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Keys to Your Success - Hire the Best!

(posted: Jul, 2014)

You have a small team, and every member is critical to your organization. When it's time to hire another employee, do you know how to make a guaranteed good hire, or even a great hire? You need to hire the best possible employee.

Overall, the numbers aren't in your favor. According to the Leadership IQ survey, 46% of new hires fail within 18 months. In 89% of those failures, attitude problems were the primary issue. Only 11% of those who failed did so because of skill issues. It's easier to screen for skills than for attitude.

What Does a Bad Hire Cost You?

In a recent Career Builder survey, 42% of companies reported that a bad hire cost them at least $25,000 in the past year, and 25% reported a loss of at least $50,000.

The costs of replacing a bad hire aren't just the time and expense to find the next one. Those are minor compared to the toll that terminating that bad hire takes on your time, energy and your organization in general. A bad hire can wreak havoc on productivity and morale, and ultimately impact your customers.

Even with all of these potential roadblocks, you can hire well.

How To Hire Top Talent

First and foremost, we establish an agreement with our clients to follow our hiring process from start to finish. This is critical.

Some hiring managers use previous hiring practices that are counter to ours. It is not unusual for them to rely heavily on first impressions, and they will favor those candidates who can talk a good game or who they like from a personality standpoint. Behavioral fit with the manager and the organization is certainly important, but basing a hiring decision on first impressions and likability doesn't correlate to success in the job. Gaining commitment from the hiring manager to understand and fully participate in our methods is the first step in our process.

Performance Profile

Our next step is to develop a Performance Profile that defines the actual work that needs to be done. Clarifying job expectations up front as a series of performance objectives expands the talent pool to everyone capable of doing the work, including high potential candidates.

It's important that the client be closely involved in creating this profile. We start by asking a top employee would accomplish in the first three, six and twelve months in the job. We use the SMART format to clarify expectations. Then we ask the "how" and "what" questions:

  • How will a top candidate accomplish those goals?
  • How will they overcome obstacles to success?
  • How will they function and fit in the organization?
  • What attributes will they need for success?

Sort of the opposite side of the same coin, is the next step.

Define the Value of the Position: Employee Value Proposition

Again, working closely with you, we develop a written document with the elements that make this position desirable to a top candidate who will have multiple options to choose from. This answers such questions as:

  • Why should they leave their current job?
  • What can you offer them besides the short-term pay increase or a nice office?
  • Could this position be a smart career move with longer-term impact for the candidate?

As much as your candidates need to sell themselves to you, you need to sell your job to them.

Identify All Best Candidates

Most of the top talent for your open position is currently employed in other positions and not actively looking for new jobs. We locate these passive candidates through our extensive referral network, LinkedIn, and other sources.

We pursue these candidates by focusing on longer-term motivators, such as the career enhancement opportunities and the challenges of the position.

For the active job seekers, we develop creative ads that clearly state expected accomplishments. This tends to deter candidates who don't see themselves making the cut.

Interview and Select Based on Performance

Candidates are screened and selected on their ability and motivation to do the actual work required through examples of comparable past performance. The performance profile is used here, when we review with the candidate the most important accomplishments expected of an employee in this role.

We ask the candidates to describe similar accomplishments and to provide specific information on results, the time frame, etc. We dive deep into how they achieved these accomplishments, giving them the opportunity to expand and explain. This gives us a clear picture of which candidate will be a top performer in the job and successful in the organization.

Fact-based Selection and Closing

We use a formal debriefing process in which interviewers use evidence to justify their rankings - not feelings, emotions or biases. The thumbs- up or down approach is banned. We use a formal scorecard to capture the information and facilitate the final decision. We also verify references and complete any required background checks.

On-boarding That Accelerates Performance

We speed the new employee's integration into the organization through a coaching session with the DiSC profile. We provide the hiring manager and the employee insights into their most effective communication, management and work styles including what they need and what motivates them to be their most productive selves and enjoy what they do.

No two people are alike, so we highlight differences to watch and possible action steps. This can accelerate the new hire's progression into their role by 2 to 3 months.

It's Okay to Ask For Help

Hiring can be an incredibly challenging process, but it's critical to your success, and when you get the right person on the team, it's incredibly rewarding. We know how hard this is, and we are here to help.

Let us know your questions, concerns and hiring experiences in the comments. Or, if you prefer, give us a call!

Take The HR Challenge

  • What is your experience with hiring the right person the first time?
  • Do you hire based on your "gut" alone?
  • How often you you feel you are interviewing the cream of the crop for your position?


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