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7 Factors That Absolutely Predict Great Hiring Decisions

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There was a big HR technology show in Las Vegas this week where the luminaries of the future of hiring technology gathered to show off their wares. There was some good stuff shown, but sadly for most companies, it won’t be used properly by the recruiters manning the dashboards.

Here’s why:

If you don’t know how to measure quality of hire before the person’s hired, these great tools for finding more candidates will be used to improve process efficiency, not to raise the overall quality of people being hired at a company.

In my opinion, process efficiency is the wrong objective. It’s far too tactical and measured by reductions in cost-per-hire and time-to-fill. Raising quality of hire is a strategic objective. This needs to be justified on an ROI basis. When done properly, it dwarfs the impact of any cost and efficiency savings.

The naysayers falsely contend that giving candidates a battery of prehire assessment tests is all that’s needed to separate the best best from the least best. However, if the best best are not willing to participate, all the tests do is put a lid on the quality of people seen and ultimately hired. This is a huge barrier to entry that those in HR somehow either don’t see or choose not to see.

However, there is a solution.

This past summer I spoke to 150 senior leaders of large software teams. I told them if they did the following few things they could increase the quality of the people they were seeing and hiring.

1. The First Thing

The big idea is:

If the factors shown in the graphic are all true you will hire a great person. If more than two are false, success is problematic.

I then gave them a link to my Articles and Resources page for the explanations of each of the factors. Some demanded the full handbook.

2. The Second Thing

Define the job as a series of performance objectives. This is how you’ll determine comparable results. As part of the performance objectives describe the culture and the hiring manager’s style. For example, it’s far better to describe a job by saying something like, “Lead the development of our new line of Cloud-connected and controlled high-performance pressure valves,” rather than, “Must have 10 years in MEMs manufacturing processes and design on CMOS substrates, plus an MSEE with a BS in computer science preferred.

3. The Third Thing

Conduct a Performance-based Interview. Using just two questions in combination with a thorough work history review, you’ll be able to assess all of the seven factors. One question involves digging into the candidate’s major accomplishments. The other one involves having the person describe how he/she would figure out how to solve a realistic job-related problem. If you can get everyone (100%) on the hiring team to agree to True or False on all factors, it’s the right decision. You’ll need to fight to get unanimity, but that’s part of the process.

4. The Fourth Thing

Tell the candidate to forget the money and ask why he or she really wants the job. Do not hire the person if the candidate can’t describe why the job represents a true career move. The reason: the person is taking the job for short-term economic or convenience reasons, not career growth. This is how new hires become quickly disengaged. A true career move requires a combined minimum 30% increase in job stretch, job growth and a richer mix of more intrinsically satisfying work.

5. The Fifth Thing

If All True = Hire