Selecting the Right Person for the Job

Selecting the Right Person for the Job
Monday, January 21st, 2013 Scott Bossart

                If you have ever been in a position where you had to interview for any prospective new staff member or employee, you know the difficulty in trying to determine the current and future potential for a candidate.  There are many programs, interviewing processes, external organizations, and companies designed to filter out candidates not qualified, motivated, or simply not the right person for the position being sought after.  Regardless if the choice for a candidate is made through internal or external means, only time will tell if that person is truly the right fit for the job.  The measures you apply during that time frame will not only set the stage for their future within the organization but also the path for exit if they are not the right fit.  While giving a fair and qualifying chance for a newly hired person to be successful is good business practice, so is admitting to yourself where the right choice might not have made.  While the hiring process is a key step, ultimately it is the process after the hire which becomes the factor in determining if the selection was a good one.  The more extensive a positions’ impact to the organization, the more extensive the process should be for interviewing and vetting out poor selections.

                If there is ever a hope in hiring the right person to fill the open position, there has to be thoroughness in developing and providing a defined job description.  Often times there is a fear of defining a job description because folks feel it will set the stage for the minimum a person needs to do and only that minimum will be met.  What is hard to develop in a job description is the expectation for the new candidate to excel at the position and go above and beyond.  Granted the ultimate generalized statements of performing any additional duties deemed necessary can be added.  Also, it is harder to write desires/requirements for emotional and personal interactions which are expected from the newly hired staff member.  For some positions, this is simply understood as an expectation but for others it can be a deal breaker if the person cannot interact fluidly with co-workers.  You cannot simply ask questions and hope to make a good choice.  Equally important during an interview process is body movements, facial expressions, etc.  These mannerisms can go a long way in telling if the responses from questions are from knowledge and experience, a cram session before the interview, or simply a guess.  No matter what, when determining who will actually interview a new candidate, they must be versed in the interview process as well as fully understand the Job description and requirements.  If an external resource is utilized for this, be cautious if they simply want to rubber stamp interview content to your specific application.  They need to spend some time understanding exactly what you need and work hard to find the best fit.

                Before the selection has actually been made, it is important to have at least a basic template for culture transition, performance guidance, performance tracking, and performance review.  After a selection has been made, this basic template can become more specific and focused on the candidates’ identified or perceived skills and abilities.  Without it, the selected candidate will follow their personal perceived work load and job progress which may not align with the desires of the organization.  I see it often where a new staff member or employee is hired, given time to adapt to the organizational culture, and allowed to head down their own perceived path.  After a period of time, folks begin to realize the chosen path is not in alignment with the organizations expectations.  It isn’t they don’t want to perform well, they just simply are not clear to your expectations.  What makes a new hire situation worse, not at the fault of the candidate, are in those areas where success requires specific guidance and education in order to be successful but are provided poorly if even at all.  With this situation, the candidate could struggle to achieve success.  If the guidance and education is passed down from sources not up to speed with good practices, they will be handing down bad practices and habits creating an undesirable situation as well as lower achievement levels.  A key step is to establish the same expectations provided during the interview process, but in a documented format so everyone is on the same page.  It also must include quantitative measures and routine discussions to ensure both the organizations expectations and the newly hired candidate are progressing along the same path.  This is not as much about the speed in achievement exercise but more about heading in the right direction.

                Consider the whole picture to hiring the wrong candidate.  Consider the time required for a new candidate to ramp up to the full potential required for an organization to achieve the goal sought after which the new candidate will bring.  If the turnover is continual, achievement of a desired level of performance cannot be realized resulting in lost potentials (ultimately lost revenue).  On the flip side, if the wrong candidate is selected and not dealt with in a reasonable and timely manner, it can have more of a detrimental effect on the organization.  In this scenario, not only is there lost potential for the role but also impacts to the potential of others by the continual poor performance.  It can be a very slippery slope when due diligence is not applied to key positions within an organization.  It is important to fully understand the current state, future vision, and overall potential of a candidate.  If this is not fully understood, hiring simply becomes more of placing a warm body in a role and not finding the right person for the job.  Once the right person is selected, it is equally important they know exactly what the path to good looks like both from the overall vision and from a quantitative perspective.  As with most tasks at hand, the more effort given to the process, the better the results, and the quicker the potential can be realized.  Be specific, regarding the position being filled, about its importance to the organization.

Stay Well

Scott B.


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