Does Your Company's
Hiring Process Measure Up?
J.T. Taylor, M.A.
In Jim Collin's excellent book Good to Great his research team documents a powerful practice which top performing companies consistently practice - they only hire top talent. The hiring process these companies use results in the best people getting on the bus. Once they are on then they figure out where the bus should go and what roles each person should play. Most companies don't hire this way - and it shows.
The normal hiring process for most companies is to focus on a candidate's past work experience and skill set. The job interview might include a 15 - 30 minute initial screening, a follow up 30 - 45 minute interview with a representative from HR as well as the candidate's would be supervising manager and the obligatory reference check. This hiring process consistently produces a hit and miss track record. Most often the focus of these job interviews is on the skill set required for the current position. That can lead to problems.
For the vast majority of positions the talent is out there. However, the "skill set" criteria used in most job interviews eliminates many would be top performers. Let's face it, the skills for most jobs can be learned over time. And most people in most positions evidence a decent level of competence in the skill set required for their jobs. Skills can be learned. However the most important competency is much more difficult to amass on the job - character. And over the long haul character has more to do with top performance than skill.
Think about your most difficult employees. How is their attitude? Good? Positive? Probably not. How is their work ethic? Disciplined? Honest? How do they get along with others? Probably not so well. They may be great at what they do (skills) but it is everything else that makes them a poor employee.
Top talent can be driven away by these kinds of employees. So part of the mix to recruiting and retaining top performers is to get the right people on the bus in the first place and get the wrong people off the bus. Focusing on character with your job interview questions will increase your hit to miss ratio and load your company with positive, dedicated, team-oriented workers.
One approach our company has used to help our clients hire top performers is behavioral interviewing. This approach delineates the core competencies for the position and translates those into character measures. The candidate then is asked job interview questions which assess past performance across a wide range of their experiences (not just the jobs which fit with the open position). The candidate is scored in each area and a recommendation with projected strengths and challenges is made to the supervising manager. The supervising manager then takes over and hires the candidate he or she is most comfortable with. This job interview hiring process focuses primarily on character and secondarily on skill and produces measurably better results._______________________________________________________________