I’ve always been a firm believer that human capital is the important factor today for a company’s growth and success. After all, without the people who comprise the organization, very little would be accomplished; it is the people who make the company. Investing in the workforce and bringing in the right hires is essential, which is why the trend of finding, hiring and retaining top talent in a shrinking talent pool is becoming much more of a priority than in recent years. Sure — developing and training employees is crucial, but the importance of selecting the right person in the beginning to make the investment of training and developing must not be overlooked. Paul Russell, who aided in the design of Google’s first structured Talent Management process, said it best in regards to hiring the right person when he made the comment, “Development can help great people be even better–but if I had a dollar to spend, I’d spend 70 cents getting the right person in the door.” This quote further emphasizes the importance of getting a great person to begin with.
With that said, how can one go about getting the right person in the door? Here are three recommendations to consider in the selection process that have been proven to go a long way in finding that right person:
1. Conduct a Job Analysis– Simply put, the job analysis is the process of collecting all of the information concerning the important aspects of a job. This is particularly useful when it comes to hiring the right people because it allows you to identify and select the predictors that assess critical competencies that can be administered to job applicants to predict which candidates are more likely to be successful on the job you are hiring for. A job analysis is viewed as the building block for HR selection, not to mention a great way to increase legal defensibility. A job analysis can also be used for an assortment of purposes, such as being used as a basis to develop performance criteria or standards of performance for employees, as well as identifying necessary knowledge, skills and abilities for success on the job.
2. Choosing the Right Assessment– Once you have identified the important aspects and key competency areas that encompass the successful profile of the job you are hiring for, it will give you a great starting point to selecting the assessment that will bode the best results for your specific needs. At this stage, it is imperative to keep in mind there is no single test to assess the multi-faceted dimensions of performance for one position. Therefore, it is essential to choose a test that uses a multiple assessment approach, which research demonstrates is the best approach. If you are a nerd and numbers get you excited, like myself, examining the research and validation number associated with the assessments is a great approach and is recommended to provide a good indication as to which assessments are proven to work best.
3. Behavioral Based Interviewing– Often times, the interview stage is the last step before extending the offer to a potential employee; thus, the importance of the interview. So, what is the most efficient and effective strategy for interviewing? While the questions surrounding the interview may range depending on the job and the important predictors for success that were determined by the job analysis, the process for interviewing candidates should be both consistent and only contain job relevant questions. One highly recommended approach is to use a structured past behavioral based interview. Past behavior based interview questions allow one to address the important competencies or skill sets required for applicants to be successful within the organization by examining the candidates’ past behavior, which is one of the best predictors of future behavior. Structured interviews are another key in identifying the right person for the job, which also aid in increasing the validity, efficiency, and legal defensibility.
When all is said and done, there are many ways that may lead you to the right hire, but the three keys to hiring the right people that won’t leave you astray is to start with a job analysis, valid assessments and a great structured behavioral interview. With the replacement costs, additional management time required for coaching, lost productivity, employee turnover and reduced employee morale that one bad hire can produce, I know where I would spend my dollar if given the chance.
Jason D. Frizzell, M.S., is a Consultant for Select International with experience in designing and implementing valid and legally defensible selection systems across a number of industries. He is involved in project management, supporting and managing clients within the healthcare, manufacturing, technology, retail, call center, mining, and transportation industries to help each in identifying, selecting, and developing top talent.