Hiring is not easy

Drake Editorial Team

Before conducting any interview, you first need to establish the objectives of the selection process. Interviewing should not be just about filling an open position. Anytime you have an opening to hire someone, you have an opportunity to build bench strength, organizational effectiveness and the opportunity to introduce fresh ideas and new insights into the organization, and it doesn’t matter what level in the hierarchy the opening exists. 


Consider the following key objectives of the selection process:

  1. To fill the immediate opening with an individual with the required skill sets.
  2. To build a talent pool for future job openings at higher levels in the organization. Promotion from within is a building block for unity, cohesiveness and the validation of respect for employees. Make sure you select the best based on not only current skill sets but also based on the future potential for individual growth.
  3. To ensure a cultural fit. Developing or maintaining a specific cultural identity should be a consideration. Teamwork and camaraderie are essential to success, and personality profiling can help you determine if the job candidate will “fit in” to your organization.


During the hiring and selection process, complete a job function analysis to determine if the current scope of authority and responsibility are in alignment with departmental and corporate objectives. It is very possible that these job requirements have changed based on the job function analysis. In fact, there are cases where the entire job has changed and even the person the job candidate reports to has changed.

During the selection process, HR handles all the initial screening of candidates based on the qualifications and skill sets outlined by the manager that the candidate will report to. A hiring team made up of the departmental supervisor, a Human Resources (HR) representative, and another departmental manager that has a stake in the functions that are performed by this particular job injects balance and insight into the hiring process.

Peer interviews of final candidates can also prove beneficial during the selection process. Consider the “team interview” approach when a job opening occurs. However, don’t overdo this and have six or seven people interviewing candidates. By the time a decision is made under that concept the candidate may well be long gone. Now, let’s face reality. Hiring the right individual, with the right skill set, that has the right attitude and the right personality to fit in can be one of the most challenging endeavours any manager will ever face.

Leveraging your chance of success by using the team approach, profile testing and seriously checking references helps. But, if you have several qualified candidates, it’s still often like flipping a coin. You just can’t be positive about your choice until you see the individual in action. Sometimes it takes months, even years to see the real person you hired and to know whether it’s a really good or really bad hire. Finding the really bad ones months after you have hired them can be extremely expensive.

Face it. What you are trying to accomplish in the selection process is to predict the way an individual will behave in the future in your environment working for a specific manager. The question that needs to be answered is ---- “How will this candidate perform on X job in department Y at your company. It is difficult to predict the future behaviour of any individual regardless of the testing, the interviews or the reference checking with a high degree of accuracy. However, if you study the environment that the individual will be working under and you have leaders, not just managers, in your organization that understand the concept of coaching and mentoring, and if you have done your homework on the individual candidate, then your odds of success improve dramatically.  

By the way, nobody ever provides a reference on a resume from someone that isn’t going to sing glowing praises about them. If you really want more realistic references, call the candidate’s former employers and ask to talk to someone in the department where the candidate worked. You may even be able to get some names while you are interviewing the candidate through casual conversation. Remember, prediction of a candidate’s future behaviour can be based on the assumption that people tend to behave consistently under similar circumstances. Knowledge of present and past behaviour is derived by asking the right questions during an interview and doing thorough and complete reference and back ground checks.


The Four Key Principles of a Successful Interview: 

Process: Know everything possible about the job requirements that need to be filled. Don’t depend solely on a written job description. Define the requirements for both good performance and exceptional performance. Try to anticipate the leadership skills required regardless of the level of responsibility of the position

Do your homework: Find out as much as possible about your final candidates. Check references (Including some not listed by the candidate if you can); do a back ground check; analyze the data on the application and the resume and collect as much data during the interviewing process as possible. Using the team approach for separate interviews allows you to collaborate and compare answers and opinions.

Match the candidate’s skills and qualifications: Match qualifications to the job requirements and evaluate the candidate’s future development potential. This process should utilize structured questions to solicit and evaluate the candidate’s level of skills that match the skill requirements of the particular job. 

Make your decision: And finally, make your decision based on the evaluation of all the data as well as the collaboration between the individual interviewers.

Reprinted with the permission of Rick Johnson, expert speaker, wholesale distribution's "Leadership Strategist, and founder of CEO Strategist, LLC.CEO Strategist helps clients create and maintain a competitive advantage. Contact Rick at rick@ceostrategist.com to speak at your next event. www.ceostrategist.com


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