Three Factors for Hiring the Right People

With continued workforce pressures, there’s been lots of conversation about recruiting and retention.  Organizations are putting significant time and resources into developing strategies in these areas.  This effort is understandable and necessary. But sandwiched in the middle of these two things is the process of screening candidates and making decisions about how to hire. Hiring, and the practices we use to make those decisions, in today’s environment needs as much focus as the others.

Everyone understands the importance of making good decisions around who we bring onto the team.  Having a drawn-out process or being too selective has wide-ranging impacts on the team, as they may struggle to manage extra duties or pick up extra shifts to fill the gaps when a person leaves the organization. Rushing a decision or lowering your standards has a negative impact as well. Hiring someone who doesn’t fit the culture or have the right skills for the position places a different type of pressure on the team. There is also a cost associated with that “bad” hire. While we can debate the true cost, it’s hard to argue the organization is out thousands of dollars for each hire that doesn’t work out.  In talking with hiring managers recently, it is clear many that most feel making bad hires is the bigger current issue, and not being too slow or selective. Which of these two dilemmas is worse? It’s hard to say. Both have their downsides, which raises the stakes on how we manage the hiring process.

As you analyze your hiring processes and practices, it is important to keep in mind that the decisions we make about who to hire typically are impacted by 3 factors. The first is what we learn about a person on paper. This is done through their cover letter, resume, and application. We get a chance to learn about their work background, skills and education and technical training. In most situations this gives us our initial impression of a candidate. 

The second factor is the time we spend with someone in-person. This is done through the interview, tour of the workplace and other informal discussions between HR, hiring managers and other team members. The in-person time helps to inform us whether your first impression was accurate. We get an opportunity to see how they interact with others and articulate why they would be a good fit for the organization and position.

The third factor, and commonly most underutilized, is skill and personality, behavior or thinking-style assessments. If a person is applying for a technical job, a skill assessment can be used to test their knowledge and capabilities, helping you to be sure they can complete the tasks they say that they can do. Assessments that fit into the other category include the Myers-Briggs, Enneagram, DiSC, Profile XT or Step One Survey. Any of these assessments give us a different lens to evaluate a candidate. The findings from these assessments give us a perspective that we can’t get from an application or interview.

Which of these factors is most important? Research suggests that each of them should be weighed equally. The likelihood that we will make a bad decision increases if we are overly swayed by one factor over the others. I think we can all agree there’s been a time when we evaluated a poor hire and realized that we ignored or downplayed a factor that caused us to overlook a red flag.

To learn more about effective hiring practices, join us in February for our webinar. During this session, we will discuss in greater detail the 3 factors in making good hires, provide suggestions for how to improve the hiring process and outcomes, and share more about the assessments that MHS Consulting offers for use in the selection process.


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