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How to Hire the Right Person

I need to hire someone new. How do I make sure I hire the best possible person for the position?

You are scared to death to hire in this economy, and with good reason. One of the scariest things a leader does is add a person to her team. When it goes well, hiring a new team member can be just what is needed to take the organization to the next level, hit the next milestone, and accelerate growth. 

When it goes poorly, however, the best case is that it will be a total and complete waste of time. Most likely the result is much worse… The new hire will have an overall negative impact on the existing team and instead of taking steps toward your mission, everyone will fall backward and lose ground. The situation will need to be rectified and that will cost thousands of dollars in time, energy, and expense.

Most of the time, leaders make these kinds of hiring decisions by using their instincts. Truth be told, I am a big believer in leadership instinct and at Kutsko Consulting, we believe that it is one of the ingredients in the hiring process. But, it can’t be the whole process. 

One of the major problems with hiring is that most of us tend to hire people we like and we tend to like people like us. When a leader hires a whole team of people like her, she misses out on the opportunity to add strength to the team that she does not have. So, how do we make sure we add someone to the team who is the best possible fit?

First of all, let’s define fit. Fit is often used when talking about a person’s performance, but there are many more layers to it than just one. We’ve found that there is the potential to fit in multiples areas: a person and their job, a person and their boss, a person, and their team. There is even a fit between how a person truly is and how they see themselves.

Most of the time, a person is not a good fit for the job they are in because the reality is that the job is not well defined and it changes all the time based on the whims of the boss. In an environment like this, it is almost impossible for a person to be a “good fit” unless they are a good fit for quickly adapting to constantly changing demands. 

That’s fine if that is what a job requires, and it needs to be clearly defined that way. So, first and foremost when defining fit the appropriate amount of care needs to be taken to accurately define the job. In addition to accurately defining the job, it is ideal that the culture of the team is also well understood, that the style of the boss is captured using valid and objective tools and that the other members of the team are also well-understood in key categories like behavior, motivation, soft skills, and emotional intelligence. 

The best way to objectively define a job is through the use of psychometric talent assessments. Some assessments are designed to measure people. Others can be used to define a job role so that a person can be compared to it to see how good of a fit they are. We call this a Job Benchmark. When you have a clearly defined, accurate Job Benchmark you can give applicants an assessment when they apply for a job and then you can compare the results of their assessment with the benchmark for the job they are applying for.

Our software then analyzes the level of match between the candidate and the job and provides a report comparing the two. Providing this objective data to a hiring team ensures that they are no longer left with only their gut and instincts to make mission-critical hiring decisions.

Here are the ideal steps in the process of hiring the right person:

  1. Assemble a group of people from your team who understand the job most fully and can accurately define success for the role. This helps to eliminate personal bias and get everyone on the same page. 
  2. Brainstorm with the group the top 3-5 reasons why the job exists and document them as statements of the job’s key accountabilities. 
  3. Rank each statement in order of priority. 
  4. Weight each statement based on how much time is spent on it in a typical week.
  5. Each member of the group will then complete an assessment using the Key Accountability Statements. The assessment is made up of multiple series of questions about the talent required for achieving superior performance at the job. 
  6. Combine the results from the group into a report summarizing everyone’s answers and averaging the scores.
  7. Review the results and make sure the group has buy-in.
  8. Advertise the job.
  9. Invite applicants to complete a talent assessment.
  10. Compare candidates to the Job Benchmark and gain a clear understanding of what parts of the job will come naturally, what parts will require more focus and effort, and what aspects of their talent they will need to develop and grow to be most effective.
  11. Choose the best candidate 
  12. Show them their talent report, the Job Benchmark, and the Gap report so that they can take ownership of their growth, development, and performance and make the impact necessary for you to get the value from them that the organization needs.

By following these steps you can avoid making a serious hiring mistake. Instead of going with your gut alone, you can add objective data about a candidate to your first impressions and instincts, their resume and your interview questions to make the best possible choice to add someone to your team who will truly be an asset and help you take the team where you know it can go.

Want to get a taste of how this could work on your team? Click here to schedule a quick call or click here to take a free team stress assessment.

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