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5 Steps for Hiring the Right People

September 13, 2012

Hiring the right people can be compared to choosing your circle of friends.  You wouldn't choose a friend who never shows up for lunch plans or doesn't mesh well with others in your group, would you?  When making hiring decisions, the stakes are obviously much higher, given the associated costs.  Since the stakes are higher, we recommend putting applicants through a customized, consistent hiring process.  Here are 5 steps for hiring the right people:

  1. 1.  Assess for functional competencies.

    If you find yourself skimming resumes for technical skills and qualifications (and assuming that those who have the technical acumen will be able to excel) you are missing a key indicator of successful performance.  Certifications, work experiences and the like only reveal a limited amount of information - to get the whole picture you need to examine competencies that are critical to success in the target role.
  2. 2.  Get involved.
    Hiring is a big deal.  The people that you’re bringing into your company today will be around for years to come.  Do everyone a favor and get those people that will be supervising and working alongside your new candidate(s) involved in the process to figure out what competencies are important.  They’ll appreciate being involved, and you’ll have more information about what the right selection model should look like.
  3. 3.  Team up with the experts.
    Your people know what’s needed for successful performance on the job.  They’re job content experts and bring critical knowledge to the table.  Knowing what functional competencies are important is only half the battle, however.  Measuring your candidates for those functional competencies takes a scientific expertise that only assessment experts can provide.  Assessment experts dedicate themselves to worrying about the most accurate methods of prediction so that you have all of the information that you need to make the best selection decisions possible.
  4. 4.  Use a consistent process.
    A lot of times when we talk about consistency in hiring processes, we are coming from a legal defensibility perspective - inconsistent hiring practices are regarded as a major red flag to several agencies that you do not want to alarm (EEOC & the OFCCP topping the list). Consistency, however, should also be regarded as a way to improve the accuracy of your selection decisions.  As any statistician knows, the upper limit of validity is reliability.  In essence you can never have a valid (and predictive) selection tool or process if decisions are not made consistently across candidates.
  5. 5.  Train your worries away.
    No matter how much care and time you put into creating predictive, efficient, and fair hiring tools, there is always that moment of anxiety when human error comes into play.  You’ve recruited, you’ve screened, you’ve spent time and energy putting in place best-in-class selection tools… and yet the final decision is in the hands of someone that may just throw all of the selection best-practices that you love right out the window.  Save yourself the heartache and get those hiring managers on board with the right way to do things.  Sign them up for behavioral based interview training so that they can learn all of the skills they’ll need to add significant value to the selection process.  Then breathe a sigh of relief that no one will be asking “so what type of accent is that?”

On second thought, maybe we should implement these 5 steps when evaluating friends as well!


Amber Thomas Amber Thomas was a Consultant at PSI. In her role, Amber provided custom solutions to a variety of industries. Her contributions included project oversight, day-to-day client support, and on-going consultation.