolean searches on LinkedIn and screening profiles to determine fit with job requirements).
How to objectively assess fit
Let’s address a dirty little secret: most people believe they’re better at gauging people’s characteristics than they really are. Humans are loaded with “cognitive biases” that impair our ability to be objective with other people. This article is intended to help you implement a process to offset the pull that these biases will exert. Below are specific ways to accomplish this task for each of the three primary aspects of fit.
- To gauge “innate characteristics/wiring” for your position: use a quality assessment tool. It’s best to use a tool that looks below the surface behaviors to identify what’s actually driving these behaviors. Most assessments fall short in this area.
- To assess “character & values for your position: develop good, open-ended interview questions to gauge these traits as objectively as possible. One approach is to think of typical situations that occur in your company and build the questions around these. Develop your questions in advance, have them written out, and take good notes. The most successful hiring managers don’t wing it!
- To gauge “skills and experience”: develop quality, open-ended interview questions that people can’t fake their way through. Think of actual situations where they will use the required skills in your firm. Build questions around “how,” “what,” and “why,” and, of course, take good notes.
Below are some key points to put the above principles into action so that you hire top-performers and minimize bad hires:
- It’s usually more effective to hire people who possess the desired innate characteristics and character & values and then training people to develop the required skills & experience. You cannot count on hiring people who are “ready-made” to walk in and perform.
- It’s wise to have others interview the people you are interested in if possible. We all have blind spots, so it’s helpful to have people who are different than us weigh-in.
- Don’t assume that a person will succeed with you just because they were successful in a different company or have excellent references. The traits that caused them to succeed in one environment may be what causes them to fail in yours.