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Investing in a New Employee

January 8, 2013

142272469 car with bowImagine that you are about to make a large investment, something that will be costly and likely to be a decision you will need to live with for a long time. There is a lot of information to gather and discuss with others, but ultimately the decision will be yours, and most likely the consequences as well. So far, it would seem as if we could be talking about either hiring a new employee or purchasing a new car.

One of the most common pitfalls we see in either of these situations is the lack of information to make an informed decision. Regrettably, this problem is likely more prevalent in new employee hires than new car purchases. For example, if you are searching for a new car would your first and only step be going to a dealership and talking with the salesman, who is clearly incented to get your business, and ask for his best recommendation? I hope not. It is more likely that you would consider several things:

1) What am I currently looking for in a car and what are the things that it must have?

2) Which cars are able to meet my needs and which ones are not good fits?

3) Which out of the qualified cars is going to be the best fit for my current and future needs?

So, if we are willing to gather and evaluate this much information about purchasing a new car, why then do we commonly see hiring managers relying on short and unstructured interviews to collect all of the information they need for important hiring decisions? Instead would it not make sense to use a similar process to that of buying a car?

What are the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) an individual must have in order to be successful in the position? Identifying this information via job analysis is critical to ensuring that you don’t just hire the right person, but the right person for the job. How can I get an objective and reliable measure of an individual’s actual standing on these KSAs? Just as you would not rely solely on the car salesman to provide important car-related information, you likely do not want to rely solely on the candidate in hiring situations (candidates tend to embellish more than car salesmen). Using objective assessments to quantify and compare candidates standing on relevant KSAs allows hiring managers to reliably assess top talent. Finally, which candidate is going to be the best fit for the position? Using a consistent behavioral-based interview process designed to tap both motivation and KSAs will allow hiring managers to make the most informed hiring decision.

We all know that a car’s value will depreciate over time and, with the right process, there is no reason the your new employees’ value has to as well.

The Ultimate Hiring Manager’s Guide

Steven Jarrett, Ph.D. Steven Jarrett, Ph.D. is a Senior Consultant at PSI. He has extensive experience developing, implementing, and validating legally defensible selection solutions for organizations. Steven has worked in a variety of industries including manufacturing, retail, healthcare and education.