How to Make More Intelligent Hiring Decisions

by Zach Montroy, SPHR

We all like to think we’re experts when it comes to our hiring decisions. Experiencing a hiring win as an entrepreneur can make you feel like a genius. But, chances are you’ve also experienced some fails when it comes to hiring employees.

Have you ever hired one of the following?

  • The know-it-all employee who’s an “expert” at everything yet lacks the ability to learn or grow
  • The overbearing manager who leads by intimidation and demands
  • The “islander” who prefers to be left alone and rarely interacts with others
  • The slacker who talked a big game during the interviews yet lacks the ability to produce any real results

Not only can bad hires like these leave a “wake” behind on your company culture, but they can also be costly to the company. Did you know that a bad hire can cost your company, on average, over $16,000 a year? That said, avoiding toxic hires can have a positive impact on your company’s profitability.

3 ways to make consistently great hires

Your initial feeling about a candidate can sometimes cloud your objective judgment. We tend to be drawn to personalities like our own which can result in hiring a lot of like-minded people which, over time, will result in a short-sighted team. Hiring for a diversity of backgrounds, skills, and perspectives, on the other hand, will make for a healthy, well-rounded team in the long run.

1) Create a hiring profile

Before you even start the interviewing process, outline a clear and concise job description, including what the role is accountable for, the key metrics for success, the necessary strengths and key competencies for the role. Doing this prior to the interview process will help create a filter through which you can funnel your decisions.

2) Interview with intent

Here are a few things to specifically look for:

  • Core values — Everyone you hire will have an impact on the culture of your company in one way or another. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “One bad apple can spoil the bunch.” This is absolutely true when it comes to company culture. Make sure everyone you hire personally embodies your company’s core values.
  • True potential — In addition to the standard interview question, be sure to ask questions that help you get to the core of the interviewee. Ask for specific examples of how they’ve solved problems. Run assessments to verify a candidate’s strengths, competencies, and emotional intelligence.
  •  Consistent performance — When reviewing resumes, look for longevity and progressively responsible roles which will indicate consistent performance.
  • Grit and resilience — Your industry is likely constantly changing as are the needs of your company. You need people on your team who aren’t just adaptable but have the grit and resilience to thrive.

3) Verify, verify, verify

Do your research on the person and verify what they’ve told you. Call their references. I once hired a person who seemed like a perfect fit — they had a great personality and said all the right things in the interview. However, when I called their references, while no one said anything outrightly negative or specific about this person, I could sense it in the undertones of what they were saying. It was a yellow flag that I ignored at the time, but six months later I had to fire the person due to their personal drama and lack of followthrough. It was a disaster and, looking back, I should have listened to my gut when talking with their references.

“The Culture of any organization is shaped by the worst behavior the leader is willing to tolerate.” – Gruenter and Whitaker

Next Steps

Focusing on your culture is the most important work you will do as a leader. If you’re not actively working on your culture, it is actively working against you. Bad hires can be costly to your company. It’s imperative that you learn how to hire smarter so you reduce the negative impact on your bottom line.

Consider engaging the assistance of a trusted, outside advisor. At The Intention Collective, we help companies all over the world make sound hiring decisions. Through robust assessments, debriefs and thoughtful interviews, we provide entrepreneurial owners with objective and candid feedback to help you build a solid team.

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