Avoid Making a Bad Hire

Looking back over my management career, the worst experiences were without a doubt, having to deal with poorly performing or badly behaving staff members. I remember the stress, anguish, not to mention the loss of sleep thinking about the tough conversations I needed to have.

I learned many painful lessons, and one of the most important was the realization that you can make things a lot easier on yourself, and achieve far better results if you hire the right person in the first place.

ResultsBI defines an "A-Player" as a person who consistently exceeds the performance standards required for their role every month; and who simultaneously demonstrates all your company core values – they are a role model for your culture. Both requirements must be met.

That’s where the Topgrading methodology has made a huge difference for us. Studies have shown that the way most people conduct their recruiting, the hiring manager will only successfully hire an “A” Player 25% of the time. By successful, I mean one year from now, the person you hired is still employed with you and consistently performing at an A-Player standard.  

The Topgrading researchers claim that if you follow their disciplined hiring methodology; you can increase your hiring success rate to 90%. So if you want less stress, more sleep, and better business execution, taking the time to follow their process and "do it right the first time" makes a lot of sense to me.

Like most success factors, it requires real discipline to learn, implement, and follow such a disciplined hiring methodology. You take hiring shortcuts at your peril. Hiring is too important to get wrong!

The process starts with creating 1 page “scorecard” for each role. The scorecard is the checklist against which everything must be ticked before you make a hiring decision.

In broad terms, here is what your scorecards should contain for each role:

Key Duties and Outcomes.

Specify exactly how the person will be spending their time so the applicant is very clear on what the role entails and can see very quickly whether it would be a good fit for them. List the most important ACTIONS the person in the role is expected to perform (ranked in priority order) and what % of their time they will need to dedicate to this activity. Include specific OUTCOMES for each duty where possible.

For example, if you expect a salesperson to spend 20% of their time making phone calls to inbound leads, and to book a minimum of 10 sales appointments every week, make this expectation very explicit. 

Key Performance Indicators

Ideally, every role should have a KPI. What 1 or 2 numbers will the applicant be held strictly accountable for attaining the required performance standard every month? They must know how their performance will be scored, and be willing to be held accountable to achieve these specified results.

Core Values

List your Core Values. For any role in your company, the applicant must be able to show that they are aligned with, and have demonstrated these types of behaviors in previous roles. Otherwise they are the wrong fit for your culture – period.

Behavioral Competencies.

What specific competencies “must” the applicant have demonstrated in previous jobs, in order to be highly likely to deliver an A-Player level of performance for you in this role? Be very specific about the behaviors you are looking for. When you specify these, it is possible to construct an interview questioning process that performs “due diligence” on each of these areas.

Previous Experience, qualifications, skills.

Most companies only recruit for these factors – but they are really just table stakes.

Use the 1 page role scorecard as the basis from which you construct your job posting for each role. When jobs are posted with this level of specificity it will deter many unsuitable applicants from applying right from the start - which is a good thing. You only want strong candidates applying.

Have you built scorecards for each of the key roles in your company? If not, start by defining your company's core values in a free trial of our One Page Strategic Plan.

Marc Daniels