“Where is the Person I Hired?”

We have all been here. The bright smiling man with years of industry experience suddenly turns into an underperforming whiner. The smart, easy going woman with passion and energy disintegrates into the difficult, non-compliant person who challenges your every direction. The frustration can be overwhelming.

Before you begin to hire, there are three key points to consider.

  1. Understand the role. Gather a circle of people who truly grasp the role; those who currently hold it, manage it or reap the benefits of its success. Ask them, “If the position could talk what would it say?” What attributes are required for success? What will lead to failure? What is the true purpose of this position? You will be surprised at the divergence of opinions.
  2. Acknowledge your real expectations of the position. Given your culture and structure, what is realistic? Given the market and industry, what will you expect and how soon? Will this person need to be aggressive, assertive, a team-player or a rainmaker? To succeed, what will motivate them; bonus or security; structure or freedom? One person cannot possess all attributes. Who are you looking for?
  3. Slow down; recognize the cost of a poor hire. This is not the time to hurry up and hire somebody! Consider the cost of failure; it is estimated to be 10-14 times their salary. There is also the soft cost of bad hires. You may gain a reputation for hiring and firing; a difficult culture and not worth the cost to apply.

Only now are you ready to begin hiring. Follow the three step process:

  1. Use a tried and true profiling assessment. Any professional profile that has excellent record of success will work. Though it should be only 1/3 of the hiring decision. It will provide a basis for a second and third interview. For instance, if you are searching for a rainmaker and the profile indicates a low sense of urgency and competitiveness, the interview questions should focus on specific past successes and how they were accomplished.
  2. Consider the resume and references as propaganda. Applicants are skilled in interviewing and often have professional help with resumes. References are usually people who have been asked to provide positive feedback or are so carefully worded that they are of little use in identifying future success
  3. Interview often and expertly. This leaves you, the hiring manager with the task of peeling back the onion. My recommendation is to interview each candidate at least twice, include others in the process and become an expert at interviewing. Once you identify from the resume and profile, any areas of concern, you can focus your questions to determine if these areas are a deal breaker. Will this candidate feel valued in this position? Does he or she possess the attributes necessary for success? Does your company culture match the value system of the candidate? How much time will they need to get up to speed? What resources will I need to dedicate to their success?

Our day-to-day work lives are hectic, exciting and chaotic. Often, we must choose between two very important tasks. It is easy to delegate this, slide through the steps or just “fill the position.”

Hiring the right person with the right values, passions and attributes that match those required to succeed in your position is too critical to be even a little careless.