While I am not a certified human resources professional, I have had several opportunities throughout my career to screen, interview, and hire employees. I hired my first employee in 1991 and have gone through the process of finding the ‘right’ candidate several times since then.
Although my background is geared towards science, research and development, and market development, my experiences of selecting qualified personnel has led me to become quite familiar in the process.
The following four suggestions will convey my observations about the hiring process and explain how you can ensure the quality of your next hire. Through sound hiring practices and implementing risk reduction systems, you will be able to confidently hire your next employee(s).
1. Quality: Develop Formalized Screening and Scoring Systems
The key here is that by writing down your candidate selection criteria, it helps you to identify the specific qualities you’re looking for.
My first hiring experience came as a manager working with the federal government. Of course, the government’s hiring process is very equitable. If you are or were a civil servant, you already know that one of the basic tenets of government is to demonstrate fairness and show no bias.
The standard process of hiring for government positions is to develop a screening/scoring system before looking for candidates. As a manager, your documentation must show that you stuck to this system throughout and considered all applicants. The decision to hire someone, therefore, is rarely based on personal judgement and more based on the candidate’s experience and aptitude for the position.
After using the government system several times, I can safely say it works quite well!
The key here is that by writing down your candidate selection criteria, it helps you to identify the specific qualities you’re looking for. I am not sure that this is the best system I have used over the years, but I will say that establishing a baseline scoring system for any candidate selection process is key to any hiring method.
2. Risk Reduction: Hire Candidates You’ve Already Seen Perform
From my experiences, I’ve found that hiring who you have already seen perform a task is the best way of acquiring an effective employee.
The benefit of this approach is fairly obvious. If you see some someone in action, you should have a good idea of how they will do as a new employee in your organization. As long as you are ethical, (no poaching talent!) this is one of the best ways to finding a quality employee.
Caution: While it is important to like the person you hire, make sure that they will be a good fit for the job and your organization. Think of how that employee’s personality will mesh in your organization and be sure they are among the most qualified people for the position. Hiring exclusively based on your relationship with that employee could:
- Blind you from choosing a more qualified employee that would ultimately provide greater benefits to your company;
- Cause performance evaluations to become skewed; and
- Cause personal and professional distress if the employee needs to be disciplined or terminated.
3. Quality: Use Psychological Testing to Develop a Better Understanding of Job Candidates
Personally, I have not used psychological testing for hiring, but I have been on the receiving end of such testing for a few of my recent job pursuits. My view is that psychological tests should not be the extent of an effective hiring process, but they may help improve your assessment of some of key aspects I mentioned earlier.
The most common testing methods currently being used by hiring managers include:
- Personality Testing: There are simple and complex versions of these tests, however most seek to identify an applicant’s personality in the workplace. A common version of this test is the DISC assessment, which measures the emotional state of candidates through their (D)ominance, (I)nducement, (S)ubmission, and (C)ompliance.
- Aptitude (Situational) Testing: These are considerable more straight-forward than personality tests and may yield different results. At the root of these tests, candidates are measured based on how they would react in certain situations. While easy to administer, the results of these tests will not be as accurate as personality testing.
Related Blog: The Factors Most Relevant to Predicting Performance – Rather than assessing a candidate’s intelligence quotient (IQ), business leaders should evaluate a candidate’s emotional quotient (EQ) to understand how they will fit and perform within your organization.
4. Risk Reduction: Look for Maturity Among Job Candidates
Heads Up: This is where I and others I know have made the biggest hiring mistakes.
Maturity is not necessarily a matter of age; maturity is something akin to the difference between being book smart and street (or life) smart. Being able to read and measure the maturity of a job candidate will help you, as a manager, avoid stress and reduce the time needed to manage that particular employee.
Think: Will the employee need constant supervision to ensure they’re doing the job correctly?
How can one detect maturity during the hiring process? Simply keep maturity at the top of your mind, especially during the interview. Use aptitude tests (see my previous point) and think of questions that might say something about a candidate’s capacity to use sound judgement. The key point in this strategy is to understand how a candidate will manage tasks on their own.
Choosing the Best Employee for Your Position
Hiring is not easy. As you continue to hire people over your career, you will likely find that someone you selected (who interviewed well) turned out to be a less effective employee than anticipated. Likewise, someone who might not have interviewed as well could have (in hindsight) been a better choice.
More important than a confidence and smooth talking during an interview, I look for someone who shows aptitude for the job, shows evidence of maturity, poise, and fits well with the rest of the organization.