Hiring is a daunting process for most owners and managers. It is so daunting that most hiring managers use the warm body method of hiring: “If they are breathing, bring them on.” That’s why Peter Drucker said, “One- third or more of all hiring decisions are outright failures and in no other area of our business would we tolerate such dismal performance.” But there are ways to stop those bad hiring practices and ensure that your new hires are the right fit for the team and have the competency and behaviors to be top performers.
It is essential to take the actions that will find those top performers and build them into a competent, stable, well-led team. If you do, then you will realize the benefits McKinsey & Company identified in their study War for Talent:
• High performers in operations will increase productivity by 40%
• High performers in management will increase profits by 49%
• High performers in sales will increase revenues by 67%
• The right people will make all the difference.
Testing is critical
The secret in finding the right people lies in converting your hiring process from subjective guesswork to a clear, disciplined, black-and-white analysis that ensures all the criteria defined for the position are met. Those criteria must go beyond a mere listing of skills to include clearly defined competency levels and behavioral characteristics that fully describe the person who will meet those criteria. The process must include the validated tools that accurately assess those criteria and find not just any person, but the right person.
First, test all candidates for cognitive skills. I recommend the Wonderlic Personnel Test as an accurate measure of general intelligence. It is a timed test that gauges the applicant’s ability to learn, solve problems, and understand instructions. The results can be compared to minimum acceptable levels for any position. These minimum scores have been developed by Wonderlic based on their many years of experience with this test. I worked with Wonderlic to establish a set of minimum acceptable scores for all positions in the graphics industry.
Second, assess the behaviors of your candidate before you hire. It is an unfortunate truism that we hastily hire for skills and then labor over the need to fire for behaviors. Reverse that process. First, learn the personality of your candidate and evaluate his or her ability to fit the role and the team. For this, we recommend the Thomas International Personal Profile Analysis. This assessment is used around the world to evaluate the person’s self-image, adjustment to the work environment, and behavior under pressure. It is not a social networking tool. It is a work-oriented assessment tool that takes less than 15 minutes to complete. The results can be compared to benchmarks established by Thomas for all positions.
I worked with the developer of this system years ago to identify the behaviors that best fit positions in the graphic industry. The assessment can tell you if your candidate will work out or not. The report it generates defines the right job emphasis, the motivators that will produce the best results, and guidance on how to best manage the individual. The assessment report also includes a behavioral interviewing guide for the structured interview.
These assessments are absolutely essential for evaluating candidates. Don’t make any more hiring mistakes—you can’t afford them.